Manual Bible Story Questions Volume One: Creation Through the Period of the Judges

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I love them as much as the next guy perhaps more and yet I have to wonder if chiasms are not in the mind of the beholder and not in the mind of the author, at least some of the time. Don, you said, There is no definite comment from Scripture telling us that this indeed is the point. Scott, thanks for the note. I am not convinced by Rm 3. First, it says the Law brings the knowledge of sin, not the OT. Technically, only the Pentateuch is considered to be the Law, but in Romans, I think Paul has an even more limited sense.

He means the Jewish Law as law, more than a specific set of writings. I think both theories of interp will make that point. Last, I think that I should mention that Mark and I are good friends, I had him preach for me for Canadian Thanksgiving last year and hope we will be able to have him again sometime in the future. This may be helpful for outside observers to know! So our disagreement here is only a mild one. Don, what you said, about Romans 3.

Now, however, in my reference I did not include 21, or 22, which is a continuation on the thought, and includes the phrase the law and the prophets, which I have always understood to be the entire OT, if I am wrong, please explain how, I do not know that I would agree that, If Paul meant all of the OT he would have said scriptures and 21 and 22 point to the purpose of all of the Scriptures, to point us to Christ.

As to the rest, nothing in your replies would I have interpreted as hostile, and you are right, what is being discussed here is a mild disagreement. If I what I said, appears hostile, please forgive me,. Scott, thanks for widening the context on Rm 3. I just finished preaching through Romans after eight years! Grist for another sermon! But if you read it carefully, it appears that in v.

In , Paul is saying that the purpose of the Law as law is to make men accountable to God so they cannot answer back to him, because it is impossible by the works of the Law to achieve righteousness. And so we shall leave it. I can see where you are coming from and I do not know whether I agree or disagree, So as you suggested we can table it. Thank you for your replies. Spot on, Mark. Yes I believe that Jephthah sacrificed his daughter. I am most certain that he regretted his vow.

I voted yes — and I still vote yes. The bible tells the story how God fulfilled His plan in spite of mankind! And this gives me the assurance that He will do the same now.

Profile of Enoch: The Man Who Walked With God

Mankind is ever foolish enough to think God needs something from me — a vow, a sacrifice or something I want to give — but He gives out of grace. All I can give Him is my whole life. Nothing else. I said yes before, and I still think so : Your reasoning was similar to mine, which is gratifying. And I love your breakdown of the underlying assumptions. I enjoyed your suspenseful challenge and agree with your conclusion. I voted yes on the first round with no stipulation for an alternative understanding of the fulfillment of his vow. The story grieved me when I first read it.

How foolish and rash! I contend that offering his daughter as a burnt offering and keeping her celibate are both rash vows that exemplify his failure. Of course, a burnt offering is more heinous and disturbing. Yet, for a king-like leader to lose a successor is also damaging to the leader making the vow. If someone were to die, why would I make a big deal about their virginity? She could have married someone in those two months to solve this problem. However, the text points out her virginity again after the vow was fulfilled.

Overall, your point is how I view the book of Judges. Some were deeply flawed leaders who show the progressive nature of sin in a society. Just my two cents. Good discussion! Definitely worth consulting, and I did consult them. When I voted No last time I discussed this with my son also a pastor and daughter -in-law. They are on your side. I still vote NO. I will try to state the reasoning behind it.

Did God bring his daughter out 1st? That is the first question we must address. I believe God did bring her out. There is an agreement that it could be Satan who brought her out. But I think God did. What do you think? If you believe that God brought her out first then to me you are saying God is tempting him with evil. If you agree that God is responsible for putting Jephthah in that position, then it is a position the Bible says God will not do. This is an important point that is not addressed in your article today.

I enjoyed it by the way. But this is part of the story is never addressed. For me to say yes is to put God in a position that is against Scripture. Now you got me up to 6 cents! And I checked with my wife, and she said I could still be friends with people who disagreed with me. I did not address that point, no. I confess this thought did not occur to me. I think he tested him. The difference between tempt and test is the intent, but the visible circumstances are the same. Job mostly passed the test, and he repented from the parts he failed.

He orders the end from the beginning. Sirius is a great example of this himself—exactly. Good novels reflect reality by making people mixtures of good and evil. I voted no because of the specifics in Judges There are, indeed, plenty of examples of bad moral conduct, judges are not all good, no Bible heroes are free from stain, etc and to be included in Hebrews 11 does not have to indicate that we are being presented with faultless people.

