Editorial - History Repeating Itself

by Joy Hunting

We may read in the Book of Judges in chapter 11 the account of Jephthah, one of Israel's judges, and his problem with the Ammonites who lived east of the River Jordan in the area that is now part of the State or Jordan.

"the people of Ammon made war against Israel ... and Jephthah sent messengers to the king of Ammon, saying, 'What do you have against me in my land?' And the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, 'Because Israel took away my land when they came out of Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably.'

"So Jephthah ... said to him ... 'Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon; for when Israel came up from Egypt ... then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Please let me pass through your land." But the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel ... went along ... and bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab ... and encamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.

' ... And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites ... from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness of the Jordan. So now the LORD God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel; should you then possess it? Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? ... While Israel dwelt in ... all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the LORD, the Judge, render judgement this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.'"

In these days when it is always Israel that is expected to give up territory and security for peace, we can see history repeating itself.

Why is it that the Arab nations did not accept a Palestinian State in 1947 when it was offered to them by the League of Nations? Or why did not the Palestinians settle themselves into a Palestinian State during the nineteen years 1948 to 1967 when the kingdom of Jordan (the area of Ammon, Moab and Edom approximately) controlled the West Bank, and when Egypt controller the Gaza Strip?

It's Jephthah and the Ammonites all over again -- history repeating itself.

And there is already a Palestinian State in existence: It's Jordan with 70 per cent of its population Palestinian.

So, just as the people of Israel are enjoined to heed God's word and God's ways in order to receive God's blessings, the surrounding nations will experience God's judgements if they seek to divide God's land, for we read their condemnation in the prophet Joel (chapter 3): "I will gather all nations ... and enter into judgement with them ... on account of my people, my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up my land ..."