PresentsJudges chapter 11
Caution to students of God's Word - Please remember two things when using our studies: #1. Our commentary is not God's Word. It is only our interpretation or understanding of "His Word" and even though we try our best to be accurate we may or may not be correct. #2. The King James translation, or any other translation, of the original Hebrew text has some words which were given different translations at different places probably because of the interpreters preconceived ideas of what they think God meant to say. For example: According to the notes in the "Dake's Annotated Reference Bible" the Hebrew word hayah in the KJV is Trans. (became) 67 times, (becamest or came to pass) 505 times, (become) 66 times, and (come to pass) 131 times, but for some reason in Genesis 1:2 it is translated (was)! That sure changes the way a person perceives the original creation of the earth, doesn't it? Gen. 1:2 And the earth was (became) without form, ... Having said that, let us continue with our "Key Knowledge" lessons. These are pamphlets containing knowledge, we believe, you must have to fully and accurately unlock and understand the Word of God.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
This Bible Study was originally written by Roger
published at http://www.theseason.org/
Without the leading by the Holy Spirit, there is no understanding of the truths, for all the truth of the Scriptures are revealed to us by God's Spirit.
Now here is our revised study of:
Judges Chapter 11
"Deliverance by Jephthah [1-11]. "
"Ammonite Negotiation [12-28]."
"The Vow Performed [34-40]."
Judges 11:1 "Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah."
Jephthah was a strong man loved and blessed by God. Jephthah was an illegitimate child. The name "Jephthah" in the Hebrew means "God will deliver". The problem with what happened to Jephthah was only a problem in the eyes of men, and not God's eyes.
The other point that should be brought out, is that just because his mother is called an harlot in this English translation, does not make her a harlot. For we have seen in another passages where Rehab was called a harlot because of her merchandising in flax. Men do the translating and qualifying, and many times through the translation the person is misrepresented. Because Rehab was a sharp business woman, men tagged her a harlot. It is no different today with some of the things men say of women who show them up to be inferior, and excel in a man's world. So be careful how you handle the Word of God. Watch out how you judge other people.
Judges 11:2 "And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Japhthah, and said unto him, "Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman."
"Strange woman", in the Massorah text, from the Strong's Hebrew dictionary is "another" woman. As we read through these passages we read of men having seventy and more children, and it is obvious that they also had many wives. Jephtheh was the only child of this woman, whereby all the other children of Gilead's household were from Gilead's wife, and those half brothers didn't want to share the inheritance with Jephthah.
In the book of Hosea, God used the marriage of the prophet Hosea to a harlot to give a message from God to the House of Israel. God told Hosea, "Go marry a harlot".
Hosea 1:2 "The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, "Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms:"
Hosea did what God instructed him to do. What God wants us to see here is that all of us that turn away from him become the children of a harlot. This is because our folks went whoring after other beliefs, traditions of men and false doctrines. God is going to use Jephthah to get a point across to all of Israel. In the end all of those that cast Jephthah out of his home will come begging to him before long. They will do this because Jephthah is a mighty man of God that knows how to get the job done.
Judges 11:3 "Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him."
"Tob" in the Hebrew means "good", and in that land God blessed Jephthah. The word "vain" as used here could be misunderstood, for it means "empty". it means that their pockets are empty; they are poor people and Jephthah lived amongst these people. The poor people were drawn to Jephthah because poor people are drawn to men like Jephthah because he helps others. They were probably just like Jephthah and were very good people.
Judges 11:4 "And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel."
This war with Ammon was covered in the last chapter, and this eleventh chapter is going into the details that took place during that war.
Judges 11:5 "And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:"
When the real trouble came in Israel, the people remembered that mighty man of God. They ran him out because they said he was illegitimate and not fit to live amongst them. There is nothing new under the sun, when the real trouble comes then people go to where they can get the help. In God's eyes Jephthah was more legitimate than those that ran him out.
Judges 11:6 "And they said unto Jephthah, "Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon."
Now they want Jephthah to lead and risk his life to save them in battle.
Judges 11:7 "And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, "Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?"
