Sunday School Lesson Sunday June 18, 2017 Jephthah’s Answer and Vow
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: 1087 B.C Place: Mizpeh
Lesson Outline: I. The Ammonite Invasion Judges 11:4, II. The Choice of Jephthah – Judges 11:5-11, III. The Ill-Advised Vow -Judges 11:20-31
Sin inevitably brings divine judgment and discipline. For those who claim the name of the Lord, that discipline is specifically designed to bring them to repentance. Not only did God’s chastisement drove his people to the confession of sin and repentance but it also drove them to desperation. In seeking someone to lead them against their enemies, they chose a man who had previously been rejected and disowned by the name of Jephthah. They were no longer concerned about Jephthah’s parentage or even his morality, they wanted a skilled military leader and they knew he would fit the description.
Lesson Outline: I. The Ammonite Invasion – Judges 11:4
Judges 11:4 – And it came to pass in process of time that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. The Ammonites, descendants of Lot, had been oppressing Israel for eight-teen years and now they were threatening an all-out war. The tragic cycles of Israel’s spiritual experience continued after Gideon’s death, Israel turned again to idolatry. If a person can only serve God when they have someone continuing watching and judging them to keep the laws of God then the person really hasn’t given their heart to the Lord. Serving God for Christians should be when we’re watched as well as when we’re alone will be faithful to God and His Word. This is why David said he would hide the Word of God in his heart so that he would not sin against Him, and we have to do the same, if not, we will become like Israel, practicing idolatry.
Lesson Outline: II. The Choice of Jephthah – Judges 11:5-11
Judges 11:5 – And it was so, that when the children of Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob. The threat of war made the elders of Israel look for someone they could depend on to help them fight against the Ammonites. The threat was especially severe for the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh which resided in Gilead. Jephthah was a mighty man of valor but he was the son of a harlot. His father’s name was Gilead, like the region and he had legitimate sons and they had excluded from the family inheritance. Rejected by his family, Jephthah went to Tob, there he assembled a group of brigands and led them in raiding the countryside. Because of their need for military assistance they invited Jephthah to return home.
Judges 11:6 – And they said unto Jephthah, Come and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. The elders humbled themselves and asked Jephthah to return home and begged him to lead them into battle with the Ammon. To influence him, they said come and be our captain whereas he was previously an outcast because his mother was a harlot.
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? Jephthah reminded the elders how they hated him, considered him an outcast because of his mother. How he had to leave his father’s home, now they are in distress and wants him to come and lead them. He may have been wondering to himself they may throw him out again if they don’t win the battle. If thy did it once, they could do it again. Jephthah begins to rehearse everything they had done to him, and he wanted to make sure they didn’t do it again.
Judges 11:8 – And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to 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. The elders admitted to what they had done, and to make him feel comfortable with their request, they would go as far as installing him as a ruler over all the people of Gilead. In other words, they were offering him a lifelong dictatorship therefore, he didn’t have to worry about being rejected as he once was.
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. Apparently, Jephthah was skeptical of the promise. He pressed the leaders further by asking the question that was three fold, first on bringing him home, second, on letting him lead the army and third, being victorious over the Ammonite’s. It appears that Jephthah was not leaning on his own strength or his army for him to make the statement ” and the Lord deliver them to me”. He wanted to know after all this is said and done, will I be your leader.
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 responded to Jephthah’s question with a declaration, “The Lord be a witness between us”, this constituted a solemn oath of the elders. They called the Lord as a witness against themselves if they fail to keep their promise.
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. Convinced of the elder’s sincerity he accompanies them back to Gilead where the people made him, head and captain over them. The elder’s proposal was now being ratified by the general populace.
Lesson Outline: III. The Ill-Advised Vow – Judges 1:29-31
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. As Jephthah prepared for battle, God’s spirit came upon him to supernaturally empower him for the task. Although the Ammonites had invaded, Jephthah did not immediately attack them. He first tried to persuade them to withdraw from the land that wasn’t rightly theirs. God was set on the deliverance of Israel from the Ammonites, God never wants His people to be held captive by their enemy no matter what form or fashion it comes in.
Judges 11:30 – And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said , If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into my hands. God had not asked Jephthah to do anything in exchange for His help, Jephthah made the vow out of his own weakness and need for certainty. He thought he had to do something extra in order to receive God’s favor. Jephthah was leaning to his own understanding rather than believing God would be with him to deliver Israel from their enemies. No matter what we do, we can’t earn God’s favor.
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. Jephthah’s vow was to sacrifice whatever came out of his house to meet him after they have won the battle. It appears he didn’t think the vow through before making it. His rash decision caused his heart ache. We have been instructed by King Solomon, not to be hasty in making a vow to the Lord. When make a vow rather its to man or God we are responsible for keeping that vow.