Read Judges 10
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
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.
Optional Reading: John 17
Memory Verse for the Week: Revelation 5:2