1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a harlot: Gilead begat Jephthah. 2 And Gilead’s wife bare him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they thrust out Jephthah and said to him, You will not inherit in our father’s house; for you are the son of another woman. 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and worthless men gathered to Jephthah, and went out with him.
- Going out is warfare, raiding.
- God excludes no one.
- Acts 10:34 ThenPeter opened his mouth, and said, It is true, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
4 And in process of time the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 And when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6 And they said to Jephthah, Come, be our commander so that we may fight with the children of Ammon. 7 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress? 8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, We’ve come back to you now, that you may go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. 9 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, If you bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them before me, will I be your head?
God is witness
10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, The LORD is witness between us, if we do not do according to your words. 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.
- All life is before God.
- Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
- Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being
12 And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon saying, Why have you come against me to fight in my land? 13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered to the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon to Jabbok, and to Jordan: now restore those lands peacefully. 14 And Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon: 15 And said to him, Jephthah says this, Israel did not take away the land of Moab, or the land of the children of Ammon: 16 When Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness to the Red sea, and came to Kadesh; 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom saying, Please let me pass through your land: but the king of Edom would not listen. And they also sent to the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel stayed in Kadesh.
- Jephthah knew Israel’s history accurately.
18 Then they went through the wilderness, and around the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and camped on the other side of Arnon, but did not come within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab. 19 And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; Israel said to him, Please let us pass through your land to our place. 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his border: Sihon gathered all his people together, camped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21 And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them down: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 And they possessed all the borders of the Amorites, from Arnon to Jabbok, and from the wilderness to Jordan.
- War was their choice.
- Israel asked to be allowed to pass quietly through their land.
- The people of Sihon refused. God delivered Sihon into Israel’s hand.
The LORD is the Judge who Judges rightly
23 So now the LORD God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess it? 24 Will you not possess what Chemosh, your god, gives you to possess? So whoever the LORD our God will drive out from before us, we will possess them. 25 And now, are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he strive against Israel, did he fight against them, 26 while Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities along the coasts of Arnon, for three hundred years? Why did you not recover them within that time? 27 I have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong to war against me: the LORD, the Judge, is judge today between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon. 28 However the king of the children of Ammon did not listen the words of Jephthah that he sent him.
- Psalm 96:13….the LORD: … he comes to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are justice: a God of truth and without evil, just and right is he.
29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he crossed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and crossed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he crossed over to the children of Ammon. 30 And Jephthah vowed a vow to the LORD and said, If you will without fail deliver the children of Ammon into my hands, 31 Then it will be, that whatever comes of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, will surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. 32 So Jephthah crossed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. 33 And he struck them from Aroer, even until you come to Minnith, twenty cities, and to the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. By this the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. 34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh to his house, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances: she was his only child; beside her he had no son or daughter. 35 And when he saw her, that he tore his clothes and said, Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot go back.
- Jephthah made the vow, not his daughter. Why is she blamed?
36 And she said to him, My father, if you have opened your mouth to the LORD, do to me according to what has proceeded out of your mouth; for the LORD has taken vengeance for you of your enemies, even of the children of Ammon.
37 And she said to her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains, and lament my virginity, I and my companions. 38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains. 39 And at the end of two months she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
- Jephthah sacrificed her to God as he promised: a burnt offering.
- Child sacrifice is abhorrent to God.
- The law God gave Moses provided redemption in such cases.
- Dedicated human beings could be bought back to God for a specified number of shekels.
- Sad for them all that Jephthah didn’t know all the law. It’s not that long.
1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, went north, and said to Jephthah, Why did you cross over to fight against the children of Ammon, and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house upon you with fire.
2 And Jephthah said to them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. 3 And when I saw that you did not deliver me, I put my life in my hands, and crossed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: so why have you come up to me this day, to fight against me? 4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead struck Ephraim because they said, You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.
- Look at the thinking of these people. Jephthah delivered them from the Ammonite oppression (chapter 11), and now they want to kill him.
- Jephthah had called them to help but they refused.
- The Ammonites had said, ‘ what you have belongs to us.’ Ephraim said, ‘You are fugitives from us.’
5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and when those Ephraimites who were escaped said, Let me cross over, the men of Gilead said to him, Are you an Ephraimite? If he said, No; 6 Then said they to him, Say Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and killed him at the passages of Jordan: and 42,000 fell at that time of the Ephraimites.
God appointed their judges
7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. 8 And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem. 11 And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years. 12 And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun. 13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons that rode on seventy ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years. 15 And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.
- Ass colts were the transportation of the rich.
- Judges who ruled in the fear of God ruled for long periods of time.
- These judges didn’t judge long._
- God urges us to do what is right but He never forces obedience.
- Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
God delivered His unfaithful nation into the hands of the Philistines for forty years
1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, from the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; his wife was barren, she bore no children. 3 And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, Look now, you are barren, and do not bear: but you will conceive and bear a son. 4 Now beware, I urge you, drink no wine or strong drink, and eat no unclean thing: 5 For, behold, you will conceive, and bear a son; no razor is to come on his head: for the child will be a Nazarite to God from the womb: he will begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
- God made a miracle for them like He did for Abraham and Sarah.
- He gave a son to a barren couple.
- No alcohol or unclean foods were to be eaten during her pregnancy.
- The child was dedicated in holiness to God before birth.
6 Then the woman came and told her husband saying, A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of an angel of God, very awesome: I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name:
- Angels are awesome in appearance. They do not look like babies with wings.
- Matthew 28:2, 3 an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow.
7 But he said to me, Behold, you will conceive, and bear a son; now drink no wine or strong drink, do not eat any unclean thing: for the child will be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. 8 Then Manoah entreated the LORD and said, O my Lord, let the man of God that You sent come again to us, and teach us what we are to do to the child that will be born.
God hears and answers
9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.
- Psalm 65:2O You that hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.
- Matthew 21:22 all things, whatsoever you will ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
10 And the woman hurried, she ran, and showed her husband and said to him, Behold, the man has appeared to me that came to me the other day. 11 And Manoah got up, went after his wife, came to the man and said to him, Are you the man that spoke to the woman? And he said, I am. 12 And Manoah said, Now let your words come to pass. What will be the manner of this child? What will be his work? 13 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, Let the woman beware of all that I said to her. 14 She is not to eat anything that comes of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: let her observe all that I commanded her. 15 And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, please let us detain you until we will have prepared a kid for you. 16 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, Though you detain me, I will not eat of your food: if you will offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD. For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD. 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, What is your name, that when your sayings come to pass we may honor you? 18 And the angel of the LORD said to him, Why do you ask my name, since it is wonderful? 19 So Manoah took a kid with a gift, and offered it on a rock to the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife watched.
- Isaiah 9:6 unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government will be on his shoulder: and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
20 For it happened that, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar the
angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the
ground. 21 But the angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, We will surely die, because we
have seen God. 23 But his wife said to him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a
burnt offering and a gift at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would have told us such things as these as at this time.
- The angel of the Lord came to her instead of her husband twice.
- She understood that God’s purpose wasn’t to kill them.
- Most of the appearances of ‘the angel of the LORD’ in the Old Testament were Jesus Christ.
- Exodus33:20 And he said, you cannot see my face: for no man can see me, and live.
- John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
24 And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
SUMMARY: Judges 11-13
- God is the witness since He sees everything all the time
- He is the LORD who judges rightly
- He appointed Israel's judges
- He delivered His unfaithful nation into the hands of the Philistines for forty years
- He hears and answers our cries for help