Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Judges 10 - 12: Many Judges and Jephthah's Rash Vow

LINK: Judges 10-12 


BACKGROUND


Israel had peace for forty-five years under the leadership of the judges, Tola and Jair, but then the sons of Israel repeated the same old sin cycle:
SIN: They did evil, served other gods, and forsook the LORD (10:6)
SERVITUDE: The LORD's anger burned so they were oppressed by foreigners (10:7-9)
SUPPLICATION: They cried to God, repented, and God pitied them  (10:10-18)
SALVATION: God sent a deliverer/judge who is this time Jephthah (11:1-12:7)
In this case, salvation came through Judge Jephthah. In Judges 11:23-26, he had three arguments against the Ammonite king's claim that the Israelites had stolen the land of Gilead from them:
1) Gilead was the land of the Amorites. So, they could not have stolen it from the Ammonites. 
2) Israel's God had given the land to them, and the Ammonites should be satisfied with the land their god, Chemosh, had given them. 
3) No one had contested this since Gilead's conquest 300 years before!
The arguments did not work, but the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah, and he had victory over the Ammonites, but his rash vow to the LORD led to being obligated to give his daughter as a burnt offering. So sad!

The Ephraimites were jealous and angry that they were not invited in the battle against the Ammonites. Jephthah responded by slaughtering 42,000 of them. Ephraimites could be identified because they pronounced the Hebrew sh as a single s. "Shibboleth" is the word for stream.

Jephthah died after ruling for six years. Then, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon ruled for a total of  25 where they entered into the period of SILENCE in the "Sin Cycle."

REFLECTION/APPLICATION


I made a rash vow to the Lord in the summer of 1980, and it was like a noose around my neck for many years (until 1990!) because I could never keep it!  My zeal got the best of me. Do not make rash vows!!!

I should have heeded the directive from James:
 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. (James 5:12) 
PRAYER


Protect us LORD from making any kind of vow to You. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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