this is the story of Samson. Of major interest here are the differences between Japhthath’s birth. Japhthath was a son of a harlot and had to fight for respectibility. Samson was born in an Agawam and Sarah typy of circumstance where an angel of the Lord came to her and told her how she should comport herself. She was told, just like the young women of today, that that should not drink wine or eat any unclean food to preserve the child. Samson would not cut his hair and would be like a Nazerite to the Lord. There were some interesting back and forth about the wife Samsung wanted to take because she was a Philistine. But the Lord told his parents he was leading him by using the Philistine woman. Then there were some strange happenings where the father of the girl gave his daughter to Samaon’s companion and wanted to give Samson his younger daughter Ala Jacob and Laban. There are just lots of parallels here to make Samson to be a real patriarch of the people In the fashion of Abraham or Jacob. Of rse we can’t forget Samson killing a thousand Philistine withthejawboneof an ass, and then getting a sweet drink from thejawbone. Also we must remember hi killing the lion and the bees and honey appearing in it.these were astrangesetofcircumstancesal,planned to show him to be a strong leader.
Mark asked professors at Wartburg Seminary how to sum up Judges. They said look at the last verse. In the last verse, it says in those days there was no king and everyone did what they felt was right. AL brought up the Luke passage that mentioned broiled fish and thought that sounded terrible. This was a description of the battles of Jephthah who was a sort of hired gun. Jephthah vowed to God if he would give him the victory he would kill the first being that came out to meet him. Jephthah’s daughter was the first to meet him. She asked for a 2 month reprieve to mourn her virginity with her girl friends. It then became a tradition for girls have a 4 day commemoration of Jephthah each year. Human sacrifice was not part of the Israelite tradition and some commentaries say Jephthah kept his daughter in isolation, maybe she was the first nun. Despite it being against God’s will to do human sacrifice, God appeared to agree with the promise and gave Jephthah the victory. Afterwards, the people of Ephraim said Jephthah should have included them, but Jephthah said he tried and there was no response, so he ended up killing 42,000 soldiers from Ephraim when they came to get him. It is interesting that Jephthah had just one daughter, but the judges who came after him had 20-60 sons and daughters and they all rode donkeys. It must have been a status symbol of some kind.
Is there a meaning to the numbers used in this text. Mark suggested that there is a martyrdom of the Christians in the near east and east. Possibility it is a martyrdom of the western world.
Communication is much better today and it makes it easier to broadcast minority opinions and terrorist attacks and others join in the fight because of insults and affront from others. Do we want vengeance today just like the terrorists do.
Chuck is going home from the hospital this week. Gideon had died and immediately the people turned to Baal. ( Ch. 8) what a graphic story!! Gideon had 70 children because he had many wives. Jerubbaal (who was Gideon) had expected that his sons who numbered 70 would rule after him, However, Abimelech went to the people of Shechem and said, “Would you rather be ruled by the 70 sons of Gideon or by me since Gideon was my father as well Abimelech was a servant’s son and seems to be a strange choice to succeed Gideon. The USA has not had a tradition of beheading like France and England and the middle east. Milling grain was woman’s work and thus a woman could handle a millstone. Even though Abimelech had his aide kill him it is still the case 3200 years later we still read he was killed by a woman. But at the end it is credited to God to rout the evil. The whole parable of the trees may illustrate the Peter principle and the leader becomes unproductive. We had a discussion about church mergers and the differences in culture between them. Here is the way that Abimelech consolidated power. Frank talked about a program on Iowa culture on Iowa public radio. In this chapter a man seized power, tried to exercise power, failed and god requited the people as evil. Why did the author attribute the saving of the people to God? Mark said when he has made mistakes and hurt people, he throws himself on grace rather than on the sword. It allows us to live with ourselves and our mistakes. The struggle is with how much of our history of the church is really part of our history. We continue to struggle with the relevance of stories like these as being part of our heritage in some way.
The life and battles of Gideon. What about the dream that foretold Gideon’s victory. It is always interesting how dreams get interpreted. Why fight with 300 against the masses of the Midianites. It seems quit improbable but the story is intended to show the might of God. Your disobedience doesn’t make God unfaithful. There is a lot of friendly fire among the Midianites and the camels stampede to defeat them. Camels tend to be nasty beasts anyway, and don’t make good pets. I can see them rebelling against their bosses. The Midianites were a roaming people who were marauders and roamed in the area, so Gideon was protecting the ag interests in the area. Even the people who drink like dogs were those selected to defeat the Midionites. Or maybe the people who lapped like doges were keeping an eye out for the enemy while they were drinking. Thus they were more vigilant and thus were the better soldiers. The tribal system served to separate the people and they tended to not communicate with each other. Tom told about people in NE Russia who counted their wealth in reindeer but couldn’t eat them or use them as well. In chapter 8 Gideon tries to get help from other Jewish tribes people and were refused so Gideon promised retribution. He then killed the people of Penuel and slew the men of the city. Chuck is doing better.