Read Judges 10

Highlights:

Tola judges Israel twenty-three years; Jair judges Israel; Jephthah chosen captain; his rash vow which cost him his only child; victory over Ammonites.

And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel (Judg. 10:15-16).

God had commanded thou shalt have no other Gods before me... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them (Ex 20:1-5). He continually warned the children of Israel the consequences of disobeying this command and they had experienced much suffering because they worshiped false gods (Judges 10:8).

And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead. . . . said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon (11:5-6).

Jephthah prayed: If Thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me . . . shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering (11:30-31). God arranged that Jephthah’s daughter should be the first to meet him. Jephthah knew the Scriptures well, and he knew human sacrifices were condemned by God (Leviticus 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 12:29-31; 18:10-12). How could one imagine that this man of God would cut the throat of his daughter to offer her as a burnt offering? To do that would have made God, as well as this man of faith, responsible for a vile murder, since it was the Spirit of the Lord who gave Jephthah his victory (Judges 11:29,32).

How he fulfilled his vow becomes clear as we consider all the facts: she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter (11:34). The Lord had declared that the firstborn were to be “sanctified” – not sacrificed: It is Mine (Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:13). And his daughter’s response to Jephthah’s vow made the outcome unmistakably clear. She asked for two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains and bewail (lament) my virginity (Judges 11:37) – meaning to “bewail that I will never marry.” Undoubtedly, in lifelong chastity, she became one of the servants of God in the Tabernacle. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).

Jephthah was highly honored as one of the heroes of faith. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions (Hebrews 11:32-33).

Thought for Today:

Man looks on a person's outward appearance, but God looks on the heart

Christ Portrayed:

By Jephthah’s only child as she wholly submitted to her father’s will even as Jesus wholly submitted to His Father’s will (Judges 11:34-40). On the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed: Not as I will, but as Thou wilt (Matthew 26:39).

Word Studies: 11:3 vain men, worthless renegades; 11:37 fellows, virgin female companions; 11:40 lament, commemorate.

Pray for Government Officials: on your local, State, and Federal levels • Pray for Country: Liberia (3 million) in West Africa • Major languages: English and more than 20 local languages of the Niger-Congo language group • Religious freedom • 41% ancestor worship and witchcraft; 21% Muslim; 13% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Don’t try to impress others with your prayers; pray about whatever is on your heart (Matthew 6:7-8).

Optional Reading: John 17

Memory Verse for the Week: Revelation 5:2