Judges 12 Commentary
Ephraimites confront Jephthah with the complaint that Jephthah didn’t involve them in his battles against Ammon. We first met this kind of reaction from the Ephraimites when Gideon defeated Midian. Gideon’s wisdom had pacified the situation. Jephthah is not Gideon and so the outcome of the confrontation is very different. Civil war ensued. How we need to pray for wisdom!
When there was real a need and a real enemy, the Bible tells us that the “Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah”. Chapter 11 verse 29. But here the Bible is silent. The battle is needless and lacks the support of the LORD. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites die as a consequence. The enemy within has killed more than the enemy without. This enemy has a name: Mr. P I Arrogance. The initial ‘P’ would stand for pride while ‘I’ would stand for ignorance. Ignorance of who the real enemy is, or improper identification of battle targets can be very costly.
After Jephthah we have three other Judges whose reigns pass without much-reported activities. The Bible isn’t narrating history for record-keeping purposes. There are lessons for the saint and those who care to look into the scriptures. The ten years for Elon’s reign are definitely more than the six years for Jephthah but it is passed over in silence. Jephthah was followed by Ibzan, then Elon. Abdon came after Elon.
The next Judge is the famous Samson. But that is for the next chapter.
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