Judges part 5 Ch 10 Ė 12


Tonight we are continuing our study in the book of Judges and we will begin in chapter 10.


Judges 10:1 After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in the mountains of Ephraim.2 He judged Israel twenty-three years; and he died and was buried in Shamir.


This is all we know about these 3 men mentioned here. Now one commentator suggested that perhaps the reason some of the judges have very little said about them was because there wasnít much rebellion or fighting going on during their reign.


3 After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years.4 Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called "Havoth Jair" to this day, which are in the land of Gilead.5 And Jair died and was buried in Camon.


Again we donít know very much about this judge either other than him having these 30 sons who apparently ruled over these 30 towns. Now as we continue on we will see once again that the children of Israel turn there back on God.


Judges 10:6 Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.7 So the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon.8 From that year they harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years -- all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead.9 Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.


Now you would thinkthat the children of Israel would learn from their past mistakes and realize that their man made Gods cannot do anything for them except get them in trouble with God almighty. But there Christians today who certainly donít learn from there past mistakes and just like the children of Israel they will repeat them over and over again even though they know that it will put their soul in jeopardy with God. Well after 18 years of being oppressed by their enemies they call out to God as we see in,


Judges 10:10 And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, "We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!"


Here we see them admitting to the fact thatthey had sinned but what I want to point out is that it took them 18 years to finally admit it. Sometimes Christians have the same stubbornness or pride about them that they simply donít want to admit that they have been sinning against God. As Christians there is great need for us not to be stubborn or prideful because it is not worth losing our soul over. If you have a sin in you life and you know in heart of hearts that you are denying that its there you need to stop trying to fool yourself and confess your sin to God so that it can be forgiven before its to late. Now notice Godís response to their plea.


Judges 10:11 So the LORD said to the children of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines?12 "Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and Maonites oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand.13 "Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more.14 "Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress."


God takes the time to remind his rebellious people thathe had already delivered them from 7 different enemies in the past and he is sick and tired of them turning their back on him. To drive the point home he tells them to cry out to their lifeless Godís and let them deliver them. God is making it clear to them and to us that there is only one true God. Now notice their response.


Judges 10:15 And the children of Israel said to the LORD, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray."16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.


Here we see there great confession to God that had sinned and then we see that they truly repent because they put away their idols and they begin to serve God with whole heart, mind and soul. You see this is what true repentance is all about. Its not just saying Iam sorry because I got caught, no, it action that you put into place that shows that you are make a change in your life. This is what Paul taught everywhere,


Acts 26:20 "but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.


You see its not enough just to say that your sorry for a sin you must have action on your part that brings about change so that you do not do that sin any longer and instead you should do works of righteousness and that is exactly what the children of Israel did because they didnít just confess their sin to God and stop there, no they put their repentance into action by putting away their idols and serving God and that is what we must do today. Once we confess our sin to God we must make changes so that we donít do that sin again.


One think I love about this section of scripture we are looking in Judges is that it really shows the love and the mercy of God and we can take great comfort from this today because if God could forgive them and deliver them from the enemies again even though they had failed him over and over again then surely we can see that if we truly repent even if we have messed up over and over again God will forgive us and deliver us from our sin.


Judges 10:17 Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled together and encamped in Mizpah.18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, "Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."


At this time they did not have a leader so now they would have to wait to see who lead them into victory over their enemy.


Judges 11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah.2 Gilead's wife bore sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, "You shall have no inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman."3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.


Here we Jephthah was a mighty man but he was born from a harlot and when Gileadís legitimate sons were born from his wife they run Jephthah off and then he becomes a thug who raids people.


Judges 11:4 It came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel.5 And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 Then they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon."


Now at first they didnít want to have anything to do with them but now they want him to command their army but Jephthah had some questions for them.


Judges 11:7 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father's house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?"8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "That is why we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them to me, shall I be your head?"10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The LORD will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words."11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.


You see the only reason they wanted him back was because they were in trouble and apparently they knew that he was a great warrior and that is why they came to him. So he uses this to his advantage and makes the promise before God that they would make him their ruler for commanding their army against Ammon. They agree to this. Now Jephthah first tries to be diplomatic with the King of Ammon.


Judges 11:12 Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, saying, "What do you have against me, that you have come to fight against me in my land?"13 And the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably."


So first he finds out what the problem is and once he finds out what the problem is then he sends word back to the King of Ammon and makes 4 different arguments showing that the children of Israel has every right to the land.


1st argument.


