Sometimes, when I read the Bible, knowing that I have read it several times over the years, I cannot believe that I don’t remember certain stories. I don’t want to repeat this next story because it’s disturbing. However, it is a continuation of yesterday’s post. The Israelites, who had turned away from God to worship idols, came back begging him to help them, and he told them to get their fake gods to help, but then he felt sorry for them. “… and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” Judges 10:16. Gilead had sons with his wife but also had a son with a different woman, maybe from a different culture, so his sons from his wife drove that son, Jephthah, out of their country so he would have no part of their inheritance. Then, because of the trouble they had caused themselves by worshipping idols, they called for him to come back to lead them and help them fight to free themselves from their oppressors. He agreed and made a vow to God that if he gave them victory, whoever came to greet him first after the victory would give them over to be sacrificed as a burnt offering. When he returned home, his only child, his daughter, came out to meet him with timbrels and dances. He was crushed and regretted his vow. He told her, and she agreed for him to honor his vow but asked for two months to grieve her virginity.
With everything happening today and the sacrifices we hear about that are not reported in the television news, this story hurts my heart. When Solomon says there is nothing new under the sun, we see in this story that he is right! Don’t make vows to God that you are not willing to keep, especially one like this! This story is a tragedy. I’m sure that because he had received a push from the Holy Spirit to help his brothers, there was no need for him to make such a vow to God to be victorious because we know that it grieved God to see his children suffering from the oppression. The Bible is full of uplifting stories; this is not one of them. God will make you victorious without you making stupid vows. Be careful of the promises you make to God!
And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. Judges 11:30-31