Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read that after the death of Gideon, his son, Abimelech, sets himself up as the next king. Then we go into a cycle with the people of Israel where the Lord will bless them, they turn away to worship other gods, tradegy happens, they repent to God and turn back, he helps them and they are restored.
Jepthah, one of Gilead’s sons, is rejected by his family and becomes a mighty warrior. Jephthah knows that God prohibits human sacrifice but he still makes a rash vow to the Lord. He promises that if God gives him victory he will sacrifice to the Lord whoever comes out of the house when he comes back home. Heros of the Bible can be good and strong but can also be foolish. This vow is a great example of what to avoid. We should make wise promises to the Lord. God does not desire the death of the living but that all might have the fullness of life.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 Abimelech son of Jerubbaal confronted his mother’s brothers at Shechem and, to them and to the whole clan of his maternal grandfather’s family, he said,
2 ‘Please put this question to the leading men of Shechem: Which is better for you: to be ruled by seventy people — all Jerubbaal’s sons — or to be ruled by one? Remember too that I am your own flesh and bone.’
4 So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and with this Abimelech paid violent adventurers to follow him.
5 He then went to his father’s house at Ophrah and put his brothers, Jerubbaal’s seventy sons, to death on one and the same stone. Jotham, however, Jerubbaal’s youngest son, escaped by going into hiding.
7 News of this was brought to Jotham. He went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted at the top of his voice: Hear me, leaders of Shechem, so that God may also hear you!
9 The olive tree replied, ‘Must I forgo my oil which gives honour to gods and men, to stand and sway over the trees?’
15 And the thorn bush replied to the trees, ‘If you are anointing me in good faith to be your king, come and shelter in my shade. But, if not, fire will come out of the thorn bush and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’
17 my father having fought for you, risked his life and rescued you from the power of Midian,
18 and you today having risen up against my father’s family, murdered his sons — seventy of them on one and the same stone — and appointed Abimelech, his slave-girl’s son, to rule the leading men of Shechem, because he is your brother!-
23 God then sent a spirit of discord between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem betrayed Abimelech.
24 And this was so that the crime committed against Jerubbaal’s seventy sons should be avenged, and their blood recoil on their brother Abimelech who had murdered them, and on those leaders of Shechem who had helped him to murder his brothers.
27 These went out into the countryside to harvest their vineyards; they trod the grapes and made merry and went into the temple of their god. They ate and drank there and cursed Abimelech.
28 Gaal son of Obed said, ‘Who is Abimelech, and what is Shechem, for us to be his slaves? Should not Jerubbaal’s son and his lieutenant, Zebul, be serving the men of Hamor, father of Shechem? Why should we be his slaves?
29 Who will put this people under my command, so that I can expel Abimelech? I should say to him, “Reinforce your army and come out!” ‘
48 he went up Mount Zalmon with all his men. Then taking an axe in his hands, he cut off the branch of a tree, picked it up and put it on his shoulder, and said to the men with him, ‘Hurry and do what you have seen me do.’
49 Each of his men similarly cut off a branch; then, following Abimelech, they piled the branches over the crypt and set it on fire over those who were inside; so that all the people in Migdal-Shechem died too, about a thousand men and women.
51 In the middle of the town there was a fortified tower in which all the men and women and all the leading men of the town took refuge. They locked the door behind them and climbed up to the roof of the tower.
53 a woman threw down a millstone on his head and cracked his skull.
1 After Abimelech, Tola son of Puah, son of Dodo, rose to deliver Israel. He belonged to Issachar and lived at Shamir in the mountain country of Ephraim.
6 The Israelites again began doing what is evil in Yahweh’s eyes. They served Baal and Astarte, and the gods of Aram and Sidon, the gods of Moab and those of the Ammonites and Philistines. They deserted Yahweh and served him no more.
14 Go and cry to the gods whom you have chosen. Let them rescue you in your time of trouble.’
15 The Israelites replied to Yahweh, ‘We have sinned. Treat us as you see fit, but please rescue us today.’
18 The people, the chieftains of Gilead, then said to one another, ‘Who will volunteer to attack the Ammonites? He shall be chief of all who live in Gilead!’
1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior. He was a prostitute’s son. Gilead was Jephthah’s father,
5 And when the Ammonites had attacked Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah from the territory of Tob.
8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, ‘That is why we are turning to you now. Come with us; fight the Ammonites and be our chief, chief of all the people living in Gilead.’
