June 10, 2015
The men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah: Wherefore passeth thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? We will burn thine house upon thee with fire. Judges 12:1
LET IT GLOW
So very grateful that God has given me another year to live. (365 more days to retirement. SS, here I come, just hold out for me to collect from you.)
I wonder if the city of Gilead and surrounding 20 others which Jephthah and his tribe of Manasseh protected as they conquered the Ammonites. Wouldn't you think that the tribe of Ephraim would be grateful also? Not so. Look at their reaction.
Keep in mind that Israel experienced peace for 31 as the sixth group of judges would rule, including Jephthah for six years, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon. Yet, with ungratefulness and jealousy, their neighbors across the River, the tribe of Ephraim, gets upset about the whole thing of battling the Ammonites and their army without their help.
New Living Translation says in verse 1-3: Then the people of Ephraim mobilized an army and crossed over the Jordan River to Zaphon. They sent this message to Jephthah: "Why didn't you call for us to help you fight against the Ammonites? We are going to burn down your house with you in it!" Jephthah replied, "I summoned you at the beginning of the dispute, but you refused to come! You railed to help us in our struggle against Ammon. so when I realized you weren't coming, I risked my life and went to battle without you, and the LORD gave me victory over the Ammorites. So why have you now come to fight me?"
What?!! You've got to be kidding!
Life Application Study Bible has this to say about the situation:
Israel had just won a great battle, but instead of joy, there was pettiness and quarreling. The tribe of Ephraim was angry and jealous that they were not invited to join the fighting (although Jephthah said he had invited them). The insults of the Ephraimites enraged Jephthah, who called out his troops and killed 42,000 men from Ephraim.
Jephthah usually spoke before he acted, but this time his revenge was swift. It cost Israel dearly, and it might have been avoided, insulting others and being jealous are not right responses when we feel left out. But seeking revenge for an insult is just as wrong, and very costly.Did you know that Jephthah is listed in Hebrews 11, the hall of faith? The writer of Hebrews says that he didn't have time to discuss this man's life and faith, though. God had blessed this man who faithfully followed Him.
Well, well, there is that ugly head of jealousy being raised again. Don't we have to be careful that it does try to raise its head within us? (At least I do.) Also, we have to watch out for it in others. Make them feel appreciated, needed, and a part of things. Love covers a lot and over comes a lot, huh? We have to train our self to recognize that ole scudder of jealousy. It only intends to hurt and cause pain, usually with words. Best to head it off at the pass, pardoner, before it gets too strong of a hold.
LET IT GROW
Is this a pattern for the tribe of Ephraim? Back in Judges 8, during Gideon's day. Ephraim was the most prominent of the 12 tribes of Israel. Why, the tabernacle was located in their territory, and Joshua was one of their descendants. In spite of all of that, they complained about not being included in the call to war by Gideon. He calmed down the Ephraimites with compliments. Wonder why Jephthah did not adhere to the same method.
How did Jephthah know when a fugitive Ephraimite man tried to cross back over the Jordan River at a shallow crossing was such? The Gilead men would challenge him, asking if he was an Ephraimite. When answering "No," then the Gilead men put them to the test by having them say the word Shibboleth (translated as either stream or ear of grain.) For whatever reason, they could not pronounce the word properly, making them easily identified. (David Jeremiah)
This word was chosen as a password because it contained a consonant which the Ephramites could not pronounce. Instead they pronounce the word Sibboleth. (Falwell)
This linguistic test shows that the Ephramite dialect followed the Arabic influence in which s took the place of sh. (Bruce)
Then they would kill the Ephraimite. To be exact, 42,000 were killed during that time. How needless! A civil war going on within the Israelites. How upset this would have made Moses and Joshua. God allowed it, though.
Here's an interesting note: Falwell tells us that a similar pronunciation test was used by the northerner soldiers during our Civil War in distinguishing if a man was a southerner, to discover another by certain words.
Maybe it is best to keep ones mouth shut at times. Words reveal who we are. Interesting thought.
Proverbs 15:1 says, A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grevious words stir anger.
Proverbs 15:23 says, A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season , how good is it!
Proverbs 25:11 tells us, A fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
LET IT GO
Let go of words that are hurtful to me.
Watch the words I say.