Judges 11:14 So Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon,15 and said to him, "Thus says Jephthah: 'Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon;16 'for when Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness as far as the Red Sea and came to Kadesh.17 'Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Please let me pass through your land." But the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained in Kadesh.18 'And they went along through the wilderness and bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.19 'Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, "Please let us pass through your land into our place."20 'But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together, encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.21 'And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country.22 'They took possession of all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan.


First of all as a side note I want to point out that this section of scripture proves in part that that the first 5 books of the Bible were already written and available for people to know what was in them because as part of Jephthahs argument he goes over the history that is found in these first 5 books. This does away with the theory that the first 5 books were just some fairy tale that written not that long ago.


Basically in this first argument Jephthah is saying we didnít take the land from you we defeated the Amorites and took it from them.


Second argument.


Judges 11:23 'And now the LORD God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it?24 'Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the LORD our God takes possession of before us, we will possess.


Now Jephthahis not claiming that their God Chemosh is some powerful God but what he is doing is making a logically argument. He is saying if you claim whatever land your God Chemosh gives you and it is yours then why cant you see that this land is ours since our God gave it to us. Who are you to claim it for your own?


3rd Argument


Judges 11:25 'And now, are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel? Did he ever fight against them?


Here is making a political argument that even though King of Moab claimed to own part of this land he didnít fight against Israel for possession so neither you should you.


4th Argument


Judges 11:26 'While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer <a-ro'-ear> and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time?


This is what we call a statue of limitations today. He saying we have had this land for 300 years and now you want to dispute over it, that just not right so concludes saying.


Judges 11:27 'Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the LORD, the Judge, render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.' "


So he is saying we have done nothing wrong you have. But unfortunately the King did not listen to the logical arguments and decided to fight against the children of Israel anyway.


Judges 11: 29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon.30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, "If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands,31 "then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering."32 So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his hands.33 And he defeated them from Aroer <a-ro'-ear> as far as Minnith -- twenty cities -- and to Abel Keramim, with a very great slaughter. Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.


So with Gods help Jephthah defeats his enemy. Now we need to keep in mind that he made a oath to offer up the first thing that came out of his as burnt offering to the lord. Now I will say this offering something as a burnt offering can either mean by fire like an animal sacrifice but it can also caring the meaning of dedicating something entirely over to God.


Judges 11:34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot go back on it."36 So she said to him, "My father, if you have given your word to the LORD, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon."37 Then she said to her father, "Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains and bewail my virginity, my friends and I."38 So he said, "Go." And he sent her away for two months; and she went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains.39 And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man. And it became a custom in Israel40 that the daughters of Israel went four days each year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.


Now first thing comes out of his house is his only daughter and this makes him very sad because he knew that he would have to keep his vow. Now some commentators and some people think that Jephethah offered his daughter as burnt sacrifice to God. But I do not believe that is what this is teaching for several reasons.


1. Jephthah had the spirit of God upon him and certainly would not have been allowed to make a human sacrifice to God.

2. Jephthah had a working knowledge of Godís word and he would have know that it was against the law of Moses to sacrifice a human.


Deuteronomy 18:10 "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,


3. Heb. 11:32 mentions his name among all those who were faithful to God, I certainly cant see him being mentioned if he had sacrificed his daughter to god.


4. His daughter went into the mountains bewail her virginity and not her impending death.

5. When it says that Jephthah fulfilled his vow then why it was it necessary to state that she knew no man after all someone who was dead certainly would not know a man.


The best solution that fits this is that Jephthah would dedicate his only daughter to God and should would be a virgin for the rest of her life. This would mean no grandkids for Jephthah. This is similar to vow that Hannan made with her son Samuel as she dedicated him to service of God.


Now in chapter 12 the men of Ephraim were mad because Jephthah didnít invite them to share in victory over Ammon so then they battled one another but the men of Ephraim lost the battle. Now some tried to escape and make it back home but Jephthah had a plan for taking care of them to.


Judges 12:5 The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gilead would say to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, "No,"6 then they would say to him, "Then say, 'Shibboleth'!" And he would say, "Sibboleth," for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in among the cities of Gilead.


This was a pretty neat trick and we should be able to understand this because we all know that people that come from different dialects cannot say some words from another language correctly and they took advantage of this to weed out the men of Ehphraim and so ends the 6 year reign of Jephthah as a judge. I want to finish our lesson by simply reading about the next 3 judges which little is said about.


Judges 12:8 After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.9 He had thirty sons. And he gave away thirty daughters in marriage, and brought in thirty daughters from elsewhere for his sons. He judged Israel seven years.10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel. He judged Israel ten years.12 And Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon a'-ja-lon> in the country of Zebulun.13 After him, Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel.14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy young donkeys. He judged Israel eight years.15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mountains of the Amalekites.