Today’s readings are Judges 10-12
My notes are going to be brief today, you’re welcome!
I found a great note by a well known Bible scholar (whose notes I enjoy reading) regarding the book of Judges:
“All these things were written for our example and instruction. Israel did not forsake God more often than we have done. Life has been full of fits and starts, of backsliding and recommencement, of sin and repentance. We have nothing to say against Israel; let us look at home, and search our hearts, and thank the Lord that His mercy endureth forever, Psa 136:1-26.” ~ FB MEYER
Judges 10:3 Jair and the donkeys they rode in on: The text here is thought to be letting us know that Jair had some sort of elevated, royal like status in the eyes of the people. We see evidence of this in his thirty sons each being over one of thirty cities. Having thirty sons also tells us he had multiple wives, and this, too, denotes wealth. The text makes a point to tell us that the donkeys were not pack animals, but rather riding animals, another luxury for men of means. My cultural backgrounds Bible equates each man having their own donkey to be akin to each man having his own porche.
Judges 11:1-3 tells us that Jephthah had some obstacles to overcome in his life and yet, again, due to who he was in the eyes of YHWH, he prevailed. He is even mentioned in Hebrews 11:32-34
Judges 11:24 Chemosh is the name of one of the primary gods of the Moabites. (see Numbers 21:29, Jeremiah 48:7, Jeremiah 48:13, Jeremiah 48:46, Judges 11:24) Solomon even built a high place for this god! (1 Kings 11:7, 2 Kings 23:13) This is yet another example of why we should heed the Father’s advice when living in the world not to be of the world and not to yoke ourselves to people who will lead us away to other gods. We like to tell ourselves that this is not possible, but then we see one of the wisest kings of all time doing just that due to his wives leading him astray. How can we think ourselves immune to these things that greater men and women than us have fallen pray to and that YHWH Himself warns us against this likelihood time and again?
The difficult vow of Jephthah – First of all, I know this is a passage we are going to struggle with. Remember, just because a behavior is written about in the Bible does not mean that YHWH sanctions it. In fact, human sacrifice AND flippant vows are prohibited in YHWH’s law.
- Leviticus 20:2–5
- Deuteronomy 12:30-31
- Deuteronomy 18:10
- Also, Leviticus 27 lays out a clear path for redeeming a person who has been offered up by way of vow.
Also of note: Jephthah’s vow to YHWH was to “purchase” favor for himself. We can never do anything to merit the favor of YHWH, we cannot earn or purchase the gift. Anything we do should be out of gratitude and we need to be guarded, careful, and measured with our vows. The world teaches us to make rash vows, but when we turn from the world to follow the Father, we should rely on His wisdom over the worlds. Ecc 5:2-6
So did he sacrifice his daughter? There are two ways of looking at this and one is that he did. However, many scholars believe he gave her to the tabernacle as a full time worker. Women in this position remained chaste and this is supported by her mourning her virginity – that she would never have children, as being a mother was a great goal of Hebrew women. Knowing that the Torah of YHWH (teachings or law of YHWH) expressly forbids child sacrifice and that Jephthah’ is spoken of as a great man in Hebrews 11:32, I think we need to consider this possibility. Either way this is definitely something to dig further into if you feel the need to. As with all things, seek the Father first and follow where He leads.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!