Wednesday, August 28, 2019

2019.08.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 12:8-15

Questions for Littles: Who judged Israel in Judges 12:8? From where did he come? How many sons did he have (Judges 12:9)? How many daughters? How many of his children married? How does this compare to Jephthah? For how long did he judge Israel? But what happened to him eventually (Judges 12:10)? What did they do with the body? Where did they bury him? Who judged Israel in Judges 12:11? From what tribe was he? For how long did he judge Israel? But what happened to him in the end (Judges 12:12)? And what did they do with the body? Where was it buried? Who judged Israel in Judges 12:13? From where was he? How many sons and grandsons did he have (Judges 12:14)? Upon what did they ride? Where have we heard about donkey-riding like this before (cf. Judges 5:10, Judges 10:4)? For how long did he judge Israel? But what happened to him (Judges 12:15)? And what did they do with the body? Where was he buried? Whose mountains does it say these were?
Jair had thirty sons (Judges 10:3-5). Ibzah had sixty, all who married. Abdon had seventy descendants. This is all we are really told about them. They get a couple verses each. Jephthah has one daughter whose marriage he vows away—unlike Samuel who is a male and would be the head of his wife and children (which doesn’t go so well, since his children are wicked), when Jephtah’s daughter is devoted unto the service of Yahweh, she cannot take a second head.

The elimination of Jephthah’s line highlights the strangeness of the Lord’s ways. We might want to jump to the conclusion that these other men did well, or that Israel was at peace, but the text gives us no comment on that. In fact, whereas with other judges, the Scripture specifically told us that the land had enjoyed rest, with these men it does not. The only hint that we have either way is that in “the land of Ephraim” there are still “mountains of the Amalekites.” Let us be careful drawing conclusions from the Lord’s differing providence to us and others. It may not mean anything more than that the Lord is free to do as He pleases, and that His wisdom is often unintelligible to our finite minds.

What do we know? Their lines multiplied. That’s all the text tells us. Oh, and that they died. And that they were buried. Their leadership couldn’t continue, because they couldn’t defeat death. Their hope and ours would have to be in someone who could in fact defeat death. And that’s what the burial was about (what it is ordinarily about, in Scripture): the hope of resurrection. Ultimately, the goal of this text—and all of God’s providence in our lives—is to make us ache for Jesus!
What unusual providence in your life have you wondered about? In Whom is your hope?
Suggested Songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

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