The Mighty Man

Unwanted at birth, hated in his youth, despised by his brothers, Jephthah, a mighty man, was rejected and forced to leave his home. "Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob . . . " (Judges 11:3) "Tob" or tov is the Hebrew word for "good".

Although, the land of Tob is within the boundary of the Promised Land, it nonetheless attracts attention because Jephthah is forced to leave home (where there is bad feeling towards him) to live in the Good Land (the Land of Tob or Good).

It seems strangely ironic that Jephthah being forced to flee his home by righteous men acting unjustly is banished to a place where he and a band of "worthless men" would perform righteous deeds.

What were those righteous deeds? Doing their part in taking possession of their inheritance, the Promised Land.

"Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him." (Judges 11:3)

Despite being rejected these men were doing good in the Land of Good, and Jephthah was their leader.

The rejection of a future leader is a familiar theme in the history of Israel. Joseph, Moses and David were all initially rejected. Jephthah's rejection by his brothers reminds us of the cruel treatment Joseph experienced at the hands of his ten brothers. And in spite of the rejection, Jephthah, rose to be a leader among his people, like Joseph and Moses, before him, and David after him.

Sadly, it is perhaps not surprising to discover that the Messiah is also rejected by His brethren. "He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him." (Isaiah 53:3)

Being the son of another woman, Jephthah was deemed unworthy and illegitimate, by his brothers. So too, the Messiah's birth would prove awkward to understand, while many would question the legitimacy of His birth, as it is written, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son . . . " (Isaiah 7:14) Thus, when the Messiah came, He was rejected by His own. Yet God, who had raised up His servants in times past, has also raised up Yeshua of Nazareth. "Him, God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5:31)

Jephthah's countrymen, the elders of Gilead, eventually saw the error of their ways. In repentance, they sought out Jephthah, confessing their sin, and the two parties were reconciled. This happy scene has been repeated down through the pages of Israel's history, and specifically, in the days of Joseph, Moses and David.

As a consequence of their ill-treatment of Jephthah, the elders of Gilead were blind to the significance of Jephthah's role. In acknowledging their unjust action, however, the blindness was removed, and they could prophetically see a higher calling for him, namely, a Saviour and Prince. With clarity and confidence, they were now declaring that Jephthah would save them from their enemies and be the next leader over the people.

"That is why we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead." (Judges 11:8)

While the similarities of return and reconciliation between Jephthah and his kindred are replays of the history of Israel, it is also a rehearsal of the future reconciliation between the Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth, and His brethren, the people of Israel.

Despite His initial rejection, Messiah Yeshua will be welcomed by His own. At that time, the blindness will be removed, and the people of Israel will prophetically see Him as the Anointed One.

"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look unto Me whom they have pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10)

Jephthah was eventually heralded by his own, as Prince and Saviour. Likewise, in the future, Yeshua of Nazareth will be acknowledged, by Israel as King and the Holy One of Israel, as it is written, "See your house is left unto you desolate; for I say to you, 'You shall see Me no more until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!'" (Matthew 23:37)

Initially, Jephthah was a mighty man of valour, deemed unworthy, by his brothers. However, by the end of his life, he had been reconciled to his brethren, and he had been exalted as a Saviour and a worthy Judge, a respected and honoured leader of Israel.

When the Messiah came He was born in a small village of Bethlehem, known only by the prophets and sages of Israel. In the latter days, He will return to rule the world, and be exalted King over all.

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy ones with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats." (Matthew 25:31-32)

People from every nation will go up to Israel to pay homage to the King, and to learn of His ways, as He establishes righteousness throughout His kingdom.

"Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, 'Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach of His ways and we shall walk in His paths.'

"For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Micah 4:1-3)

May the LORD bless His people, Israel, and remove the blindness that they may see Him.