Far from it. Best wishes Barry. But would you agree that a number of comments on the first post did display the assumptions I listed? But without wishing to cast any aspersions on readers, and fully acknowledging that I held the same view not many years ago, I believe many people do think that the vow and sacrifice simply have to be explained as good actions because they assume that every recorded action of Jephthah was good. Including you, apparently. For most Christians I think it leads only to confusion.

I want to help people read the Bible well. Personally, I think Jephthah called his own vow rash by regretting it so loudly. I, too, have really enjoyed this discussion. You know what I like?

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I like the fact that despite disagreement there can be that constructive discussion you talked about. And I really like the fact that people can do—and actually do—real Bible homework. Several commenters mined Scripture carefully and came up with points I had not considered. Many thanks for your very interesting reply, Mark. And yes, I would agree that some of the commenters did display the assumptions of which you wrote.

It was very good, though, to read the range of replies. I love taking the Bible apart metaphorically and really looking at doctrines and issues and people etc thoroughly, and from every possible angle, so that I can try to get real wisdom and understanding. Best wishes — have a good weekend Barry. Judges says he did to her what he had vowed. It is all inspired by God. It is all true. If the vow was to sacrifice her then that was what was done, as it says he did the vow.

Best blog posts so far. Good work fellah. I find great comfort in the idea that if Jephtha had known the perfect law of God better, he might have seen that God had already made a way, made some sort of allowance for his depravity and foolishness, and given him a get out of jail free card in paying his foolish vow off. God is good! And it is an encouragement to walk closely with God, who knows our ways and would guide us and teach us. There were provisions in the law, as one commenter on the previous post stated.

I agree with your disagreement of the quote above. Is it really inconceivable that Jephthah would sacrifice his daughter? More inconceivable than, say, David committing adultery and murdering her husband, his loyal servant Uriah? I believe we are far too quick to fall back into the lie that the Bible was written to instruct men on how to be righteous. I am so totally with you, but forgive me—as a wannabe theologian I just have to add a word here! They show us that we, like the Bible characters, need that foreign righteousness you talked about.

I agree with you. Once receiving the Holy Spirit, we are called to grow in living out the Righteousness that has been accounted to us because of our faith. The scriptures are available for instruction in that purpose. Yet still, perfection will be elusive until Glory. I find it interesting how some commenters have referred to the sacrifice as a deplorable or heinous sin, something that was only done by the pagan people of ancient times. Perhaps some choose to ignore the millions of infants being sacrificed in the womb these days.

Maybe this is the way I need to be looking at this question of whether it happened or not. Mark — I am impressed. You had me thinking you were going the other way. As far as Hebrews 11, the whole point is that faith is given by God, not earned in any way. The fact that the walls of Jericho are included is to illustrate our helplessness in salvation — we simply respond to God. God does not choose based on our righteousness, as Jephthah and Gideon illustrate. Thank God He would include my name were the list compiled today!

Powerful lesson. Jephthah may have been blending his religious views about Yahweh with Ammonite religious views about Milkom. Ammonite Milkom worship involved human sacrifice. It is highly unlikely, though, that Jephthah anticipated this resulting in the human sacrifice of his daughter.


Human sacrifice was illegal under the law of Moses. A person vowed to God could be redeemed by the payment of a stipulated amount Lev 27 ; but obviously in this case no redemption money was paid. The question of human sacrifice here is mute. Good arguments can be made for and against that interpretation of the text. This much is certain: If Jephthah actually sacrificed his daughter he sinned in a grievous manner.

No vow should be kept if the keeping of that vow involves a greater sin than the breaking of that vow. So the whole story instead of being a warrant for human sacrifice is intended to be a lesson on the exceeding foolishness of hasty vows made in the energy of the flesh. Torrey, R. Difficulties in the Bible: Alleged Errors and Contradictions. Willow Grove: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, Smith, James E. The Books of History. Joplin, MO: College Press, Old Testament Survey Series.

Kim, Koowon. John D. Barry et al. The Lexham Bible Dictionary , , , : n. She spent the rest of her life as a virgin, serving or assisting the priest at the Temple. We know of such women from Ex. Anna of Asher was such a woman as were the women who followed and ministered to Jesus and 1 Tim. Several factors make clear he did not kill her. The oath was made just after the Spirit of the Lord can on him—it was Spirit provoked. If he were a wicked man, he would feel no moral duty to fulfill his oath the keeping of which grieved him. A righteous man would repent of a wicked oath.