10 And the elders of Gilead then said to Jephthah, ‘Yahweh be witness between us, if we do not do as you have said!’
13 The king of the Ammonites replied to Jephthah’s messengers, ‘The reason is that when Israel came up from Egypt, they seized my country from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; so now restore it to me peacefully.’
16 When Israel came out of Egypt, they marched through the desert as far as the Sea of Reeds and, having reached Kadesh,
17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom to say: Please let me pass through your country, but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent similarly to the king of Moab, but he refused, and Israel remained at Kadesh;
18 later, moving on through the desert and skirting the countries of Edom and Moab until arriving to the east of Moabite territory, the people camped on the other side of the Arnon but did not enter Moabite territory, the Arnon being the Moabite frontier.
21 Yahweh, God of Israel, delivered Sihon and his whole army into the power of Israel, who defeated them; as the result of which, Israel took possession of the entire territory of the Amorites living in that region.
22 Israel took possession of all the Amorite territory from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.
23 And now that Yahweh, God of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites before his people Israel, do you think you can dispossess us?
24 Will you not keep as your possession whatever Chemosh, your god, has given you? And, just the same, we shall keep as ours whatever Yahweh our God has given us, to inherit from those who were before us!
26 When Israel settled in Heshbon and its dependencies, and in Aroer and its dependencies, or in any of the towns on the banks of the Arnon (three hundred years ago), why did you not recover them then?
28 But the king of the Ammonites took no notice of the message that Jephthah sent him.
30 And Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh, ‘If you deliver the Ammonites into my grasp,
32 Jephthah crossed into Ammonite territory to attack them, and Yahweh delivered them into his grasp.
33 He beat them from Aroer to the border of Minnith (twenty towns) and to Abel-Keramim. It was a very severe defeat, and the Ammonites were humbled by the Israelites.
34 As Jephthah returned to his house at Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, dancing to the sound of tambourines. She was his only child; apart from her, he had neither son nor daughter.
35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and exclaimed, ‘Oh my daughter, what misery you have brought upon me! You have joined those who bring misery into my life! I have made a promise before Yahweh which I cannot retract.’
36 She replied, ‘Father, you have made a promise to Yahweh; treat me as the promise that you have made requires, since Yahweh has granted you vengeance on your enemies the Ammonites.’
38 He replied, ‘Go,’ and let her go away for two months. So she went away with her companions and bewailed her virginity in the mountains.
1 Boaz, meanwhile, had gone up to the gate and sat down, and the relative of whom he had spoken then came by. Boaz said to him, ‘Here, my friend, come and sit down’; the man came and sat down.
4 I thought I should tell you about this and say, “Acquire it in the presence of the men who are sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to use your right of redemption, redeem it; if you do not, tell me so that I know, for I am the only person to redeem it besides yourself, and I myself come after you.”‘
6 The man with the right of redemption then said, ‘I cannot use my right of redemption without jeopardising my own inheritance. Since I cannot use my right of redemption, exercise the right yourself.’
7 Now, in former times, it was the custom in Israel to confirm a transaction in matters of redemption or inheritance by one of the parties taking off his sandal and giving it to the other. This was how agreements were ratified in Israel.
9 Boaz then said to the elders and all the people there, ‘Today you are witnesses that from Naomi I acquire everything that used to belong to Elimelech, and everything that used to belong to Mahlon and Chilion
10 and that I am also acquiring Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, to be my wife, to perpetuate the dead man’s name in his inheritance, so that the dead man’s name will not be lost among his brothers and at the gate of his town. Today you are witnesses to this.’
11 All the people at the gate said, ‘We are witnesses’; and the elders said, ‘May Yahweh make the woman about to enter your family like Rachel and Leah who together built up the House of Israel. Grow mighty in Ephrathah, be renowned in Bethlehem!
14 And the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be Yahweh who has not left you today without anyone to redeem you. May his name be praised in Israel!
15 The child will be a comfort to you and the prop of your old age, for he has been born to the daughter-in-law who loves you and is more to you than seven sons.’
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept at the memory of Zion.
4 How could we sing a song of Yahweh on alien soil?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand wither!
6 May my tongue remain stuck to my palate if I do not keep you in mind, if I do not count Jerusalem the greatest of my joys.
8 Daughter of Babel, doomed to destruction, a blessing on anyone who treats you as you treated us,
9 a blessing on anyone who seizes your babies and shatters them against a rock!