Day 72: Judges 9-11; Abimelech and Jephthah

Throughout Israel’s history there are good leaders and there are bad leaders.  One thing that I have noticed in this is that those leaders who are good are leaders in whom the Spirit of God dwells.  There is no mention of the Spirit of God being anywhere near Abimelech, but when Jephthah leads Scripture tells us that the Spirit of God was upon him.  Abimelech does a great evil, killing many of the people of Israel, his own brothers even.  Jephthah does a great deed against Israel’s enemies striking a great blow and subduing them.

What strikes me as I read this is the nature of the reality that we live in post-Pentecost.  In Acts 2 we read that the Spirit of God was poured out on all who believe.  We believe that this is true even now, that those who believe in Jesus have the Spirit of God inside of them working in them and through them.  We ourselves are not like Abimelech, trying to grasp at power through evil means, but instead find ourselves filled with the Spirit, able to do great things for the Kingdom of God.  I wonder sometimes whether we really believe this, or whether its one more story that we remember sometimes.  We have received the Spirit of God in our lives and it works in ways that we don’t even know and are not capable of understanding.  However, it also works in us and through us, pushing and driving us to do the Lord’s work in our lives, transforming us into the Image of Christ each and every day.

Where is God in this story?  Well… it seems that God is above all these things, working out His will and Justice in due time.  And He is also working in the people of Israel, especially in the son of a prostitute.  It seems that this is something of a common theme with Tamar and Rahab also being counted among them in times past.  Yet we see here once again that God uses a broken person to bring about His will and show again that He is faithful to Israel and to the Covenant.  There is nothing that can keep God from using us, not even our horrible, sinful past.

I wonder, what are your thoughts on the final verses of Judges 11?  This is a hard story to read, and it doesn’t often sit well with us.  What do you think of Jephthah’s vow?  Do you think he should have kept it?

I found this map on Judges Bible Study, I think that it does a good job of putting some location placement within the nation of Israel.

Map of the Judges

4 Responses to “Day 72: Judges 9-11; Abimelech and Jephthah”

  1. cody.raak says:

    Jephthah’s vow is, indeed, a text of terror, especially considering, as you note, that Jephthah was one of the good judges. Gideon’s story is not different: a good judge who’s leadership ends with a disappointing family episode.

    Pride precedes pitfall.

    In fact, it seems that most (if not all?) of Israel’s famous leaders had tragically dysfunctional households. What is it about public or religious leadership that hijacks one’s ability to faithfully lead a Godly household? Lord, have mercy.

    • Jon says:

      You’re very right and I agree! It makes me nervous about being in leadership…

      The temptation of pride (and perhaps arrogance?) is ever present, and is hard to resist… and indeed pride does go before the fall. Yes Lord, have mercy on us.

  2. […] Day 72: Judges 9-11; Abimelech and Jephthah ( […]

  3. […] what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, […]

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