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Summary: 4th in a series of character mentioned in heb 11

Jephthah

There is another judge listed in Hebrews 11 whose experience is recorded in Judges 11.

His name is Jephthah. The new cycle of sin began in Judges 10.

Sin

The people of Israel reverted to serving Baal. Not only Baal but their evil included serving a host of other gods as well.

Slavery

Supplication

Chapter 10 ends with a legitimate question.

The people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, "Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead." Judges 10:18

Chapter 11 records God’s deliverer, Jephthah. What made Jephthah an unlikely hero of faith? First, he had a questionable heritage. His mother was a prostitute. His father was a pervert. Today we would call him an illegitimate child; a baby born out of wedlock. He suffered severe rejection when his step family rejected him and drove him out of the family without any means of support or heritage.

The historian tells us...

So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah, and they went out with him. Judges 11:3

“Worthless” empty, foolish, idle, vain. Jephthah fell in with the wrong company. Those who have been rejected find solace with others who have been rejected. Jephthah compensated by become a tough guy. The Bible calls him a valiant warrior. With Gideon God made a cowering farmer into a courageous warrior. With regard to Jephthah, God turned a valiant warrior into a useful Jephthah was hungry for power. He used the opportunity and problems of Israel to gain power over the brothers who had rejected Him. Before he would fight for them they had to promise to make him ruler.

Not sure he had the best of motives. I consider Jephthah a warrior with a “chip.” It also appears to me that Jephthah tried to deal with God on a bribery basis. In spite of all this there are some notable characteristics. He was willing to fight. He first tired diplomacy rather than war with the Ammonites. He was a student of history. He was filled with the spirit and followed God’s direction for deliverance. He stuck to his commitments in spite of extreme sacrifice. After the victory the first to greet him was his daughter.

So as not to get bogged down in the debate over what actually happened we will touch only briefly on the dilemma. Did Jephthah actually sacrifice his daughter or offer her to lifelong service in the tabernacle? The point is that Jephthah in an effort to incite God’s help (which had already been offered) made a rash commitment. He had his theology a bit mixed. God would never have required Jephthah to sacrifice his daughter in violation of the law. This was according his conscience not God’s word. Nevertheless, Jephthah wound up in Hebrews for his trust and obedience resulting in deliverance for God’s people.

Lessons

• Being directed by the Spirit in one area does not guarantee that we listen in every area.

• Questionable heritage does not nullify faithful service.

• We will learn next week that godly heritage does not certify faithful service.


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