SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Israel had just won a great battle, but instead of celebrating there is quarreling. The tribe of Ephraim was angry and jealous that they were not invited to join in the fighting (although Jephthah said he invited them).
- Angry at the insults of the Ephraimites, Jephthah kills 42,000 men from Ephraim.
- Three more judges are mentioned at the end of the chapter. There is little else known about these three judges. The large number of children and cattle are an indication of the wealth of these men.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Patience with others is a virtue. Feeling left out from the battle, Ephraim responded poorly by insulting and threatening Jephthah. Jephthah responded to the insults by seeking revenge. A response that was just as wrong and very costly.
- The Ephraimites anger was really unjust and childish. Interestingly, resentments that have the least reason are often the ones that result in the most rage.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Despite the constant rebellion of the Israelites, we've seen throughout the book of Judges the patience and compassion of God. While God hates sin, He has an unending compassion for the sinner. Who is someone who has wronged you or insulted you in the past? Rather than seeking revenge, as Jephthah did, what could you do to demonstrate patience and love towards them?
- In his anger, Jephthah kills 42,000 men. Ephesians 4:26 says, "In your anger, do not sin." While anger is a natural emotion, what steps can you take to avoid sin and resolve your anger in a godly way?