He would have known that human sacrifice was abhorrent to God, Deut. There was no protest because there was no need of one. She lamented that she would never marry, not die and the result of keeping the oath was that she became a virgin. Thus, she devoted her life to service at the Tabernacle. To establish his house and his family line as the royal house in Israel. Like the rest of Israel at this time, he believed Israel needed an earthly king like the other nations and Jephthah wanted to be that king.

His vow is an expression of piety, not bargaining. If the Lord should be so gracious as to give him the victory, he recognizes he will be indebted to God and as a token of his gratitude he vows in advance to give something of great value to the Lord. The vow indicates a person from the start—he was not expecting an animal. When he made the vow, he was hoping that God would do for him what God eventually did do for David. Jephthah wanted a royal line but is rejected. Examination of the Hebrew words and their implications. The idea that the word implies a human vs anything is worth considering.

Or on experience with animals? Examining how things were done at the time. Speculating motives that are not explicitly in the text. Based on?? It could be there is a lot of clear signaling that this was his motive, but it is not explicitly stated in the text. Jephthah, although used by the Lord to deliver Israel, was not particularly righteous — and had some bad theology that the Lord would be pleased by the killing of the daughter — as many gods were at the time.

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English requires a choice between the two. Every translation at this point is necessarily an interpretation. I said what ever! I am with NO: below are some random thoughts 1. This is at a time of spiritual renewal, Judges While sinners are mentioned in the Hebrews 11 it would foolish to think that the Jew who wrote Hebrews thinks a hero of the faith would commit such an horror 4.

The author of Judges does not say he did kill her, it says when he fulfilled his vow, which was after two months. It begs the question for Jephthah why wait to murder his daughter? Family line a. She bewailed her virginity not her impending death c. There were full-time female workers 1 Samuel 2. There is a comparable story, less than years later in 1 Samuel Saul ignores his vow upon the advice of the nation.

Concerning the spirit of the Lord, read Numbers The spirit of the Lord came upon Balaam too. All it means is God empowers as well as commissions a certain act, not the whole person, and not even all following actions subsequent to the coming upon. Balaam apparently immediately enticed the Moabites and Midianites to tempt the Israelites at Peor where Balak took him to curse them.

He was also shortly killed when God commanded Israel to wipe out Midian. Context is king. What was the contemporary culture at the time of the story? You have to start your interpretation by immersing yourself in the time of the story and the time of the authorship. There can be a separation between the two, and balancing all that can be tricky. But what you must NOT do is start with modern sensibilities. During the time of Jephthah child sacrifice was practiced. See Abraham, too. So dying a virgin would signal she died without being able to carry on the family line. Frankly, I have incomplete information on various cultures that are now within yards of me, and certainly incomplete information on those that are much further away.

The Reformation argued for the perspicuity of Scripture, but not the perspicuity of ancient cultures. They feel consistent with what the reliable cultural knowledge we can attain from reading the Old Testament. But if we try to be self-conscious about them and if we use reliable cultural knowledge from the OT itself flavored with archaeological and historical data , we can interpret responsibly. Now, I fully admit that access to and understanding of such material is difficult. A company like Logos provides access to some of that background material.

And the volume of and ease of access to such material is far greater today than it was and maybe even years ago. The Israelites neighbors did it, and there is evidence the Israelites did too. One distinctive of the Bible is the fact it rarely tells stories of perfect people. Divorce is not in His perfect will. We can take solace in that. I think Japteth thought an animal would be the first out, but his daughter was.

I think this shows us how man sometimes makes great presumptions, and falls to temptations.

In the New testament we are told not to say I will do blank but if God Wills or permits, I will do blank. Saying I wil do blank gives the same presumption, I can predict the future. I do not think the vow was evil in that I think it was made in the presumption of an animal coming out.

Conquest & Judges and the Royal Kingdom

I think what was evil than and is now is our presumption to think we can predict the future. You may say this is adding to the text, I say it is reading into the text, and even your commentary, as to what it was thought would be the first to respond, since animals tend to have better hearing. Further more the text makes it clear that Japthah was grieved and it seems surprised his daughter was first out of the doors. I wonder what would have happened if Japthah had done as is scriptural, asked God if He wanted his daughter sacrificed. I would bet the answer would be no.

