Lots of action happens today! Ok, first Jephthah makes a ridiculous vow to the Lord. He says that if the Lord gives him victory over Ammon he will offer up as a burnt offering whatever runs out of his house when he returns home.😳 I don’t know what he was expecting to run out of that house but it was his daughter, his only child, who was playing music and dancing. Well, we read back in Numbers 30:2 “If a man vows a vow to the Lord…he shall not break his word”. Jephthah does not break his word “…he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man.” Some commentators debate whether she was offered as a burnt offering since this would go against the Lord’s teaching in Lev 20:1-5 about not offering human sacrifices. They say she could have been sent to the tabernacle as a servant of the Lord since she went away 2 months with her friends to mourn her virginity and not her death. 🤷♀️ Not sure. But I think we get the point about not making foolish vows (see 3/9 post for more info on making vows).
Today we meet Samson. Israel was being oppressed by the Philistines and the Lord appears to a barren woman, the wife of Manoah, and tells her she is going to have a child and “…the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines”. So Samson grows up and sees a Philistine woman that he wants. His parents do not want him to marry a Philistine as this would go against the Lord’s teaching but little did they know that the Lord was working behind the scenes to use the union to make a move against the Philistines. And a move He made! The wedding festivities are crazy! Samson ends up killing 30 men to honor a bet he made with some of the male wedding attendants. His future wife is given to his companion to marry. In anger, Samson burns the Philistines fields with torches tied to fox tails. So the Philistines burn his supposed to be wife and her dad, and Samson retaliates by slaughtering them.
Lastly we read that Samson kills a thousand Philistine men with a jawbone of a donkey. Wow! 🤯 The Lord definitely used this fleshly driven man to take down some Philistines! Keep reading bc tomorrow Samson falls in love again which will lead to his downfall.