Ignorant Vows

Ignorant Vows

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

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Dale Pollard

In Judges 11 we read that Jephthah was a mighty man who was asked by the elders of Gilead to lead the people in a fight against the Ammonites, but who also attracted the company of worthless men (11:3-5). Prior to the battle, Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. He prays, “If you will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”

HE IS VICTORIOUS AND RETURNS

The victory would be short lived, however, as we read, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it” (11:35)

There has been a lot of debate concerning the end of this account. Did he sacrifice his daughter? Did he go through with this horrible thing? 

The account seems to indicate that he did indeed sacrifice his daughter, but if that is the case it wouldn’t have been approved by Him. Jepthah’s character hints to his own spiritual life. Not all of the men and women God raised up to fulfill His will were righteous. If Jepthah went through with the sacrifice it would have been out of ignorance. If he knew the God of Israel, he would have known that God would have never asked him to do such a thing. 

The question we should ask when we read this account is not whether or not Jepthah murdered his daughter, but rather, how well do we know God? 

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