Judges 10 Commentary

Judges 10 Commentary: Jephthah


After the time of Abimelek, we have a couple of Judges that come and go without much-reported activities: Tola and Jair.

Our attention is drawn to the eighth judge, Jephthah. He came into the picture at a time when Israel was in great distress. And for a change, Israel prayed the right prayer: “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.” In response, the LORD wonders why Israel wouldn’t call upon the various named gods to which they had willingly sold themselves.

Eventually, the LORD is overcome with compassion for Jacob and the chosen instrument is the outcast Jephthah. This chapter only gives us the background to Jephthah’s rise.

In their distress, the people looked for a leader. This search for a leader is actually strange as the LORD had offered Himself to lead Israel against her enemies. He was their Commander-in-Chief. Joshua knew it but this community is way too raw to appreciate this privilege.

This chapter has a couple of positives. The prayer is right. And secondly, the reaction to the word of the LORD is also correct. One cannot expect deliverance while still holding on to foreign gods. As someone has said, you cannot escape a swarm of bees with honey in your hands. Genuine repentance would the right term for the New Testament child of God.

However, from verse 18, you can tell that the nation is looking for a human leader. Yes, a man would be used to deliver Israel. In the immediate context, that man is Jephthah. But in the background and unknown to Israel, the LORD is nurturing the seed. It is during the times of these Judges that Boaz and Ruth show up to parent David’s ancestor. Ruth 1 verse 1. David’s dynasty was itself simply a pointer to humanity’s real savior, the LORD. In keeping with man’s need for a man leader, the LORD would show up as the man Jesus Christ.

For now, we can focus on the man Jephthah. That is the subject for the next two chapters.

More resources visit http://www.lovingscripture.com

Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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