Epistles of Thomas

May 13, 2009

Judges 10-12

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 20:04
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Chapter 10 mentions basic details about two lesser judges, Tola and Jair. This reflects a pattern of major judges interspersed with those we know almost nothing about. At the end of chapter 12 Ibzan, Elon and Abdon are thus presented. It is recounted how the Israelites fell into sin but repented due to their misery and promised to follow God again. In chapter 11 the Gileadites selected Jephthah to lead them and he was empowered by the Spirit of the Lord to defeat the Ammonites. Unfortunately, he made a foolish promise to sacrifice as a burnt offering “whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph” (11:31). (Purely speculating – perhaps a dog that he hated was always “greeting” him when he returned home and he figured this was a good way to get rid of it). When he did return victorious, his only child, a daughter, was there to greet him and he felt that he must fulfil his vow. She requested two months to roam the hills to lament the fact that she would never marry. After that time had elapsed “she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed” (11:39). Much has been written about Jephthah’s unnamed daughter but it is clear that he was not following the command of the Lord either in making his vow or in carrying it out.

In chapter 12, the Ephraimites challenged Jephthah to battle because he had gone to fight the Ammonites without them. This seems to be a common theme with them; they do not show up for the battle but they are mad afterwards for not being invited. In Judges 8:1, they had complained against Gilead because he didn’t invite them to fight against the Midianites with him. In chapter 12, they are outmatched by the Gileadites and 42,000 are killed because they cannot pronounce “Shibboleth,” thus demonstrating their background.


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