Dr. Dave Burnette
Judges 12 - A Quick Temper
1And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst 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. 2And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. 3And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? 4Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites. 5And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; 6Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. 7And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. 8And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem. 11And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years. 12And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun. 13And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. 14And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years. 15And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.
Today's Scripture Meaning
Ephraimites quarrel with Jephthah. (1-7) Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon judge Israel. (8-15) Verses 1-7: The Ephraimites had the same quarrel with Jephthah as with Gideon. Pride was at the bottom of the quarrel; only by that comes contention. It is ill to fasten names of reproach upon persons or countries, as is common, especially upon those under outward disadvantages. It often occasions quarrels that prove of ill consequence, as it did here. No contentions are so bitter as those between brethren or rivals for honour. What need we have to watch and pray against evil tempers! May the Lord incline all his people to follow after things which make for peace! Verses 8-15: We have here a short account of three more of the judges of Israel. The happiest life of individuals, and the happiest state of society, is that which affords the fewest remarkable events. To live in credit and quiet, to be peacefully useful to those around us, to possess a clear conscience; but, above all, and without which nothing can avail, to enjoy communion with God our Saviour while we live, and to die at peace with God and man, form the substance of all that a wise man can desire.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Judges with Chapter 12 and we see the end of the life of Jephthah. He judged Israel for 8 years and he was used of the Lord. His only setback was a quick temper as he acted before he reasoned to the tribe of Ephraim acting upon an insult. In making application we see the danger in having a quick temper. If we take a moment to reason before lashing out many heart aches could be avoided. It reminds me of a TV show I watched as a person was on death row for killing a man for an insult made to him. He wished he had just ignored it or walked away but his "loss of temper" affected so many lives. When placed in a situation of conflict is always best to walk away or calm down before we act. How about you? Do you have a quick temper. Let us learn form the mistakes of Jephthah in our text today and have a plan walk away from a quick temper.
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Sincerely, Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.