Son of a Harlot


Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot. God uses all who are willing. Our background matters little; it's what is in our hearts that counts.

Today’s Reading: Judges 10-11

Key Verse: Judges 11:1

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah.

Why would the writer of Scripture record our key verse? Perhaps the point he is making is that God uses all who are willing, regardless of pedigree. Our background matters little; it’s what is in our hearts that counts. The Apostle Paul urges us to consider our calling (1 Cor. 1:16-31). “Not many wise, not many mighty, and not many noble are called.” The good news is, God uses us as we are. He wants a surrendered, obedient heart. Let us give Him our hearts anew now. The last part of our reading is a difficult story (Judges 11:29-40). Notice that it does not say that Jephthah actually burnt his daughter as an offering. God would not allow Abraham to offer Isaac. The Jewish Rabbis teach that Jephthah sent his daughter permanently into a wilderness retreat where she remained a virgin for the rest of her life.


Lord God, once again You’ve shown me that no ordinary human being is perfect. I can never claim to be sinless (1 John 1:8-10). Therefore, I confess my sin and trust Your promise that You forgive me and cleanse me. Here’s my heart once again. Live in and through me in the Person of Your Son and my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!


I’m glad that Peter wrote, “No Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:19-21). This is why I appealed to the Jewish Rabbis concerning Jephthah’s daughter. I deeply value the huge body of the historical understanding of the meaning of Scripture. Some react to Scriptures that are difficult to process hysterically rather than historically. I try to guard against jumping to conclusions until I have read the whole of Scripture on a given matter, as well as the comments of Rabbis and of Christian teachers whose work has stood the test of centuries. In today’s reading we learn about the people of Ammon. This is modern day Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a Muslim country. However, King Abdullah, whom I had the privilege of meeting, told me that he watches my Arab preacher son-in-law, Nizar, on “Light for All Nations,” “all the time.” I checked on his knowledge by asking the king what TV signal he watched. He answered correctly.

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