Reading through the Bible: day 82

Judges 9 – 12

Back to the joy of the Judges, let’s face it, if we made this into a movie, very few Christians would let their kids see it.

How many sons?

I’m beginning to wonder about how good the Biblical authors were at maths.

In Judges 8, Gideon had 70 sons, and then one from a concubine (Abimelech), so that’s 71. In chapter 9, Abimelech kills 70 (see, don’t sleep with concubines), and leaves 1 alive, with himself, this is 72. I checked to see if the context would allow for another birth prior to Gideon’s death, but it’s not the case.

This chapter is riddled with problems really, God sends an evil spirit, which results in 1000 dying, He lets Abimelech kill lots of people before suggesting someone toss a millstone at his head, and what was the millstone doing in the stronghold, it seems an odd place for it.

Human sacrifice

So Jephtah sacrificed his daughter, a rather absurd story, what did he expect to come rushing out the house to greet him? A dog (wait, unclean, can’t be used as a sacrifice), a lamb (the house is an odd place to have one of these). Perhaps he didn’t like his wife.

While I joke around this, an oath was a very serious thing, and Jephtah had put himself in a corner, he had to break one of God’s laws, and he chose to sacrifice his daughter, unfortunately. This doesn’t mean God approved, Jephtah had no more children, and God cutting off a bloodline was a common punishmentn so perhaps he was punished.

Perhaps there’s a lesson here about moral deadends, but it’s still a horrific story. LookinguntoJesus.net tries to claim he didn’t sacrifice her, but since he didn’t just promise a dedication, but a burnt offering, this seems like wishful thinking.

What are your thoughts?


Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.

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