Jephthah: The Leader from the Wrong Side of the Tracks by Jerry Vines

Jephthah: The Leader from the Wrong Side of the Tracks
Jerry Vines
Judges 10-12

We are considering tonight the judge, Jephthah, who I am calling the leader from the wrong side of the tracks. As you move through the book of Judges God raises up a variety of men who have different gifts and who have different abilities to lead the children of God as they seek to combat and overcome the vicious Canaanite culture that is all around them.

Notice that God uses different kinds of men. They are not all alike. Jephthah is the man who is the leader from the wrong side of the tracks.

When you look at the 10th chapter you will notice that the chapter begins mentioning two judges. One of them (verse 1) is named Tola; the other (verse 3) Jair. Then you will flip over to the 12th chapter and notice that chapter concludes with the mention of three other judges. In verse 8 - Ibzan. In verse 11 Elan and in verse 13 Abdon. We know very little about them and nothing significant is really given about any of those five judges. The question arises why do we have extensive information about Jephthah but are told almost nothing about these others. Why is it that these others are mentioned and then the scriptures move on. One of the things you have to keep in mind is that the Bible is a God-centered, not a man-centered book. The purpose of the Bible is not to exalt man and what man can do. The purpose of the Bible is to exalt God and what God can do. So when you see the Scripture just kind of jumping over a person like that and then settling on another, know that God trying to teach us a lesson that the Bible is a book about God and it is a book that points our attention to God.

I'm going to just kind of give you an overview of this account of Jephthah and then we are going to zero in on the 11 chapter. I'm going to start in the 12th chapter, go back to the 10th chapter and then into the 11th chapter. How's that for scrambling up the egg?

In the 12th chapter we have the sequel to the main story that we are going to study about Jephthah. It is the account of how Jephthah handled the children of Ephraim. The children of Ephraim were the prima donnas of the Children of Israel. They were the one who always had their nose out of joint. Do you know anybody like that - always upset - nothing ever suits them? Gideon had a problem with them and Gideon was extremely tactful with them and backed them off a little bit. They try to do the same thing with Jephthah but Jephthah is an altogether different kind of person. Jephthah was a kind of a nobody and was not impressed with those people who thought they were somebodies. So instead of getting Gideon's psychology they are now getting Jephthah's sword and Jephthah dispatches and deals with them rather harshly. That's what the 12th chapter is about.

Now you go back to the 10th chapter and you get the setting which prepares us for the account of the leadership of this man from the wrong side of the tracks. As you r ...

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