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March 31, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: 1 Samuel 15-17
Audio: 1 Samuel 15-17

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Judges 12 (ESV)

The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.” And Jephthah said to them, “I and my people had a great dispute with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand. And when I saw that you would not save me, I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and Manasseh.” And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.

Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.

After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.

11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years.12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

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Next: Judges 13

Back: Judges 11

This Post Has One Comment
  1. It's Not All About Us

    If there is one lesson we can take from Judges 12 (and there are many), it's that the Bible is not as much about us as it is about God. Reading the Bible from cover to cover affords us the privilege to see the theocentric nature of the Scriptures which can easily be lost when cherry-picking verses for application, or reading the Bible casually due to a lukewarm interest, obligation or other reason other than learning about God.

    Theocentric means God is the central interest and ultimate concern of Scripture. We read His Word to learn about Him and when we are mentioned, it is in light of who God is, what He wants us to know about Him, what He requires of us and how ultimately we can please Him and bring glory to His holy name.

    For instance, we don't know much about Jephthah but we know even less of Ibzan who judged Israel for seven years. Elon, who judged Israel for ten years has even less written about him. We know Abdon, who followed Elon and had "forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years" (Judges 12:14) but then the very next verse says he "died and was buried at Pirathon" (Judges 12:15). 

    While it may seem insignificant to us to have people mentioned in Scripture with no narrative about their lives, what is very significant is by not including much information about these judges, the Bible tells us a lot about itself and our God.

    In his commentary on Judges, Dale Davis writes, "By telling us so little about Ibzan (and Elon and Abdon) the Bible is saying that its focus is not on man’s life but on God’s action. That does not mean that man does not count but that man is not the center. Even though Gideon, for example, may receive three chapters, the writer’s purpose is not to relate Gideon’s eventful life (not even his problems, struggles, victories, or failures in themselves) but to depict Yahweh’s saving activity. For this reason I question the validity of much biographical preaching and Bible studies billed as character studies of biblical figures. Almost by their very nature, by their chosen starting points, such efforts begin by looking in the wrong direction. It is as if Scripture cries, ‘Behold your God!’ and we reply, ‘Thank you, but we have found something more interesting to us.’ And if a little frustration over Ibzan and associates makes us aware of this danger, they will not have lived in vain.

    Davis, D. R. (2000). Judges: Such a Great Salvation (p. 152). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.

    I pray we all remember our focus should be on God and others – not ourselves. 

    This reminds me of the song The Heart of Worship:

    When the music fades all is stripped away
    And I simply come
    Longing just to bring something that's of worth
    That will bless Your heart

    I'll bring You more than a song
    For a song in itself is not what You have required
    You search much deeper within
    Through the way things appear
    You're looking into my heart

    I'm coming back to the heart of worship
    And it's all about You all about You Jesus
    I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it
    When it's all about You all about You Jesus

    King of endless worth no one could express
    How much You deserve
    Though I'm weak and poor all I have is Yours
    Ev'ry single breath

    CCLI Song # 2296522
    Matt Redman
    © 1999 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
    For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved.
    CCLI License # 11531275

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