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Judges 9-12


A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                             
Thru the Bible in a Year
       Abimelech, Tola, Jair and Jephthah are the next key figures mentioned.  Abimelech is not really a judge.  He seeks to set himself up as a city-king like one of the Canaanites.  As a son of Gideon, he has few of his father’s redeeming qualities and succeeds in leading the people further astray from God’s way.  He murders all of his seventy brothers with one exception, Jotham.  Jotham places a curse on Abimelech and even though he succeeds for a great length of time, in the end he is killed in a battle in a freak accident which makes clear that God Himself has intervened.
       Nothing much is said of Tola other than that he led Israel for twenty-three years and saved Israel from its enemies.  Jair, who led Israel for twenty-two years, is again only mentioned in passing.
       Jephthah, however, emerges as another of the key figures in the book.  This time it is the Philistines (apparently a group of people from the West who invaded the Eastern Mediterranean coastal areas), Amorites and Ammonites who come as the agents of God’s judgment. 
       Jephthah is a mighty warrior and his mother is a prostituteForced to live in a foreign place by the ridicule he received from his countrymen, he is never the less recalled when their oppression requires relief and his prowess is remembered.  He is promised he will be leader of Israel if he returns and delivers them and so he comes.
The Spirit of the LORD comes over Jephthah after he pursues the course outlined years earlier by Moses in Deuteronomy 20, and is ignored.  His closeness to God is demonstrated by the victories he is given.  His human pride and foolishness is seen in the incident involving the death of his daughter.  Vows had to be kept in Jephthah’s day, but they did not have to be made.  He was obedient in the first regard and vainly foolish in the second.
       After his death, Jephthah is followed by Ibzan, Elon and Abdon, none of which is particularly described.
        Do you ever wonder how people will remember you?  Most likely they won’t – at least not in the long run.  What matters is not some legendary accomplishment, but faithfulness to God at each step of the way – whether in small or great ways.  God builds great accomplishments out of simple obedience.  What do you need to do more faithfully in your relationship with God?  What could you take more seriously or work on more energetically that would please Him? 
        Take a step today.
  That’s how meaningful lives are built!          
A. Eugene Pearson 2011