Do you get the message that God is giving here. It is exactly as the Israelites treat our heavenly Father not only then, but also today. When things are going well, and men and women think that they can get more wealth leaving God out of their lives, they send Him out of their homes and lives. However when the going gets tough and the enemy is at the door, they cry out for help, and go chasing after Him.
Judges 11:8 "And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, "Therefore we turn against thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."
This could be very flattering to Jephthah, for they want him to be the leader over all the people of Gilead. These men now begging for his help were the same people that couldn't wait to get rid of him. Jephthah didn't trust these people yet.
Judges 11:9 "And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, "If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head?"
Before Jephthah goes with these men of Gilead, he asked them, If I go with you and fight against the children of Ammon, when the battle is over, am I still going to be your captain [head]? Jephthah is a man of God, and remember that the people of Israel had left God again to follow after Baalim. That idolatry is what caused their problem in the first place. Remember from Judges 10:10; "And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against Thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim."
Their idolatry was the cause of their problems, and if God gave them the victory over the Ammonites, would they allow Jephthah to lead them in the ways that God set forth, or are they going to go whoring to Baalim again. Jephthah wanted this answered before he made a move to go back to Gilead and help them. Jephthah is not about to help them as long as they continue in their worshipping their idols, and practicing their orgies of Baalim.
Judges 11:10 "And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, "The Lord be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words."
The elders of Gilead sware by the Lord God that they will keep their word and their bond. What is the value of a person that gives their word in distress? In the case of the Israelites, not much.
Judges 11:11 "Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh."
With agreement in hand, Jephthah went back to Gilead with the elders and became the captain over all the army of the Israelites. Jephthah knew the oath or covenant that Jacob had sworn to God with Laban, and Jephthah took the elders of Gilead and went to that same memorial of stones at Mizpah, and swore an oath before the Lord there. "Mizpah" means "a covenant tower", a place where you go when you are serious with God, and make a commitment that you must keep. Jephthah asked God to deliver the enemy into His hands, because Jephthah knew that the Israelites could not do it of themselves. Jephthah was a believer, and the others were all wishers. They had spent too long in their religious orgies and had lost their faith in our Father.
The elders did not go to Tob to get Jephthah because they had doubts about him, for the knew that Jephthah was right with God, and they wanted Jephthah to plead their case before God. Jephthah had already proved himself as a man of God and leader of men. When it is time for God to move, then God chooses whom He will use.
Judges 11:12 "And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, "What hast thou to do with me, that thou art against me to fight in my land?"
This is a real military leader and he is preparing for war. Jephthah is asking the Ammonites by what authority are you trying to make war against my people, and take our lands?
Judges 11:13 "And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceable."
What the Ammonites are telling Jephthah is full of half truths, making this entire statement a lie. When you go back in history we see that this is not the way that it happened. There is only one tiny part of Moab's land that was taken, but none of Ammon's land. The Moabites vacated the land and God ordered them into that land that was taken. So this is a false accusation made by Ammon.
Judges 11:14 "And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon:"
Judges 11:15 "And said unto him, "Thus saith Jephthah, 'Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:"
Jephthah is negotiating to try to avoid war. Warfare should be the last effort between a conflict. Jephthah is telling Ammon that the statement that they made was a false statement. He is now going to set the record straight as to what really happened.
Judges 11:16 "But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kedesh;"
Jephthah is going to refresh our memory as to what happened when Israel came out of Egypt, and God parted the Red sea for them, and brought them to Kedesh-barnea. Jephthah was giving a history lesson to the Ammonites, and their king as to what really took place.
Judges 11:17 "Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, 'Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land:' but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh."
Before the Israelites moved from Kadesh, they sent messengers unto the king of Edom to seek permission to move all the tribes throughout Edom, and the king of Edom would not allow it. The Edomites [of Esau] were kin to Israel [Jacob] and were afraid of the Israelites and forbid their entry. The Israelites then went to the king of Moab, their own relatives through Lot, and he refuse to allow them to travel through Moab. It is for this reason that God stated that "a male of Moab would have nothing to do with the lineage of God", nor be placed in place of responsibility. Ruth was of this family, but she wasn't a man. God directed the curse only to the men of Moab.
