Judges 11:1-11

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 28, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“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.' So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.
Some time later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 'Come,' they said, 'be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.'
Jephthah said to them, 'Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?'
The elders of Gilead said to him, 'Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.'
Jephthah answered, 'Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?'
The elders of Gilead replied, 'The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.' So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.” (Judges 11:1-11)

Israel is being oppressed by the Ammonites and Philistines, and in last week’s passage we saw that they were finally crying out to God for help, and God would deliver them. But, they needed a commander for their army, so now we come to the story of Jephthah.

First we need to know Jephthah’s background. He was from an upper class family of that time, and he was named after a famous ancestor - the grandson of Manasseh, who was the son Joseph (of the “coat of many colors” fame). But, Jephthah was an illegitimate son, being born from a prostitute, so he ranked at the very bottom of the family hierarchy. Because of his, he ended up having to run away from his family.

While away from his family, Jephthah established his reputation as a skilled fighter. Now that Israel needed a skilled fighter like Jephthah, his brothers saw his value and wanted his help, after running him off years earlier. Naturally, Jephthah is bitter about this history between him and his brothers (verse 7). They expect him to help them, after they were so mean to him? Really??

To try and convince Jephthah to help them out, the elders of Israel promised him a position as ruler of Gilead after the battle (verse 8). In verse 9, Jephthah shows his deep faith in God: if Israel wins the battle, it’s not because of his skill but because of the Lord’s doing. So Jephthah was made the commander of the army.

Jephthah was considered the least of his family, but God clearly has a plan for his life. You may think that God could never use you because of your situation or what you’ve been through in life, but as we’ll see as we continue in this story, God will use Jephthah and God can use you too. God will do mighty things through your life if you’re obedient to Him, even if you have a troubled past or a lowly upbringing. None of that matters to God; you are His child and He would love to invite you into what He is doing in your life and use you for His mighty purposes. Will you let Him?

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