The Bible in a Year: Day 68 (Judges 9-11)

Judges 9 — Three things stand out to me: First, Abimelech’s name means “[my] father is king,” which if in reference to the LORD is not a problem, but if in reference to Gideon makes me wonder if all the judges were somehow considered kings (or in Deborah’s case a queen). This leads me to the second point, which is that v. 6 says that Abimelech was made king. In what sense was he made king and who exactly was he king over? Just Shechem and Beth-millo, or all of Israel? If all of Israel then I’ve been wrongly thinking of Saul as Israel’s first king for years. And the third thing that jumps out (aside from the typological significance of Abimelech slaying his 70 half-brothers) is Abimelech’s aversion to being slain by a woman. Such was disgraceful, especially for a warrior. Going back and reading Judges 4 in light of 9:53-54 makes the humiliation of Jabin’s army all the more evident.

Judges 10:11-14 — The perfect response to Israel’s repeated idolatry! But God is merciful and he responds to genuine repentance so, of course, he ends up giving Israel another shot.

Judges 11:30-40 — This is one of those problem passages that should get us all asking a bunch of questions. For example, why did Jephthah vow to offer a burnt offering of “whatever” came to meet him when he returned home? Why not specify an animal? Didn’t he suspect that a human would have come to greet him immediately upon his arrival? What made him think that the LORD would be pleased with a human sacrifice? Was Jephthah so influenced by the Canaanites that he actually thought human sacrifice was okay? Does this tell us that a vow, no matter how detestable, is more important than the sanctity of innocent human life? Or perhaps his virgin daughter wasn’t considered innocent and sacrificing her was a means of punishment? As you can see, my mind is running wild with questions. At the end of the day I agree with those who say that “is’ doesn’t necessitate “ought” as if the fact of Jephthah offering his daughter legitimizes human sacrifice. I also agree with those who say that Israel’s judges, for the most part, aren’t exactly the standard of morality that anyone should be looking to. Most of them had significant shortcomings and failures. Jephthah’s may perhaps be the worst.

B”H

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