Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble for me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord and I cannot take back my vow." Judges 11: 34-35 NRSV
Have you ever had an acquaintance that always blamed others for the bad things that happened in their life? In other words, it never was because of something they did - it was always the fault of someone else. If they tripped and fell, it was because the other person looked at them in such a way; or if they were late it was because you told them to take their time; or if they made a mistake on their report it was because the co-worker didn't explain it thoroughly. You know the type of person I am talking about. And if you have a child between the ages of 3 and 10, you may have heard this type of reasoning in your household.
Jephthah is such a person.
He is the one who made the vow yet he blames his daughter for being the first one to come out and celebrating his victory over the Ammonites! It isn't her fault that she came out of the house first. She is happy for him, singing and dancing over his victory! Yet, he tries to put the responsibility on her rather than on himself for doing such a foolish thing.
I think if he was seriously upset about this, he would find a way out - some way to make restitution to God. Instead, he tries to put all the responsibility on her rather than on himself.
Makes me wonder what his leadership is going to be like over the Israelites.
God, help us not to blame others for our own mistakes. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Question of the day: Is there something you said recently that you wish you could take back? Can you make restitution for it instead?
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims