The basic background to this situation in the life of the Israelites related to their abandoning the God of Israel that got them out of bondage from Egypt. They all went whoring with the small gods of the people God drove out for them to dwell on the land that was flowing with milk and honey. It was the usual habit of the Israelites that when they were in deep oppression and depression they would always return to God.The Gileadites were under the oppression of the people of Ammon. They lacked a leader who could lead them to war. The Israelites called on God and won HIS favor.
The idea of revisiting an earlier post is to have a critical look into what aided the continued victory of the Gileadites in battles. Judges 11:1-12 gave us the background to the strength of the Gileadites. Jephthah was earlier disowned by his father’s other sons because he was the son of a harlot. They said “You shall have no inheritance in our father;s house, for you are the son of another woman” This forced him to rely on God himself. “Jephthah fled from his brother’s and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him”. In this circumstance, Jephthah showed himself as a good leader for him to have been able to train the so-called “worthless men” to become mighty men of valor who fought with courage and finesse. All Israel had confessed their sin to God and discarded all their strange gods and returned the God of their fathers. God decided to have compassion on them but no group had the strong army to fight for them. Jephthah, the rejected member of his father’s house became the only credible leader to lead Israel to battle their enemies. His prowess was comparable to David’s situation in which he had only about 600 men to King Saul’s “three thousand chosen men” 1Samuel 24: 2. David was a very strong leader who underwent tough circumstances but overcame difficulties that beset him as God was with him all along.
Jephthah had God-given power, might and compliance with priestly advice and directives that made him obey God. As a rejected son in his father’s house he placed emphasis on training and development not only in the physical but also in the spiritual. His followers were great men of valor and faith. He possibly would not have fought the Ephramites if they had not dared him on top of earlier occurrence of breaking the code of kinship cooperation. Jephthah tied his fate to God. He paid his vow in the most sorrowful and regrettable manner to seal his triumph over household and other enemies.