Read 80.) Judges 10:1 thru 12:15. With this reading, we learn of 6 more judges in Israel during this approximately 1350 to 1070 BC time frame. Five of these only receive mere mention, while the bulk of the reading revolves around one judge named Jephthah. The account of this judge commences with 10:6. We see the same pattern again. Israel’s unfaithfulness, God’s judgment, Israel’s ‘repentance’, and God’s deliverance by means of a leader; a judge. Verses 6 thru 16 perfectly picture this entire scenario, but we want to come away with the idea that God is incredibly merciful. Even when He has stated, “I will no longer save you,” He could still be entreated by Israel’s earnest repentance. God is merciful beyond all our comprehension. It is not too late. No one is too far gone; that if they would turn, God would forgive their sin! With chapter 11, we learn of Jephthah’s background. He was conceived illegitimately and rejected by his half-siblings; ‘underprivileged’ as we would say today. We also read a fine recounting of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness, and of how they came to possess all the land the Lord had given them, with this time clue! See 11:26. The events Jephthah just described took place right about 1406 BC, and so, with 300 years having passed, we are very near to 11oo BC by this time in our reading of the historical narrative. See how this chapter ends with verses 28 thru 40. Jephthah made a rash vow unto the Lord. It resulted in his sacrificing his daughter?!?!? He may have thought, in some wrong-headed piety, that this was what the Lord would require of him. But, he surely should have also entreated the Lord, and learned of an acceptable substitute he could have made that would have satisfied his vow. We may take a lesson to heart in this. There is a false piety, and there are things as rash vows. These are signs and symptoms of fanaticism. What has the Lord said? What is it that He has told us He requires? Do not fall short of what He commands, but neither go beyond them either. Do not fall short, but neither transgress!
Where do we go from here? Chapter 12 only reminds us of the awful unfaithfulness of Israel, first unto the Lord, but also, sadly, unto their fellow Israelites. See! Read 12:1-7, and note that differences of speech had already arisen among them. We have different accents, the use of which helps us to identify what part of our country another is from. Here, it was used to discover who might be an Ephraimite, that the Gileadites might slay their Israelite brethren! We close by reading of 3 others who came after Jephthah. And, since we are near to 1100 BC, we will soon read of Samson, and the very last of the Judges, and to about 1070 BC, when the last Judge, and the next phase or stage of Israel’s history will arise. We have learned the when, and we will also learn the why. We will even discover that this was also prophesied in advance, too! It’s what this amazing Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell