Summary: Jephthah's foolish vow and its consequences

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TITLE: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

TEXT: Judges 11:1-11

INTRO: An evangelist found himself in an embarrassing situation when he forgot the name of the pastor for whom he was preaching a revival. He thought that he had come up with a clever way to solve the problem when he asked the pastor, “Brother, how do you spell your first name?” With a quizzical look on his face, the pastor said, “B-O-B.”

As we continue in the book of Judges, we will look at one of its forgotten men. You will seldom hear a sermon on Jephthah, but he was one of the many unlikely heroes who fought to deliver Israel from the continuing oppression of the Canaanites.


A. Rejected by His Family (vs. 1-2)

1. His Mother was a Harlot

2. Brothers cast him out as illegitimate

3. Remember, there is no such thing as an "illegitimate child"

only "illegitimate parents"

B. He Became a "Robinhood" (v.3)

1. Fled from his family as an outcast

2. Attracted a band of "worthless men"

-One commentator (Clarke) says this "may mean...poor persons, without property, and without employment."

3. Many years later, David would lead a band of outlaws

C. From Outcast to Commander (vs.4-11)

1. Israel in trouble again - attacked by the Ammonites

2. Desperate circumstances require desperate measures

# In America in the days of the western frontier, when there

was trouble they would send for the gunslingers.

3. The amazing providence of God results in some unlikely choices:

-Rahab was a prostitute

-Deborah was a woman

-Barak was fearful

-Gideon was uncertain

(1 Cor.1:26-29) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.


A. He Parlayed with the King of Ammon

1. Asked the reason for the attack on Israel (vs.12-13)

2. Reminded Ammonites of past history (vs.14-27)

3. They would not listen to reason (v.28)

B. God's Spirit Came Upon Him to Lead in Battle (v.29)

-So far, so good, but then

C. Jephthah Made a Foolish Vow (vs.30-31)

1. Gideon's asking for a sign and Jephthah's

vow reflect the weakness of the flesh

2. We should never try to bargain with God

(Mat. 5:33-37 HCSB) "Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. But I tell you, don't take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God's throne; or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Neither should you swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. But let your word 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no' be 'no.' Anything more than this is from the evil one."

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