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Jephthah’s Foolish Vow

Today’s reading: Judges 10:6-13:25

My selection:

39 And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel 40 that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.

My reflections: Jephthah shows an appalling lack of understanding of God and His ways. He made a rash vow, apparently, to gain God’s favor in the battle. To do this implies the one making the vow believes that God can be pressured or needs to be pressured to act in some way. God is free from any constraint. He does not need a man to make a vow in order to carry out His will.

What exactly did Jephthah vow to do? Did he vow to offer his daughter as a sacrifice to God or did he merely vow to not give his daughter in marriage so that she remained a virgin all her life? I believe it was the former but there may be some dispute about this.

Either way, Jephthah should not have made this vow and, having made it, he should not have carried it out. The victory in the battle proved to be the Lord’s will and it would have happened despite the vow.

My challenge: Do not make vows in order to attempt to coerce God. Trust God that His plans and purposes will be carried out. He has given us ample promises to answer our prayers in Jesus’ name according to His wise will. Trust Him to always do what is best for His children.

Tomorrow’s reading: Judges 14:1-17:13

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