– Inyang Okutinyang
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Our next personality is someone you would say had so many strikes against him due to no fault of his. By accident of birth he was born already stigmatized. Before showing up in his father’s house he was already an outcast. Life had dealt him a horrible hand and he was at the mercy of those who despised him. His name is Jephthah. Let’s find out more about him.
1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah.
2 Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”
3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.
Jephthah could not choose his parents or what family to be born into. He was the son of a harlot. His father’s other sons who were born by the legitimate wife had no regard for Jephthah. In fact, as soon as they could, they sent him packing from their father’s house.
Jephthah had to flee from his father’s house because his life was in danger if he remained.
What could he do? He never asked to be born under those circumstances.
Being kicked out of the house and all alone Jephthah certainly did not give up on life or living even though destitute. Rather, he developed some good inter-personal skills and leadership ability. He did not sit back complaining and wishing things were better for him. He was not lamenting the kind of hand life had dealt him. He simply took all that came at him in his stride and chose to make the best of the situation.
Jephthah must have lived life with some confidence and optimism because other men probably with similar plight were drawn to him even though they were a gang of scoundrels and riffraff. They were still people that God had a destiny for. He organised them into a successful raiding force.
4 It came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel.
5 And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob.
6 Then they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon.”
7 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”
8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?”
10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.”
11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.