Judges 12

Jephthah really is an interesting and sad leader. This is the story of him killing thousands of his fellow Israelites, after they threatened to destroy him. How the nation has disintegrated. God is still acting though Jephthah, but he is a sinful man in a sinful time. Of course good always acts though sinful people, into sinful situations. 

The way they tell members of the tribe of ephraim to know if they should kill them is to get them to say “shiboleth” which they pronounce wrong. It’s like a Monty python skit, but deadly.

The dream of Israel, 12 tribes united as a people of God, is at a low point. This is the drift of the whole old testament, bright momentary bursts of flame in a dying fire.

He leads another 6 years, the rest of his life tossed off without comment under the 42000 countrymen dead, and after the barbaric sacrifice of guys own daughter. 

Then three more judges. Just leaders, barely of interest, just footnotes to the meta narrative of god’s grace. 

Reading though the sweep of the Bible has given me a feeling of its priorities. An awful lot of stuff is not important. Life is about the one lost sheep, not the 99 safe ones.


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