Old Testament: Judges 11:1-12:15
Judges 11: 1 – 28 An Illegitimate Judge
Jepththah was the seventh judge (ninth if you count Shamgar, Abimelech).
What you will notice about all the judges in the book of Judges is that most of them are losers. Not all but most of them. Othniel had his wife ask her father for water on their new digs. Ehud who was a “leftie” and Shamgar were heroes. Barak was a sissy who hid behind Deborah who was a heroine. Gideon was a coward but eventually was just immoral and used his fame to gain wealth. We’re not even counting Abimelech as a judge. Tola and Jair didn’t amount to much. Now we come to Jephthah.
Jephthah was illegitimate. His father was Gilead but his Mom was a prostitute. He had several brothers who kicked him out of the family as being unworthy so he hung with a bunch of ne’er-do-wells.
The Ammonites came and fought against Israel so then they asked Jephthah to lead them in battle. Jeph said, “oh, now you want me back? OK, but if I win then you have to make me the ruler over you.” Nice bargain.
Jeph went to the Ammonites (sorry but I have to say it, “sometimes you feel like a nut . . .”) and rehearsed the whole history of Israel and the Ammonites together. He was proving to them that their claim to the land was legit. They didn’t care. Next step: war.
Judges 11: 29 – 40 A Bad Rash
The Bible says a lot about making vows to the Lord in the Old Testament. Most of it is about not making a rash vow. But apparently Jephthah did not have proper religious upbringing and didn’t get that in Temple school. He also should have known that the Lord would give him victory without making a vow. Anyway, he made a vow that if Yahweh would give him victory, he would dedicate the first thing he saw when he came back from battle. That was very unfortunate.
It was unfortunate because the first thing he saw after defeating the Ammonites was his only daughter. He had dedicated her to the Lord. Now here’s where things get sticky.
In verse 31 the Scripture says, “then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” That sounds like Jephthah has to offer up his daughter as a burnt offering. However the Hebrew can be translated, “and I will offer or a burnt offering” which would get Jeph off the hook of sacrificing his daughter as a burnt offering. The OT prohibits child sacrifice (Lev. 18:21; 20:2; Deut. 12:31; 18:10; Jer. 19:5; Ezek. 20:30–31; 23:37, 39) so there is a good chance that Jephthah dedicated her to the Lord as a perpetual virgin. This would ensure that his line was not perpetuated. Sad but a morality tale for us. Don’t tell the Lord you’re going to do something and not follow through but also to think before you act.
By the way, Jephthah makes the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” in verse 32.
Judges 11: 1 – 28 Don’t Give Me Your Lisp
The tribe of Ephraim has a history of being whiners (cf. Judg. 8: 1) and would continue to be whiners. Here they are whining that Jephthah didn’t ask them to fight with him. Is that a reason to fight? Apparently, it was. Jeph’s men captured the area by Ephraim. If anyone came out with an Ephramite accent, they’d get offed. The test was the pronunciation of “Shibboleth.” The Eph-ers pronounced it “Sibboleth” without the “h” sound. They really should have learned accents. 42,000 mispronouncers died at that time.
Jephthah was in charge for six years and then gave up the ghost.
Ibzan ruled after him for seven years. He was like Jair in having 30 sons but also had 30 daughters. He most have worn his wife out!
Elon was on top for ten years.
Abdon was a judge for eight years. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who all drove Caddys. I mean they rode on donkeys, the equivalent of a Caddy in that day.
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon all didn’t amount to much.
New Testament: John 1:1-28
John 1: 1 – 5 Word!
I love the Apostle John! God did, too. In fact, John must’ve felt loved because he always referred to himself as the apostle Jesus loved.
We begin the fourth gospel which happens to be written by John. The main distinguishing feature of the Gospel of John is that he is trying to show the deity of Christ but also bring people to salvation (cf. the purpose statement of the gospel in John 20: 31).
The beginning five verses point out that Jesus aka “the Word” was with God in the beginning aka Creation. And not only was He with God, he literally was God.
John is pointing out that Jesus Himself is the Creator. Nothing came into existence without coming through Jesus. Further, Jesus is life and He is also light. When He came into the world, the light came on but people couldn’t figure it out.
Notice that John is saying that there was a Creation at a point in time. Since God was the only one there when this happened and John was getting his information from God, we can trust it.
John 1: 6 – 13 Old Yeller
There is another John in this book, John the Baptist. JB came to witness to the Light aka Jesus. Jesus made the world but the world did not recognize their Creator.
Verse 12 is very important. Everyone that receives Jesus receives rights of sonship. The only requirement, and I mean the only requirement, is faith (v. 12). To “believe in His name” means to believe in His character and that He is Who He says He is, God, the Savior (cf. Titus 1: 3-4). Man has no control over this type of birth as in regular human birth. Men who are born of God are born from God (v. 13 cf. chap. 3).
John 1: 14 – 16 Grace And Truth
Jesus was God before all time but took on humanity and was “full of grace and truth” (v. 14). Some may have grace and some may have truth but rarely are the two seen together in the same entity. The reason Jesus had to become man was to represent mankind to God in his sacrifice. The reason He had to be God was to be a perfect sacrifice for God. The two had to come together for Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice and take our place and take on our sin.
John tells us that Moses brought us law but it was Jesus alone Who brought both grace and truth (v. 17). As the OT told us, no one has ever seen God. It was God’s only Son who has explicated God to us by living on earth as a man (v. 18). The word used for “explained” is the one normally used by preachers who go verse by verse through the Scripture. Literally, the word is “exegeted.” It means to explain in detail.
John 1: 19 – 28 John the Barker
The religious leaders went to the John the Baptist and asked if he was the Messiah or Elijah. He said he wasn’t. He said he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness that the Messiah was coming.
So they asked him why he was baptizing then. He said that he was baptizing with water but Someone else was coming of Whom he was not worthy to untie his shoelace. In other words, he was the carnival barker for God.