Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Bible Story

Ever run into a story in the Bible that you never recall hearing about or reading before? I ran into one a few days ago that I am still mulling over.

Judges 11 -
Jephthah’s Vow
29 At that time the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, 31 I will give to the Lord whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”... 34 When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “Oh, my daughter!” he cried out. “You have completely destroyed me! You’ve brought disaster on me! For I have made a vow to the Lord, and I cannot take it back.” 36 And she said, “Father, if you have made a vow to the Lord, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the Lord has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But first let me do this one thing: Let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.”
38 “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he sent her away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. 39 When she returned home, her father kept the vow he had made, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel 40 for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.

I'll add more thoughts later... I just so admire the girl in this story. But I am perplexed as to her morning over dying a virgin. Just found it very interesting and I had never heard this before.


Anonymous said...

I truly do not understand this part of the Scripture. But I have learned a lesson that a single daughter is spoken to by the Holy Spirit in ways that this father never listened. You are very appropirate in your observation. I learned other lessons...or maybe am struggling with other applications that may be off base. Overall the book of Judges is one that I believe disappoints God in the worst way. There is a line that is repeated that I will paraphrase...and the people did what was right in their own eyes. In the eyes of the father here, he made a contract with God. God never tells us to draft contracts for him. He is the only party authorized to make a contract. We have only to accept or reject. For us to lay down the parameters and tell God that these are to be followed, is not His is what is right in their own eyes...situational ethics. Although I learn of the obedience of the father, it is his foolishness that has created this problem.

Also I learn that a father will find that he must also sacrifice his daughter. In the Scripture we see that the Father sacrifices his Son as the unblemished lamb. It is difficult at times to understand when the Bible means man and when the Bible means mankind. And most of the time it is not relevant to address this question. In many ways and at diverse times, I have sacrificed both my only begotten son and my only begotten daugher. If I had my way, neither would be so far away from me. My daughter would never have been allowed to go to Califronia to have a Christain influence on the Hollywood. And my son would have brought his NC bride to SC, rather than join her in NC. But God shows us the sacrifice from address to the cross and all points between. Yes, the book of Judges has much to teach. But at times I think it is just to show us how much grace and mercy God the Father really has when it comes to tolerating his children, even when they do what is right in their own eyes.

TiNA said...

Yep daddy, there are three characters in this story. God, Jepthat, and his daughter. God's favor was already on Jepthat before he made this vow. It was pointless and sorrowful. He did not have to do it, but he did. His reasons for it came from misunderstanding and comparisons of gods to God. God did not need his daughter's life, He already had it. That is shown in her willingness to die for Him. God was sorrowed by this vow, but still allowed Jepthat to win the war. It is another scripture that draws me to more questions than answers. Amazing how alive this book is :)