Judges 11:5-10, 12-21, 23-28
We should mind whom we slight, for upon those very persons we may come to be dependent.
Judges 11:9, 10
Jephthah asked no more than had been publicly promised, and was naturally his due. So when the Lord Jesus saves us from our sins, it is but just that he should reign over us.
Israel might not wantonly make war with Ammon, therefore Jephthah tries first an appeal to reason. Let us follow peace with all men.
This was a mere pretence, but diplomacy abounds with falsehoods. The Ammonites had lost the territory in war with the Amorites, and when Israel captured it from the Amorites, it became theirs.
To try once more what argument would do, he stated the facts of the case:
He argued upon their own grounds, and would have convinced them had they been capable of justice.
Judges 11:25, 26
Undisputed possession for three hundred years was certainly a good title enough. It was rather late to revive a dormant claim.
He did well to make his appeal to heaven. When right is on our side, we may fearlessly leave results with God. If we have done all we can to make peace, and men will not act justly, the sin must rest with them.
Lord, for the glory of thy name,
Vouchsafe me now the victory;
Weakness itself, thou knowest I am,
And cannot share the praise with thee:
Because I now can nothing do,
Jesus, do all the work alone,
And bring my soul triumphant through,
To wave its palm before thy throne.
What power against a worm can stand
Arm’d with Jehovah’s sword?
For all who bow to Christ’s command
Are champions of the Lord.
Arm’d with his word and Spirit’s might
We shall the battle gain,
And sin, that tempting Midianite,
Shall be for ever slain.
Father, though late, I turn to thee,
With all my idols part;
O let my helpless misery
Affect thy pitying heart.
Grieved at thine ancient people’s woe,
Be grieved again at mine;
And force my sins to let me go,
Redeem’d by blood divine.
He who saves us shall be king,
Let him but deliverance bring.
God the Lord our witness be,
He who saves, our king shall be.
Jesus saves us, he shall reign;
Lord, do not the throne disdain;
Since to save us thou hast died,
Thou shalt reign, and none beside.
E’en in my holiest hours,
My folly I reveal,
I lack a balance for my powers,
A bridle for my zeal.
Great Spirit teach me how,
When all my soul is flame,
To guard the purport of my vow,
Lest I be put to shame.
If unto God I speak
And pledge the solemn vow,
Thy heavenly guidance I will seek,
My gentle teacher, thou.
He subdued the powers of hell,
In the fight he stood alone;
All his foes before him fell,
By his single arm o’erthrown.
His the battle, his the toil;
His the honours of the day;
His the glory and the spoil;
Jesus bears them all way.
Now proclaim His deeds afar,
Fill the world with his renown:
His alone the victor’s car;
His the everlasting crown!
I can do all things, or can bear
All sufferings, if my Lord be there;
Sweet pleasures mingle with the pains,
While his left hand my head sustains.
But if the Lord be once withdrawn,
And we attempt the work alone;
When new temptations spring and rise,
We find how great our weakness is.
So Samson, when his hair was lost,
Met the Philistines to his cost;
Shook his vain limbs with sad surprise,
Made feeble fight, and lost his eyes.
So Samson Israel’s foes o’erthrew,
More than in life by death he slew;
But when our greater Samson fell,
He vanquish’d sin, and death, and hell.
Compass’d with foes, he bow’d his head;
For mercy, not for vengeance pled,
And groaned his last expiring groan,
And pull’d th’ infernal kingdom down.
O Lord, our carnal mind control,
And make us pure within;
Train thou each passion of our soul
To hate the thought of sin.
Be ours the blessed lot of those
Who every evil flee;
Whose spirits chaste, as virgins pure,
In all things follow thee.