Biblical Personality: Jepthah
Reference(s): Judges 11 and 12
Reading about Jepthah reminded me about how I felt for much of my life. I imagine that there are many men who can see themselves in Jepthah. He is an outcast due to no fault of his own. His mother was a prostitute. His father was Gilead- seemingly the leader of his tribe- and Jepthah was conceived through adultery. Gilead’s legitimate children cast out Jepthah saying, “you will have no inheritance in our father’s house, because you are the son of another woman.” So Jepthah fled for his life and became an outlaw and a mighty warrior. His half-brothers were unable to see Jepthah for who he could become if they received him into their family as a full brother. All they could see is the portion of their inheritance that would be lost if Jepthah stayed. Short-sightedness or lack of vision makes a people perish.
Jepthah was thought as “less than” in his community because he did not have the “bloodline” to amount to much in their eyes. The result of this kind of thinking (favoritism) among God’s people is devastating. It is self defeating for a community to not to adopt the orphans and widows. God’s heart is for them and the poor. And it is destructive for the fathers avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes. Pride certainly does go before a fall.
It is difficult for a boy to grow up without a positive male role model. He will always feel “less than” and will always feel like he does not have a place. The result is hardened character. This is what we see in Jepthah. He judged his people without grace because he never received grace. Although Jepthah delivered his people from their enemies he was not equipped to deliver them from themselves.
Thank the Father for the Son, our deliverer, who sent us the Holy Spirit, the spirit of adoption in whom we cry Abba, Daddy