Judicum 11

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1 Fuit illo Jephte Galaadites vir fortissimus atque pugnator, filius mulieris meretricis, qui natus est de Galaad.

2 Habuit autem Galaad uxorem, de qua suscepit filios : qui postquam creverant, ejecerunt Jephte, dicentes : Hæres in domo patris nostri esse non poteris, quia de altera matre natus es.

3 Quos ille fugiens atque devitans, habitavit in terra Tob : congregatique sunt ad eum viri inopes, et latrocinantes, et quasi principem sequebantur.

4 In illis diebus pugnabant filii Ammon contra Israël.

5 Quibus acriter instantibus perrexerunt majores natu de Galaad, ut tollerent in auxilium sui Jephte de terra Tob :

6 dixeruntque ad eum : Veni et esto princeps noster, et pugna contra filios Ammon.

7 Quibus ille respondit : Nonne vos estis, qui odistis me, et ejecistis de domo patris mei, et nunc venistis ad me necessitate compulsi ?

8 Dixeruntque principes Galaad ad Jephte : Ob hanc igitur causam nunc ad te venimus, ut proficiscaris nobiscum, et pugnes contra filios Ammon, sisque dux omnium qui habitant in Galaad.

9 Jephte quoque dixit eis : Si vere venistis ad me, ut pugnem pro vobis contra filios Ammon, tradideritque eos Dominus in manus meas, ego ero vester princeps ?

10 Qui responderunt ei : Dominus, qui hæc audit, ipse mediator ac testis est quod nostra promissa faciemus.

11 Abiit itaque Jephte cum principibus Galaad, fecitque eum omnis populus principem sui. Locutusque est Jephte omnes sermones suos coram Domino in Maspha.

12 Et misit nuntios ad regem filiorum Ammon, qui ex persona sua dicerent : Quid mihi et tibi est, quia venisti contra me, ut vastares terram meam ?

13 Quibus ille respondit : Quia tulit Israël terram meam, quando ascendit de Ægypto, a finibus Arnon usque Jaboc atque Jordanem : nunc ergo cum pace redde mihi eam.

14 Per quos rursum mandavit Jephte, et imperavit eis ut dicerent regi Ammon :

15 Hæc dicit Jephte : Non tulit Israël terram Moab, nec terram filiorum Ammon :

16 sed quando de Ægypto conscenderunt, ambulavit per solitudinem usque ad mare Rubrum, et venit in Cades.

17 Misitque nuntios ad regem Edom, dicens : Dimitte me ut transeam per terram tuam. Qui noluit acquiescere precibus ejus. Misit quoque ad regem Moab, qui et ipse transitum præbere contempsit. Mansit itaque in Cades,

18 et circuivit ex latere terram Edom, et terram Moab : venitque contra orientalem plagam terræ Moab, et castrametatus est trans Arnon : nec voluit intrare terminos Moab : Arnon quippe confinium est terræ Moab.

19 Misit itaque Israël nuntios ad Sehon regem Amorrhæorum, qui habitabat in Hesebon, et dixerunt ei : Dimitte ut transeam per terram tuam usque ad fluvium.

20 Qui et ipse Israël verba despiciens, non dimisit eum transire per terminos suos : sed infinita multitudine congregata, egressus est contra eum in Jasa, et fortiter resistebat.

21 Tradiditque eum Dominus in manus Israël cum omni exercitu suo : qui percussit eum, et possedit omnem terram Amorrhæi habitatoris regionis illius,

22 et universos fines ejus, de Arnon usque Jaboc, et de solitudine usque ad Jordanem.

23 Dominus ergo Deus Israël subvertit Amorrhæum, pugnante contra illum populo suo Israël, et tu nunc vos possidere terram ejus ?

24 nonne ea quæ possidet Chamos deus tuus, tibi jure debentur ? quæ autem Dominus deus noster victor obtinuit, in nostram cedent possessionem :

25 nisi forte melior es Balac filio Sephor rege Moab : aut docere potes, quod jurgatus sit contra Israël, et pugnaverit contra eum,

26 quando habitavit in Hesebon, et viculis ejus, et in Aroër, et villis illius, vel in cunctis civitatibus juxta Jordanem, per trecentos annos. Quare tanto tempore nihil super hac repetitione tentastis ?

27 Igitur non ego pecco in te, sed tu contra me male agis, indicens mihi bella non justa. Judicet Dominus arbiter hujus diei inter Israël, et inter filios Ammon.