You say that is adding to the text. No, I am just saying that the right thing to do,m scripturally is ask God. He would have come up with the answer. I think you would do well to take a more Christ centred view of the book of Judges. The question is not whether Jephthah is a good guy or a bad guy but how does he prefigure or foreshadow Christ? All the OT figures who foreshadowed Christ were flawed in some way. They saved the people but that salvation fell short of all that was needed.

They each illuminate Christ but also leave us looking for a better savior to come. The OT figures who foreshadow Christ are like the OT sacrificial system which taught important lessons about the need for cleansing from sin but also cried out for a better sacrifice. His origin is one of humility and shame. His father was Gilead, a man with the same name as the region where the tribes of Ruben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh had settled on the east side of the Jordan.

His mother was a prostitute. Joseph initially believed Mary had prostituted herself. Verse 7 indicates this had the full knowledge and consent of the elders of Gilead, making him an outcast of the whole society. He had no honour among his own people. Like Christ, he is the stone which the builders rejected that has become the cornerstone.

His rise to the position of commander of the army and head of Gilead was the gracious leading of God. When Israel repented and God indicated his favor, Gilead humbled themselves and came to him for help. Their plea was based on an awareness that they could not do it themselves and he was the only one to go to. Jephthah showed himself honorable three ways: a. He agreed to help those who are previously abused him. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus was anointed at the Jordan in the presence of God who spoke from heaven.

We come to him because he has already proven himself able to save us by defeating sin, death, hell and the devil, at the cross and in his resurrection. He is not a man of war but of peace. Jesus came not to condemn but to save. He gives the Ammonites opportunity to repent. The Ammonites have their history wrong and Jephthah makes it clear.

The land between the Arnon and the Jabbok rivers was taken from the Amorites not the Ammonites b. Israel left Edom and Moab and Ammon alone, even restoring land to them by defeating the Amorites. He mocks their god for he and they both know Chemosh was no help to them. He reminds them how God withdrew protection from Moab and destroyed them. We need to know that history as the foundation for our faith.

The Gospel is first and foremost history, especially the history of the death and resurrection of Jesus. He paid no attention and he perished. I voted no. After reading your commentary, I still would vote no. My vote was not influenced by the assumptions you stated. I enjoyed the challenge to look deeper into scripture. There were many great points brought forth.

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  5. I look forward to your next question. I believe that many Bible readers are, however. Funny how the Lord uses other people to convict me of something that I learn is wrong. I asked the Lord to forgive me of not taking Him at His word, and trying to read into the Bible what I want it to say. As heinous as I believe this was, the big lesson for me is not to be making rash oaths to the Lord. How many times have I read in the Bible of God having issue with priests not teaching the people the law of God or honoring it themselves.

    What priest was reading the law to Jepthah so that he would know it? Did the priests at that time even know the law of God in full? I never considered that Jepthah could have maimed his daughter in an effort to create a loophole within his limited understanding of the law. Though, there is that whole, Leviticus 1 being a sacrificial burnt offering, fully and completely consumed, representing Christ.

    And then there is that other thing about lamenting her virginity and Christ Jesus never knowing a woman before being sacrificed on the cross. These assumptions are probably wrong, but they are my assumptions.

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    Oh brother, even the sin caused from the sacrificer by the sacrifice would be held against the as sin. I would be extremely hesitant to try to think of many characters in the OT as types of Christ. It seems that they are mostly types of Christ in our own minds rather that being set forth as such.

    It must always be remembered that the OT is not the same as the NT. Paul speaks of the Law as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. This story of new beginnings and new ordeals can be divided into two acts, the first covering the book of Joshua, and the second covering the book of Judges. The book of Judges tells of how Israel enters the Promised Land with a series of great victories, but then follows the Israelites through a repeating cycle of sin that causes Israel to spiral downward into darkness.

    However, a hint of light shines as two foreigners place their trust in the Lord, entering into the people of God and becoming part of the line that will lead to a king and future messiah. Act one tells of Samuel, a prophet and the last judge over Israel, who is a heavenly gift to his barren mother. Dedicated to the Lord from his birth, he is a faithful servant who anoints the first kings of Israel. David will prove to be a model of trust in God, even when he sins.

    Solomon receives wisdom, as well as riches and honor, surpassing those of any other king. You led Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land. They failed to teach their children, and instead did what was right in their own eyes. Help me to keep my eyes on you and teach others what is truly right. You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne.