Summary: What do you do when as a father you’ve made a terrible mistake and you don’t want to be irresponsible? This particular mistake bothers you so much and you just want to make things right. And the Lord does want you to do the right thing.
Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” NLT.
Among the most crucial issues of today is the issue of child support. Some states in America have more stringent laws concerning this than others. Child Support Enforcement conjures up images of frustrated moms, angry dads, and irritated case managers trying to get money from dads who have been ordered to pay whether or not they see their children; tension and hostility burn through both ends of the phone lines as accusations and excuses pile up on the floor. Wages are attached; tax returns intercepted, bank accounts drained --a protracted game of hide and seek evolves.
Television talk shows have gotten involved in this issue because it offers them great ratings. Maury Povich of the Maury Show just loves to scream what has now become a famous trademark of his, “You are the father!” this is after a father has denied his child on national TV simply because, “he or she doesn’t like me!” and when he has been proven to actually be the child’s father via a DNA test, guess what Maury will ask him next? “Now! Are you going to do the right thing?”
What do you do when as a father you’ve made a terrible mistake and you don’t want to be irresponsible; this particular mistake bothers you so much until you just want to make things right? One of the biggest issues in America today is a single mother raising children in homes that are absent of a father. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America—one out of three—live in biological father-absent homes.
Our text introduces us to a man named Jephthah the Gileadite and let’s us know from the very start that he was “a mighty man of valor” or “a mighty warrior” and as far as great warriors of the Bible are concerned I’d say you could add him to the list along with David, Joshua, and Gideon. He was a mighty warrior with an embarrassing problem his mother was a prostitute, who took money in exchange for sex. His father was named Gilead, a man who had two women, his wife in which he legally married and then Jephthah’s mother.
Tragically, this type of set-up is very prevalent in America today, very little is known about Gilead, he had no title, no position, he didn’t rule over a kingdom. His only claim to fame is that he was the great-grandson of Joseph and the great x4 grandson of Abraham and Sarah. Other than this, Gilead was simply a common man; the Bible does not give us any further background concerning him. The only thing we really know for sure about him is that he was married; he practiced infidelity and adultery resulting in him fathering a “love child” by the name of Jephthah.
It’s all in the news today, stories of well-known celebrities and politicians who are fathering love children. Some admitting to it and others denying it, but I want to explore just how Gilead handled his mess and maybe it can help other men who find themselves in the same dilemma today. There was a time when parents were known only as a mother and a father. However, society has inadvertently added a few new terms to define a type of parenthood. I hear young men refer to a certain young lady as “My Baby’s Momma” and I hear very often young women referring to a certain young man as “My Baby’s Daddy” indicating that they share a child without the benefit of marriage.
This has actually become the norm in America today, But God through the writer of Hebrews says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” –Hebrews 13: 4. Gilead while married had an intimate sexual relationship with a prostitute. The prostitute bore him a child, and the child lived with Gilead and his legal wife. How dysfunctional can you get! Gilead got caught up in adultery. There’s nothing new under the sun about this, almost every man from presidents, senators, congressmen, movie stars, rock stars, hip hop artist, soldiers, sailors, marines, CEO’s, clergy, and the average man in the world today has been known to get caught up in adultery and an unintended child is born.
And this child does need his or her father just the same. Gilead did not have a one-night stand with the prostitute; he had an honest to goodness tryst, he had an affair with her. Gilead does not question if the child is his—he does not demand a DNA test, he doesn’t say something like “the kid is not my son” given the mother’s occupation you’d think he would use the old adage. “Mama’s baby daddy’s maybe” he accepts the fact that Jephthah was indeed his son and then decides to the right thing.