28 Noluitque acquiescere rex filiorum Ammon verbis Jephte, quæ per nuntios mandaverat.

29 Factus est ergo super Jephte spiritus Domini, et circuiens Galaad, et Manasse, Maspha quoque Galaad, et inde transiens ad filios Ammon,

30 votum vovit Domino, dicens : Si tradideris filios Ammon in manus meas,

31 quicumque primus fuerit egressus de foribus domus meæ, mihique occurrerit revertenti cum pace a filiis Ammon, eum holocaustum offeram Domino.

32 Transivitque Jephte ad filios Ammon, ut pugnaret contra eos : quos tradidit Dominus in manus ejus.

33 Percussitque ab Aroër usque dum venias in Mennith, viginti civitates, et usque ad Abel, quæ est vineis consita, plaga magna nimis : humiliatique sunt filii Ammon a filiis Israël.

34 Revertente autem Jephte in Maspha domum suam, occurrit ei unigenita filia sua cum tympanis et choris : non enim habebat alios liberos.

35 Qua visa, scidit vestimenta sua, et ait : Heu me, filia mea ! decepisti me, et ipsa decepta es : aperui enim os meum ad Dominum, et aliud facere non potero.

36 Cui illa respondit : Pater mi, si aperuisti os tuum ad Dominum, fac mihi quodcumque pollicitus es, concessa tibi ultione atque victoria de hostibus tuis.

37 Dixitque ad patrem : Hoc solum mihi præsta quod deprecor : dimitte me ut duobus mensibus circumeam montes, et plangam virginitatem meam cum sodalibus meis.

38 Cui ille respondit : Vade. Et dimisit eam duobus mensibus. Cumque abiisset cum sociis ac sodalibus suis, flebat virginitatem suam in montibus.

39 Expletisque duobus mensibus, reversa est ad patrem suum, et fecit ei sicut voverat, quæ ignorabat virum. Exinde mos increbruit in Israël, ut consuetudo servata est :

40 ut post anni circulum conveniant in unum filiæ Israël, et plangant filiam Jephte Galaaditæ diebus quatuor.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Judicum 11      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 11: Jephthah’s victory.

This chapter and most of the next are about the judge Jephthah. He was Gilead’s son by a prostitute, so Gilead’s other sons despised him, and drove him out from his homeland. He fled to the land of Tob, where he lived amongst reckless men. When the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to the land of Tob to ask if Jephthah would lead their army. At first, Jephthah challenged them, and asked why they would come to him for help after expelling him from their county. However, the elders swore by the Lord that they would accept him as their leader, so he agreed to go with them.

Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of Ammon, to ask why his people were attacking Gilead. The king said that Israel had taken away their land, but Jephthah recounted to them the history of Israel’s time in the wilderness, specifically pointing out that they not made war with the nations of Canaan. The only exception was the Amorite king Sihon’s attack on Israel, in which the Israelites defended themselves and defeated the Amorites. So, Jephthah explained that Israel had not taken land from the Ammonites. But the people of Ammon did not listen, and prepared for war.

While preparing his army against the people of Ammon, Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: if He would grant Gilead victory, Jephthah would make a burnt offering of the first thing which came out from his house upon his return home. Battle ensued, and the army of Jephthah utterly defeated Ammon.

When Jephthah returned home, his daughter – his only child – came out of the house to greet him with music and dancing. He tore his clothes in despair, and told her about his vow to the Lord. His daughter told him to keep his word, and asked to be left alone for two months to lament her virginity. Then, when the time came, Jephthah carried out his vow to the Lord.

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Jephthah’s dealings with both the Ammonites and his own family show that serving the Lord leads us to seek peace, not conflict or war. His account of the Israelites’ struggles showed that his people had only defended themselves against other nations, but had not fanned the flames of war. We are to do the work of making peace in our lives, while upholding and defending what is true (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 1683).

The people of Ammon stand for knowing what is true, but then corrupting that truth to live a life based in falsities. For example, if we know the Lord regenerates us, and then tell ourselves that we no longer hold any responsibility for our eternal state, we have falsified the truth. This view completely distorts the truth: the Lord regenerates us as we work to live righteously (see Swedenborg’s work, Sacred Scripture 18[3]).

The spiritual meaning of a ‘daughter’ is an affection for spiritual truths and the life they offer. Affection is the offspring of feeling delight in truths; as we develop these affections, we learn to recognize that they come from the Lord, for he is the source of all good things (Arcana Caelestia 3336[2]).

Jephthah’s daughter was his deepest love, his greatest affection. She was a virgin, representing the spiritual qualities of purity and innocence. Her request for two months of solitude can be understood as our need to reflect during any giving to the Lord, to be sure that our intentions are pure, without any selfish expectations (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 121).

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