This Week’s Reading Schedule
Today’s (Wednesday’s) Bible Reading is Judges 9-12
Thursday, April 19: Judges 13-16
Friday, April 20: Judges 17-21
Next week we will read Ruth, then spend some time in Psalms and Proverbs.
The overall year’s plan is here.
This is a long chapter, but the story of Abimelech needs no commentary.
The Israelites experience peace under a couple judges, but when they returned to worshiping false gods, the true God was fed up with them. Even when they repented, he refused to listen to them. There is a warning about this in Proverbs 1:24-33:
Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when terror strikes you … Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but won’t find me. Because they hated knowledge, didn’t choose to fear the LORD, were not interested in my counsel,and rejected all my correction, they will eat the fruit of their way and be glutted with their own schemes. (Prov. 1:24-26, 28-31, HCSB)
Of course, we see that God, being a merciful God, eventually relents and delivers them (v. 16).
Judges 11 is the shocking story of Jephthah, who led Israel against the Ammonites. It is not his victory that is shocking, but the promise he made that whatever came out of his house to greet him would be offered as a burnt sacrifice.
Why he did not suspect that his daughter or his wife would come out, we will never know. It seems safe to assume he expected an animal to be first.
Whatever the case, after giving his daughter two months to mourn her virginity, he followed through on his oath, and she willingly submitted to it.
It’s also worth noting that Jephthah says it’s been 300 years that the Israelites have been living in Canaan (v. 26). We’ve been reading through Joshua and Judges in two weeks, so it’s easy to forget that tens and forties of years are passing with each judge and with each span of disobedience without a judge.
The Ephraimites call the Gileadites refugees in Ephraim and Manasseh, but the Gileadites were part of the tribe of Manasseh (Num. 32:39-40).
The Shibboleth-Sibboleth test for the Ephraimites is interesting, but this is a sad moment in Israelite history.
There’s worse to come as we finish this book!