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The Book of Judges IV

The tale of Jephthah in the Book of Judges reveals the seriousness of making a vow to God. In this article, you will learn what happens after Jephthah returns from fighting the Ammonites, as well encounter Samson , one of the most well known of Biblical characters.

When Jephthah returns after victory, his only child (a daughter) comes out to greet him. Tearing at his clothes and crying out, he says, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low.” Bound by the vow he proclaimed, he states that he gave his word to God and that he could not go back on it. His daughter asks for two months so that she could travel down the mountains and grieve over her virginity. The vow was carried out and in the end, the Bible states how the daughters of Israel go four days each year to celebrate the “daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.”

Samson

Samson represents the third to last of the Judges mentioned in the Book of Judges. God gives Samson a superhuman strength so that he is able to become a hero and defeat his enemies. Stories that involve Samson mention his ability to wrestle a lion, slay all the members of an army using only the jawbone of an ass, as well as taking down a pagan temple. Because of his attributes and the relationship with Delilah, he is considered one of the most well known of Judges in the Bible.

Samson was the son of Manoah and belonged to the tribe of Dan, which was located close to the seacoast where the Philistines dwelled. An angel of God appeared to Manoah’s wife and told her that she would give birth to a son and he would become a Nazarite to God , from the day he was born to the day he died.

Because of this, there were restrictions that Samson was held to. He should not go near a dead body. He could never cut his hair. He could not drink wine or eat anything made with grapes , even raisins. The angel told Manoah’s wife that the child was special because he would start to deliver Israel from the wickedness of the Philistines who had captured his people 20 years before his birth.

Other Smaller Judges

The Book of Judges also mentions figures that possess smaller roles, such as Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Jair, Tola, and Shamgar, who appears in 3:31. Shamgar is the son of Anath, which is the name of the man that served as a Biblical Judge that kept away the Philistine incursions into Israelite regions. Using an ox goad, he slaughtered 600 of the invaders.

Other Biblical Judges receive more in-depth descriptions, but there is no introduction, conclusion or details of his reign regarding the initial reference to Shamgar. A handful of ancient manuscripts reference Shamgar following the accounts of Samson. There is another mentioning of a man named Shamgar, who appears in the Song of Deborah. During this time, Israelite society is experiencing a low period. Some believe that a foreigner is the cause of the oppressive state rather than a ruler of their own.