He was good enough for them when they were growing up together. But when property and money counted, his half-brothers thrust him out of the family. Zero inheritance.
What had he done wrong? That one thing: He had been born of a prostitute.
And how was that his fault? He didn’t ask to be born. He had had nothing to do with the conditions that brought about his birth.
Nevertheless, the day came when he was again good enough for them. Actually, more than good enough. All because of what he had become in the interim.
Driven from his homeland and forced to fend for himself, he had weathered into a seasoned warrior. Now the outcast was the one person everybody back in Gilead wanted. So the tribal leaders made the trip to Tob and met with Jephthah.
In dire straits, they begged him to come back and command his homeland’s army. War was at their doorstep.
Jephthah, determined not to be discarded a second time, gave the distressed delegation his terms. If he defeated the invaders, they would make him the ruling head of his native country.
No problem. “The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, ‘The Lord is witness between us; surely we will do as you have said’” (Judges 11:10 NASB).
As had happened to Gideon in the past and would happen to Samson in the future, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah” (Judges 11:29 NASB). Energized with supernatural strength, Jephthah was victorious on the battlefield.
And thus it came about that “Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead” (Judges 12:7 NASB).
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
(Psalm 139:13-16 MSG)