9/30 Reading (Judges 10-12; Psalms 38-40)

Judges 10: Some more information about other judges who helped the Israelites. After two judges, Tola and Jair, led the people for 45 years total, the Israelites fell back into their routine of worshipping other gods. The initial difference this time is when they called out to God for help after many years of living under the rule of the Philistines and the Ammonites, God says he doesn’t want to help them because they keep doing the same thing over and over again. Eventually God relented and provided a ruler who could defeat the Ammonites.

Judges 11: We see the rise of Jephthah from the Gileadite tribe. His father was Gilead and his mother was a prostitute. He was initially run out of town by his half-brothers (on his father’s side). The people then approached him several years asking for his help in defeating the Ammonites. He agrees as long as he is made ruler over the people if he wins with God’s help. Before the war he vows to God that he will sacrifice the first thing that leaves his house upon his return if he wins the war. He wins and when he gets home, his only daughter is the first thing to leave his house. They both understand what this means, he has to sacrifice her to God. Kinda sad.

I gotta admit, a vow wouldn’t be more important to me than my daughter (or son).

Judges 12: So…Jephthah ends up not being a good guy. He is confronted by another Israelite tribe, the Ephraimites, after he defeats the Ammonites in battle. They are mad because he didn’t ask for their help. He says when he asked for help they rejected him. One thing led to another and bam, their armies fight. Jephthah leads the Gileadites in victory of the Ephraimites. They also take control of the Jordan river’s crossing points and kill any Ephraimite who tries to cross. 42,000 Ephraimites are killed! Another six years go by and he dies.

The chapter ends with three more Judges ruling over Israel in what sounds like a relatively peaceful time (at least according to this part of the Bible). The first is Ibzan from Bethlehem, who reigned for seven years. The second was Elon from Zebulun, who reigned for 10 years. The third was Elon from Pirathon, who led for eight years.

Psalm 38: This psalm is a prayer for help and one of the seven Penitential Psalms. The psalmist seems to argue that their current predicament is because of their sins. They call for God’s help during this challenging time.

Psalm 39: Another prayer for help. The psalmist prays for God to tell them when they will die. Honestly this one is a little strange to me. It seems like the psalmist wants God to end their suffering.

Psalm 40: The psalmist praises God in the first half of this psalm, recognizing what God has done to help them up to a particular time. The second half focuses on asking God for more help because of new wrongdoings committed by the psalmist.

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