I appreciated Carly’s thoughts last time on impulsive promise making. Also, the reminder that the LORD does not ask or condone child sacrifice.
This is another glaring moment where we would be mistaken to take these people as moral character examples. This book of judges illustrates a downward spiral of people doing what’s right in their own eyes for so long that they don’t know which way is up. The judges themselves get progressively worse, even though the LORD still manages to use them to liberate Israel from the slavery they constantly fall into.
In any case, I feel bad for Jephthah’s daughter. I’ve always said that if I found out I was going to die, I’d like an epic last camping trip with my friends (I’m always looking for excuses to camp though).
My other question is, why donkeys?
“Now Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel after him. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys; and he judged Israel eight years.” (12:13-14)
These are pretty scrappy times. Death tolls are high and people certainly have multiple wives to be having all these children.
Human history is full of this.
“Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim.” (12:6)
A long list of wars with astronomical death tolls. What percentage of history are we taught that doesn’t revolve around war? Death is our narrative.
It can feel real bleak, so where’s the hope?
If our unsupervised tendency is always toward death, how can we move toward life? This question draws me back to one of my favorite Psalms:
“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalms 19:7-11)
Being obedient to the LORD is life-giving. Faithfully following our Creator brings life, in juxtaposition to following our own whims, which brings death.
Is there a part of you life not submitted to your Creator? When it comes to making big decisions, how do you inquire the LORD about it?