(Judges 11:1-39)

Dear Reader, have you ever promised God something like this?
“Dear God, help me get out of this problem/difficulty/dreadful situation, and I promise to be good/go to church more often/give more money/serve you better!

It reminds us about the story of Jephthah (pronounced Jeff-tha), Israel’s 9th judge (1071-1065 BC). There are four layers of meanings to this story:

First: In the spiritual, Jephthah is a type of Christ … being rejected by his people but coming back to save them.

: In the flesh, Jephthah as a man, makes a rash and sinful promise to God, in the hope of getting favour off God.

In the spiritual, Jephthah, is a type of God the Father, and will not break his promise to sacrifice his only begotten Son.

Fourth: In the spiritual, Jephthah’s daughter is a type of Christ … sinless as a virgin … not knowing a man … willing to die for the sake of the unbreakable promise of God the Father. Christ so loved the Father, he was willing to die that God’s promise should stand.

Judges 11:1-3
Jephthah, the son of a harlot and his father Gilead, is rejected and driven from his home into another country by his half-brothers, who determined that he should not have an inheritance … (* prophecy for when Israel puts Christ on the cross Matthew 27:25)

Judges 11:4-6
Now Israel is invaded by its enemies and no man is strong enough to defeat them except Jephthah … so they now want him to come back and save them ….(* prophecy that only Christ Romans 5:15, 18)

Judges 11:7-11
He says “You hated me but now you want me to save you? If I come back will you agree that I will be your head?” ….(* prophecy for when Christ saves Israel in the tribulation Zechariah 12:10).

Judges 11:12-28
Jephthah reasons with Israel’s enemies … but to no avail … (* prophecy for when all maybe be saved, without exception, with Christ dying for the sins of the world … but not all will be saved 1Timothy 2:4)

Judges 11:29-31
Jephthah attacks the enemy with the following SEEMINGLY foolish vow “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.”

(* prophecy … a very foolish vow? At first glance ‘YES’ but ‘NO’ it’s not. Jephthah knew his daughter would come through the door first, as she always did, but was willing to sacrifice his only daughter that Israel should be saved … to be sure to be sure … an Irish saying … forgive me Dear Reader.

Jephthah, in the back of his mind, knew that God promises to always save Israel … however confirms it with an oath similar to Paul’s message to the Messiah believing, but yet unsaved, Jew of Hebrews 6:17).

In Jephthah’s case, we have a promise from God with an oath … God has promised to save Israel and also confirmed it with an oath from Jephthah).

God knew that his only beloved, his Son, the door himself (John 10:7, 9), would be the first one to come through God’s door and to be sacrificed.

Judges 11:32-34
Jephthah defeats Israel’s enemies, returns home, whereupon his only child, his little daughter runs out to meet him (* prophecy for when Jephthah now becomes a type of God the Father and will not break his promise of sacrificing his only begotten Son as a burnt offering (John 3:16; John 19:28)

Judges 11:35-40
Jephthah keeps his vow … burns his daughter.

“And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: … And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. (* prophecy for when Christ does the will of the Father (Matthew 26:39; John 19:30; John 18:11)

THE LESSONS OF THE STORY pertain to Jephthah as a man, making a rash and sinful promise to God, in the hope of manipulating God.

1.  God the Father does not need our persuasion to be gracious.

God cannot be ‘bribed’ by our promises or gifts. He does not need his loving heart to be turned toward us by our vows, promises or self-denials. We don’t know whether God would have delivered Jephthah … with or without Jephthah’s vow. Maybe God was showing Jephthah that his heart was like that of Peter’s (Matthew 26:75) … that it was not right with God … and never had been!



Yes, it is a common sin that God needs some promise, gift or sacrifice to induce him to help us. It is purely a pagan and Roman Catholic idea, and those who believe you can lose your salvation, that we should treat God like puppet.

God, under the Old Testament dispensation, and yes, even under Christ’s kingdom of heaven doctrine, and of course, certainly under Paul’s gospel and doctrine, that he delights in mercy and he gives liberally (Matthew 6:8; Luke 11:13; Romans 8:28; Romans 8:32)


2.  To bind one’s future conduct by vows is contrary to the Bible and the indwelling Holy Ghost.
A Christian should leave himself entirely at the direction and disposal of his Lord and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by his written word and the Holy Ghost, will
direct his life. To predict the guidance of God with our vows, sacrifices or promises,

to a certain course of God’s conduct, is a sin.

However, Dear Reader, it is to be hoped that the obvious
implications of the above story of Jephthah’s rash promise and it’s human consequences, should not overshadow the pre-eminence of the spiritual meaning and revelations of God the Father acting through the Son.

Harley Hitchcock  

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