Jephthah was the son of a prostitute, but his half brothers were the sons of his father’s wife. One day his half brothers told him, “You don’t really belong to our family, so you can’t have any of the family property.” Then they forced Jephthah to leave home.
Never underestimate the power of ridicule or scorn.
Jephthah was the son of Gilead a respected leader on the East bank but Jephthah’s mother was not married to Gilead and thus his birth was termed illegitimate. Jephthah grew up in his father’s house but when he got grown, his sibling ran him off. They didn’t use brute force because Jephthah was a strong man with the potential to be a great warrior. They, as most cowards do, used scorn to get rid of him. They simply made fun of him until he got tired of the ridicule and moved away. Somethings never change, Jephthah’s brothers didn’t want to share the inheritance. It ceases to amaze me what siblings will do once the inheritance is on the table. So they used ridicule to drive him away so that each of them would get a bigger piece of the pie. So Jephthah is an outcast in the true sense of the word. He is one of the true underdogs in the bible. Chuck Swindoll made him famous in his little book “Second Wind.” Jephthah got hurt emotionally. He suffered rejection not by the world, but by his own family and that my friends is painful. He was a true son and brother but he was not treated like a son or a brother. This kind of brutal rejection would embitter most people but not Jephthah. This is one of many things I admire about him: he was resilient. They knocked him down and piled on but he got back up. If you read Judges 11 you will be impressed; Jephthah was an educated man with a bright mind: he was not a big dumb galoot. He had a firm grasp on Israel’s history and was very familiar with the tenets of Judaism.
Long story short, these arrogant smart alecs realized that running Jephthah off was a huge mistake because they needed him to lead their army. I love this story, they have to go to Jephthah and beg him to come home. Lesser men would have told them to go fly a kite, but Jephthah was gracious and agreed to help them. No one is perfect and Jephthah made a rash vow. Scholars are going to debate this until time ends but I go with Keil and Delitzsch. I do not believe he sacrificed his daughter as a burnt offering because Jephthah is mentioned in Samuel and Hebrews 11 as being one of Israel’s great leaders. Plus the girl goes to the mountains to mourn her virginity not her life. I think he dedicated her to work at the sanctuary; something like a present day nun. We know that God abhors child sacrifice and such a sin could not be overlooked. I can not see him being listed as one of the heroes of the faith if he sacrificed his daughter.
The point is this: don’t allow others to determine your worth. People, many of them cruel, use labels to put us down: bastard, deplorable white male, stupid, loser, misfit, freak but PEOPLE DO NOT DETERMINE OUR SELF-WORTH. Jesus’ death on the cross establishes our self-worth. If the CREATOR of the universe died for you: you must have great worth. There has always been someone to make fun of me. I must have a blinking sign on my forehead. When I was a young child, I had one aunt and one uncle who mocked me for having a runny nose and unzipped fly. They ridiculed me so much that my own mother was moved to tears. I learned early on to avoid such people. I have tried to make it a practice to never make fun of children for any reason: they will never forget if you do. Rejection is a hard pill to swallow: everyone wants to belong, especially children. Please don’t show how small you are by picking on a child.
Turned out to be a lovely day: a little cool but not bad. My weather woman says it is going to warm up as the week progresses. A lot of Alabama fans have pulled for Auburn in the NCAA tournament. Even I pulled for them until they played Kentucky. I’ve been a Kentucky basketball fan since I was a kid. I just lost interest the last few years. I don’t like the one and done system either. One Bama fan came up with a cheer but no one likes it–Auburn or Alabama. He was trying to get Roll Eagle going but I don’t think he got that bird off the ground. I had a die hard Auburn fan ask me if I pulled for Auburn against Tennessee in the finals of the SEC tournament and I said, “No, June and I pulled for Tennessee.” I said, “I’m sorry, I will pull for them when they get in the tournament and are not playing an SEC team.” He said, “Don’t apologize to me.” I could see it in his eye, so I said, “Because you never pull for Alabama do you.” He said, “You got that right, never.” Give him credit, he told the truth. The good thing is I don’t give a rip about Alabama Basketball: football is a different subject.