Have you ever experienced a situation where someone would not help you when you needed it to accomplish something difficult, but then, when you accomplished it without them, they suddenly get angry at you for not including them? What a frustrating situation.
In Judges 12 we see an extreme version of that. YHWH delivers the sons of Ammon to Jephthah and rather than celebrate and honor the LORD and the victory, the men of Ephraim come out to fight them because they did not get invited to participate in the victory. Wow. With friends like these, who needs enemies, right?
Trust in YHWH to bring you victory even when things seem tough and there seem to continuously be difficulties you don’t expect. Hopefully, we won’t find ourselves often having to go to war, but sometimes in a small way it may seem that way if we are overwhelmed with strife and conflict or lots of things that seem to be going wrong.
Jephthah and His Successors
1Then the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you.” 2Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were at great strife with the sons of Ammon; when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. 3“When I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the sons of Ammon, and the LORD gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” 4Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, O Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. And it happened when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim.
7Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
8Now Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel after him. 9He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters whom he gave in marriage outside the family, and he brought in thirty daughters from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
13Now Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel after him. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys; and he judged Israel eight years. 15Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
It would seem that since there is no mention of the people turning away from YHWH or going to war that perhaps they remained faithful to YHWH during these successive reigns of these judges. We often see that peace follows a struggle for a time in Judges. We can ask the LORD for that as well in our lives.. that is for peace after a time of struggle. But let us remember to praise him in the peace as earnestly as we call out for help in the struggles.
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