If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.
22 March. Judges chapters 10-12
Several more of the ‘judges’ of Israel are listed here, although only Jephthah’s deeds are recounted in detail. Although the length of each one’s reign is given, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of the passage of time when reading the historical parts of the Bible. But we are given a signpost in Jephthah’s statement “While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the towns that are along the Arnon, for three hundred years”. After that length of time, the original conquests had become history and needed to be recited to new generations to remind them of how they had come to be where they were.
As always, it’s not easy to see a connection between ancient history and our own time. But human nature never changes and I did spot one connection. Jephthah was ostracised by his half-brothers and went off to the “land of Tob” (well east of the Jordan) where he gathered a band of outlaws. But later he was called upon to join them in a common struggle, make peace with them and be their leader. This week Martin McGuinness died. He too spent his formative years in the political wilderness as an IRA terrorist, but the time came when he came to see that it was in everyone’s interest to renounce violence, make amends with former enemies and lead those who had once rejected him.