Holy Spirit Advantage Prophetic Ministries
Would God Have Wanted Jephthah to Keep His Vow?
The spiritual revival under Gideon’s ministry was short-lived--the people returned to worshiping Baal
(Judges 8:33). At this time God once again severely rebuked Israel for their horrible sin of forsaking Him
and served other gods. He had already done this on two previous occasions. This time when the
children of Israel cried unto the Lord for deliverance, God told them to go and cry unto those gods they
have been worshiping for their deliverance; and threatened not to want to deliver them anymore from
the hands of the Ammorites who were oppressing them. But the children of Israel cried again unto The
Lord acknowledging their sins, and put away the strange gods from among them, and served The Lord,
and The Lord's soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. So God raised a looked-down harlot’s son
named Jephthah to deliver Israel this time from the Ammorites.
Jephthah was Israel’s eight judge. He was the son of a Gilead harlot (11:1). He was put out of his home
by Gilead’s other sons. Jephthah fled to the land of Tob taking with him a group of worthless men (v. 3).
He must have had a strong character and leadership abilities for the elders of Gilead came to him
seeking his help in their plight (vv. 5-10). A deal was stuck, and Jephthah became the leader of Israel’s
Jephthah entered into negotiations with the king of Ammon, no agreement was reached (vv. 12-28). The
Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah (v. 29) to equip him for the forthcoming conflict. Jephthah made a
vow to the Lord that if He would grant him victory over Ammon, at his return he would offer as a burnt
offering to Jehovah whatsoever came out of the door of his house first to meet him (v. 30). God gave
Jephthah a mighty victory (v. 33). At his return, his daughter came out to meet her father (v. 34).
Jephthah realized the rashness of his vow (v. 35) but nonetheless kept his vow (vv. 36-40).
The question we would like to answer in this passage is whether Jephthah was right in making the vow?
The Scripture does not say. If Jephthah had know the mind of God and his love for His children as they
are written in the Scriptures, would he have made the vow or carry it out? The vow was made and kept
because he lacked the knowledge of the Scriptures. Human sacrifices are everywhere forbidden in the
Scriptures. God never even allowed for the possibility of such a thing (Jer. 7:31). Again, it is certain that
the vow did nothing to persuade God, because God had already allowed His Spirit to come upon him to
equip him for the conflict that was to come. In Genesis chapter 22 we read that God tried Abraham by
asking him to offer his only son Isaac, however in good time God stopped Abraham from carrying out
the offering of his only son, and substituted a ram for the offering.
Israel would have won the victory whether he had made the vow or not. Had he not made it, he would
not have lost his only daughter at his own hands, nor would he have been without descendant, nor
would his daughter have been deprived of life and its privileges. Jephthah, who had been born an
illegitimate child, was sinned against before he was born. In making the rash vow, Jephthah sinned
against his only child. Worse than making the vow, perhaps, was Jephthah’s unwillingness to admit that
he had erred in the vain attempt to guarantee something that God had determined. God expects us to
repent and do what is right when ever we come to the realization that we have erred. So when ever
people do things that are wrong in the name of God, they do so because they lacked the knowledge of
the Scriptures, especially, who God is, and the fact that He is our Father.
Scripture reading: Judges chapters 11-12.
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