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Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of Gilead. And Gilead's wife bare him sons: and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house ; for, thou art the son of a strange woman.
Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.
And it came to pass, in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. And it was 80, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob..
And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. · And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?
com And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, There. fore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. . '
And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head?
And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.
Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them; and VOL. II.
phthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh. ..
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. We find from this sections that the corruptions, which began to take place in the time of Jair, grew to 80 enormous a height, as to bring down the anger of God, who suffered the Israelites to be greatly oppressed. They seem to have been uncommonly humbled by this affliction, and to have repented with that contri. tion and sincerity, which are pleasing to God; who is said to have felt such compassion for them, that His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. From what has been observed before, concerning God's repenting, &c, we may understand, that the ALMIGHTY 'shewed such kindness towards the Israelites, as effectually comforted, relieved, and encouraged them; in the same manner as the sympathizing tenderness of a benevolent and powerful friend softens calamity, and restores peace and happiness to the afflicted heart. We must not supposé that God really felt grief, for this can never happen.
Prudence required that Jephthah should make conditions for his own security, as he had received ill usage sufficient to justify his suspicions, that the Gileadites would be regardless of his interest, when their own turn was served. The Gileadites certainly had no right to expect services from him, and it was a reasonable demand of Jephthali's, that the government, with which he was to be invested for their benefit, should be continued during his life. The people at this time seem to have entertained the highest opinion of his merit, they therefore agreed to his terms, and ratified the bargaio with an oath. Jephtliał. ik wise uttered his words before the Lord, by which is meant, that he called God
to witness his intention to do all in his power for their relief ; trusting in the aid and protection of the LORD of Hosts, the mighty God of Israel. :
What various reverses of fortune did Jephthah experience! During his earliest years, we may suppose, he enjoyed peace and plenty, for it seems that he was treated like the rest of his brethren, and his father intended he should be an inheritor with them. It was a severe and cruel stroke to be condemned, for the faults of his mother, to quit a life of amaence for a state of exile ; and to be reduced to the necessity of gaining a precarious livelihood amongst a set of outcasts, who most likely supported themselves by hunting and taking wild beasts, or making incursions on those parts of Canaan which were not yet conquered. In a short time, behold, the very man, so lately abandoned by his own relations, solicited to become the judge and commander of those very people, who had treated him with so much scorn and contempt! This incident affords an useful lesson, to all who find themselves inclined to be. have towards any of their fellow creatures with arrogance and injustice.
SECTION LVI. .
From Judges, Chap. xi. AND Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land ? . · And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from Arr.on even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan. Now therefore restore those lands again peaceably. M 2
And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon; and said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, inor the land of the children of Ammon.
Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou dost me wrong to war against me ; the Lord the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.
Howbeit, the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah, which he sent
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon. . .
And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Animon into nine hands, then shall it be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Am. 'mon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. .
So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hand. And he smote them from Aroer even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and behold, his daughter. came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances : and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. : · And it came to pass when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas! my daughter, thou hast
brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me : for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.
And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth ; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.
And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me ; Let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
And he said, Go; and he sent her away for two months, and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.
And it came to pass at the end of two months, that. she returned unto her father, who did with her accordo ing to his vow whicḥ he had vowed. And it was a custom in Israel, that the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah, the Gileadite four days in a year.'
...ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS:
As Jephthah was a chosen servant of the LORD,as well as the approved judge of Israel, it pleased the LORD to: send His Spirit upon him; by which is to be understood, that God endued him with every requisite qua. lification for the important and honourable employment; and by this means, Jephthah gained a glorious victory ; but his triumph, we find, was clouded by a melancholy event, occasioned by his making an incon. siderate vow. It is a very affecting story, and cannot: be read without painful emotions. How must it rend the heart of a fond parent, to think