Judges 11:18 "Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab."
Because those kings would not allow the Israelites to pass through their lands, we went back out into the desert and passed around the land of Edom and Moab, and came up on the east side and we never entered into the border of Edom or Moab, for Arnon was the border of Moab. The Israelites took their millions of children and old people on that forty year trip through the desert, and never did enter into their lands. Again, Jephthah is telling the king of Ammon that what they had stated as their cause for war, was not true.
Judges 11:19 "And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, 'Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.' "
This is history continuing in the message from Jephthah to the king of Ammon. When the Israelites reached that place east of Arnon, before they went into any part of Amorite lands, they sent another messenger to seek permission for king Sihon to move on part of the land.
Judges 11:20 "But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel."
Sihon did not trust the Israelites and in fact gathered his army and went out to fight against the Israelites.
Judges 11:21 "And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: So Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country."
When this king came against God's people, God delivered Sihon and his army into the Israelite hands. The king and all his army and much of his people were killed in the battle. God gave the land to the Israelites through the victory of war. That is how countries are made and borders are formed; when you go to war and lose, you become the spoils of your enemy. Sihon went to war because he thought he could win, however God caused him to lose his life, and after the war the land of the Amorites became the land of the Israelites.
Judges 11:22 "And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan."
Judges 11:23 "So now the Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before His People Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?"
So now Jephthah has turned the table on the Amorites, reminding them that the land that they claim as being theirs, in fact belongs to the Israelites. Jephthah points out that the land they now occupy belongs to the Israelites, because they took it in battle. The Amonrites had better get the message soon for the Israelites are going to fight for it again. God delivered it once to them, and He can do it again. God uses whomever He desires, and Jephthah was a very wise man of God. Jephthah knew who gets the credit for any battle won, and so when He needed help and direction he went to the Father for that direction. When the battle was over, Jephthah gave all of the credit for the victory to God.
Judges 11:24 "Wilt not thou possess that which Chomosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the Lord our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess."
The word "Chomosh" means "subduer", and Japhthah is telling the Amorites to have their god Chomosh try to kick us out, for when our God delivers you into our hands we will drive you out from before us. God is going to give us back what is rightfully ours, and you are going to be gone. Japhthah has given them the challenge and pitted the Israelites True God, against the Amorites god Chomosh.
Judges 11:25 "And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them,"
Jephthah is reminding this king of the Amorites that he is no better than Balak, the king of their brothers, the Moabites, and they were afraid to come against the Israelites.
Judges 11:26 "While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them with that time?"
Jephthah is reminding the Amorites that Israel has possessed the land that they claim is their for the past three hundred years, and he is asking, "Why have you not declared ownership to that land in all that time?"
Judges 11:27 "Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou didst me wrong to war against: the Lord the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.' "
So Japhthah is telling these kin of the Israelites that his people have not sinned against the people of Ammon. If we go to war, God will be our judge and He will do the delivering. Remember though, that the Amorites had intermarried with all the heathen races to the point and that they had become a mixed race.
Judges 11:28 "Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearken not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him."
Jephthah tried to reason with these people of Ammon and do it God's way, and that effort failed. He stated the case on behalf of the Israelites, that the land really belonsg to Israel and the children of Ammon would not accept Jephthah's words.
Judges 11:29 "Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon."
After the Amorites refused to negotiate with Jephthah, God moved Jephthah to get the troops moving; it is time for the battle. The Israelites are moving through the land of Manasseh on the east side of the Jordan, and when they reached Mizpeh, the watchtower of the covenants, Jephthah stopped and vowed a vow to the Lord. This happens in all generation and before all wars. When men go into the big battle they make fox hole vows to God that many times after the victory they forget when the war is over.
Mizpah was the place where the covenant was made between Laban and Jacob where there were to be no more wars between God's brethren.
Judges 11:30 "And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, "If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,"
This is something that we must be very careful about, when you make a vow unto the Lord that you keep and fulfill that vow.
Judges 11:31 "Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's and I will offer it up for a burnt offering."
