This week John looks at Jephthah the Gileadite.
Do I hear you ask – who?
His story is in Judges 11, and all John looks at for now is the first three verses.
“1. Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.”
In this short three verse opening I see much unfairness. Jephthah was rejected through no fault of his own. He was a baby conceived through an affair. He was certainly not at fault. His mother was a prostitute, no attempt to hide her profession seems to have been made, but his father had a legitimate wife… why did he go to a prostitute? Perhaps she was not a prostitute but a concubine. It is hard to tell from the limited information I found. It seems though that Jephthah was raised in his father’s house, with the wife and her legitimate sons. (Hagar’s son Ishmael was raised in Abraham’s family. A son, but not the son of promise.)
Verse 2 of Judges 11 says that when his father’s legitimate sons were grown they drove him away, telling him he would not receive any inheritance in the family. Perhaps the father was dead by then.
There is a lot more to the story of Jephthah in the Bible, but John’s point in these vignettes has been looking at rejection/love hurting.
Considering the possibility that as a child and young man, Jephthah was raised in his father’s home, and when the legitimate heirs were old enough, implying they were younger, they drove Jephthah out.
There must have been hurt involved. It might even have been long-standing hurt. Did Jephthah live in the home knowing the resentment of these brothers simmering beneath the surface? How did the legal wife treat this son?
It might not have been so much different from what Joseph went through, only in his case he was the young brother.
How many times these days do children ‘bear’ the guilt or shame of their parents. Hopefully not many.
Sometimes – “it’s not my fault.” is true. But as the message on the featured image says – it is still lonely.
Sharing John’s vignettes,
Next time – it’s God.