Awhile back, the preacher at my (teeny-tiny) church approached me about giving a sermon. He was interested, he said, in having different voices represented in the church, more than just white guys.
I declined, explaining that I’m not a speaker, I’m a writer. A couple of months later, though, he approached me again. We’ve been doing a series on the broken heroes depicted in the book of Judges and we were coming to Judges 11, the story of Jephthah. He knows how fascinated I am by the story of Jephthah. (In the early 2000’s, I wrote a book with this story as the underlying theme (though not the story).
The story of Jephthah and his daughter is the saddest story in the Bible. It makes Romeo and Juliet look like the pilot for a sitcom. I’ll spare you the theological analysis, but I thought I’d share my retelling of the story itself.
Jephthah was a great warrior from the land of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute. His father had other sons by his legitimate wife and when he died. Jephthah’s brothers said, “You are the son of a whore. We are not sharing Dad’s estate with you.”
So Jephthah left Gilead for the land of Tob, where he gathered a band of ne’er-do-wells and malcontents and they lived off the land as bandits.
And life was good. Continue reading