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 forces.
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. 8:31). 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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