Abimelech is followed by Tola and Jair. After Jair's death they turn to other gods again and fall into the hands of their enemies. After 18 years, they cry out, destroy their false gods and look to God for help. He takes pity and brings Jephthah into the picture. Jephthah is the son of a prostitute whose own family drove him out of inheritance... told ya God liked the underdog.
When a local king tries to take back the land that was taken from his people by the Israelites when they first entered Canaan, Jephthah stands for them. He explains that God took the land, not the Israelites, who are they to challenge God's rulings? He further says that God will be the judge if this king decides to go ahead and attack. Jephthah makes a vow to God that if he is able to defeat this king, he will sacrifice the first thing that comes out of his household upon his return. He ends up winning, and who should come out of his house to greet him but his only daughter...he tears his clothes and weeps and explains what he has done. Unlike Isaac, God allows the girl to be sacrificed. The locals took time from then out to remember the girl and honor her life. I'm not sure why he chose to let Isaac live, and this girl die...kind of torn up about it.
3 more judges follow after Jephthah's death. I am really liking this book. Although the Israelites are idiots who never learn their lesson, God never completely gives up on them. It's a great testament to His amazing mercy and compassion!
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