This commitment is legal under God's law. It is where a lamb or animal is committed and sacrificed and according to the laws of God and is permissible, then that given to God is given in burnt offering. Of course a swine would never be offered as an offering to God. Jephthah is a man of God, and would do what ever he does in accordance with the Word of God. It is important that what we vow to God, and we intend to give to God must be given in accordance with God's instructions.
Our vows today must be given to an organization the teaches as God's Word instructs, or a work that advances the work of God. We should never give to a bunch of rip-off artist or places not in accordance with God's Word.
Judges 11:32 "So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands."
If God is with you in anything that you do, God will deliver your enemies into your hands. God will make those impossible situations come to your favor. God can change the minds of those people that would contend with you, and cause you harm. God can change them and turn them to your side.
Judges 11:33 "And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the Children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel."
Remember what the name of the Ammon's god was? "Chomosh", which meant the subduer. The God of Israel was the one that subdued the children of Ammon, and there was a great slaughter on that day. The children of Israel took back what was rightfully theirs.
Judges 11:34 "And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dance: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter."
On the way back home from the battle, Jephthah went by this tower of Mizpeh, and as he approached his house, his daughter came out to meet him. She was so happy to see her father come home from the battle that she played her timbrels and danced for him. This girl was Jephthah's only child.
Though Jephthah vowed to make the first to greet him after the victory a burnt offering, remember that God does not allow Molech worship. Molech is the god that the Moabites worshipped and offered their children to, in burnt offerings. After God gave Jephthah the victory, he would not expect his very laws to be violated, and commit murder, which would be the greater sin. So there are other ways that this vow could be honored, and fulfilled to God.
Judges 11:35 "And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, "Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back."
"Opened my mouth unto the Lord...", is a Hebraism for making a formal, prepared, and solemn statement unto God. It is one that you must keep for your integrity and character rests upon your keeping of that promise. This saying is still common today, in that we say at times, "I opened my mouth when I should have kept it closed."
Judges 11:36 "And she said unto him, "My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do with me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon." "
Judges 11:37 "And she said unto her father, "Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows."
This girl understands that her father made a vow to God, and God honored that vow when God gave her father the victory. She has told her father to go ahead and keep that vow, only allow her to have just two month to be as a normal girl would be. She wants two months to thank God for the things that He has done, and enjoy life to the fullest. Then in two months she would return and he could keep his vow to the Lord God.
Judges 11:38 "And he said, "Go." And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains."
This was a reasonable request, and Jephthah sent here away to do as she requested. Let there be no doubt that her virginity is what is being sacrificed to God. This is Jephthah's only child and it is the future generations of grandchildren that Jephthah is giving over to God.
Judges 11:39 "And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,"
Jephthah did not give the girl up in a burnt sacrifice, but as required by vow under the law in Leviticus 27. Jephthah dedicated his daughter to the Lord in perpetual virginity, a vow such as the nuns of the Catholic Church take today. This vow is Scriptural.
Leviticus 27:30 "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's it is holy unto the Lord"
Leviticus 27:31 "And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
Leviticus 27:32 "And concerning the tithe of the hear, of of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord."
Leviticus 27:33 "He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.' "
The vow of Jephthah was a commitment to the Lord as a tithe to God, and when any part of that vow is changed then both the original vow and what it was changed to, then both become holy to the Lord and must be fulfilled. The burnt offering sacrifice could not be offered because it went against God's law, but that vow was changed to give his daughter over completely to God, for that is what an burnt offering does. The burnt offering burns the sacrifice so completely that it is of no good or use to man. What is the Lord's, belongs to the Lord, and Jephthah has given his daughter over to God for His complete service. If she is to have children, then her children and her husband become her commitment, however all of her service is now to do the will of God. It is the taking of vows to celibacy. This part is done by the daughter of Jephthah, and not by him.
Judges 11:40 "That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for days in a year."
The daughters of Israel went yearly to see the daughter of Jephthah to praise her for the work that she was doing. She was dedicated to God work, and she became a servant of God for His work in the house of God. Notice that her name is not given, because she has lost her personal identity, and is known only by the service that she gives. The sexual part of her life is completely set aside, and her commitment is to fulfill the vow that her father had taken. She did not hold back for her personal gain the rest of her life.
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