Following the victory of Deborah and many years of peace, the Israelites again turned their back on God. A consequence was an attack by the neighboring Midianites and Amalekites. In this article, you will learn who Gods selected to help the Israelites and the role of Jephthah.
Gideon was chosen by God to free the people of Israel and condemn the people for their worship of idols. Gideon was a young man that came from the tribe of Manasseh.
Gideon was unsure of himself and of God’s command, so he asked for proof. They came in the form of two miracles that were performed on consecutive nights. They were also the exact opposite. Under the instruction of God, Gideon destroyed the altar in the town that was dedicated to the foreign god Baal, as well as the symbol of the goddess Ashereh, which was situated next to it. He sent messengers out to collect men from the tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali.
Messengers were also sent to his own tribe of Manassah so that everyone would meet to fight against the forces of Midian and the Amalek who had crossed over the Jordan River, and had set up camp in the Valley of Jezreel. The Book of Judges goes on to tell about the victory of Gideon and what happened after he died. More information is offered on Gideon and his son, Abimelech in the article titled, “Book of Judges , Gideon.”
In the Old Testament, Jephthah was a judge over Israel for a period of six years. In the Book of Judges, he is described as being a leader of the Israelites who were in battle against Ammon. He previously lived in Gilead and belonged to the Tribe of Manasseh. His father was also named Gilead. In Judges 10:6-7, it is stated that the Israelites “again did what was evil in the eyes of God…they abandoned God and did not worship him. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites …”
With his half-brothers driving him out, Jephthah makes a home in Tob, which is east of Gilead.
The Bible goes on to state that the elders of Gilead asked him to become their leader as they went against the Ammonites. Jephthah instead, holds out for a more permanent role with more responsibilities. The elders agree to this only if Jephthah is successful in defeating Ammon. He will become their permanent chieftain as a result. A challenge is established between Jephthah and the Ammonites. He swears a bold oath in the process: “Whatever/whoever emerges and comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be God’s, and I shall sacrifice him/her/it as a burnt offering.”
To learn what happens to Jephthah, continue reading Part Four of the Book of Judges installment of articles.