All tagged old testament

This is a hard text. Jephthah was an illegitimate child of Gilead, and ostracised from his family and lived away from the people. But he was a valiant warrior, and Israel was in trouble. So the elders of Gilead went to Jephthah and asked him to lead them. He does so reluctantly, and leads Israel into battle against the Ammonites who were coming against them. Going into battle, he makes a vow to God that if he has victory and returns safely home the first thing that comes out of his house he will consecrate to God and make of it a burnt offering. [...]

Deborah; Gideon; Samson; and Jephthah next week: the stories of the judges of pre-monarchic Israel are tales of sex and death, violence and debauchery. The judges themselves are morally ambiguous and not irregularly foolish, which is putting things kindly in some cases. Delilah is, of course, not a judge. It is not clear what she is, except to say that without her, Samson would hardly have a story. She is unmistakably the active participant in their relationship, driving the narrative forward with admittedly gender stereotyped activities [...]

In comparison with the other Old Testament Judges, it’s easy not to take Samson very seriously. He is no military leader and hardly a willing deliverer of Israel. Instead he is a brawny, brawling, amoral adventurer. A swaggering, audacious Lothario with a penchant for Philistine women. [...]

Which of you, intending to build an out-house, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Well, of course. Prudence is a very British virtue. And which of you, if you were sent down to a riverbank to drink, wouldn’t kneel, and make a cup of your hands, and lift them to your mouth? Well, of course. Decorum is a very British thing, too. [...]

The Book of Judges describes a period long in Israel’s past, which acts as a bridge between the narratives of Exodus and the conquest and settlement of Canaan on the one hand, and the history of the monarchies of ancient Israel and Judah on the other. There are twelve characters in the book who, we are told, judged Israel, most of whose names we would not now recall, but a few of whom – Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah – live more easily in our memories because of the stories and songs associated with them. [...]