Welcome to today’s Bible study lesson from Judges 11:1-11, which tells the story of Jephthah, the outcast of Israel. Jephthah was the son of a prostitute and a man called Gilead, meaning he was not fully accepted by society.
Despite his disinherited status, Jephthah was chosen by God to become a judge of Israel due to his courage and faith. So, let’s look at Jephthah’s story and explore how we can learn lessons from it in our own lives.
Experience God’s Redemption Through Jephthah: An Inspiring Bible Study Lesson From Judges 11:1-11
Have you ever been to a church or even an event where you did not feel welcome? This probably has happened to all of us at one time or another.
Was it our fault?
Maybe, but as Henry Ford said to Lee Iacoca when he fired him,
“There are some people I just don’t like.“.
The focus today is on Jephthah the Gileadite who was outcast because of his family situation. Read to see what the Book of Judges has to say.
Casting Out Jephthah the Gileadite
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah.
Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”
So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah, and they went out with him.
It came about after a while that the sons of Ammon fought against Israel.
When the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.” – Judges 11:1-6 NASB
Jephthah – The Illegitimate Son
Firstly, let’s take a look at Jephthah’s background. He was a Gileadite warrior born to Gilead. Gileadites were descendants of Manasseh from the Israelite tribe.
In this story, the conflict arises when we meet his mother, a harlot. Another word for harlot is prostitute.
The Half Brothers
Jephthah had two half brothers, born of his father also. But, their mother was Gilead’s wife so they were “legit”.
This was a cause of discrimination and hatred for their half brother.
What Did Jephthah Do Wrong? – “The Sins of the Father“
Who’s decision was it to sleep with a prostitute? Certainly not Jephthah’s – he was just the end result of someone’s bad judgment.
No matter, the deeds of his father came back to haunt him when his brothers chased him out of the land.
Jephthah suffered the consequences of his father’s actions which constitutes a clear case of discrimination.
God Used Him
Even though Jephthah was ridiculed and cast out by his brothers, God used him in a mighty way. He became a leader of the Israelites and was used by God to defeat the Ammonites.
God also used Jephthah to remind us that even the least of us can be used in mighty ways if we are willing to trust in Him.
He did not let the shame of his beginnings get in the way of what God wanted him to do. God teaches us that we can rely on Him to use us no matter our past mistakes or present circumstances. He can use us to do great things, even if we don’t think we are capable. He wants us to trust in His plan and His power.
Outcasts in Our Midst?
Many times churches or other groups with “good intentions” drive away the very people God reaches out to.
The people who surround our church may not look like us, they may not act like us. But they are just as important to God as those inside the walls.
We need to take the first steps toward showing love and Christian values just as Christ did toward the Samaritans and others who were “inferior” to Israel.
Can we make an effort to accept the “Samaritans” who cross our paths to show the love of Jesus Christ?
Something to ponder.
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 here.