Jephthah: The Leader Who Suffered Rejection

Jephthah was a leader who suffered rejection because of circumstances surrounding his birth. He was one of the judges of Israel and the Bible described him thus, “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, but he was the son of a harlot.” He had great potential to lead because he was a mighty man of valour but that potential was overlooked because of his background as the son of a harlot.
Jephthah was an illegitimate child born to his father by a harlot and although he was his father’s first son, when the sons born by his father’s wife grew up, they drove him away because as an illegitimate child he was not entitled to an inheritance. As a first son Jephthah should have been a leader in his father’s house by reason of his birth position but he lost that leadership position because he was born by a harlot. He ran away from his half-brothers and went to live in the land of Tob. It wasn’t long before worthless men gathered themselves to him and he became the leader of a small army that went out raiding with him.
Then the time came when the children of Israel were in distress because the people of Ammon made war with them and the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob so he would be their commander and lead them into battle against the people of Ammon. Although Jephthah wasted no time reminding them of their earlier rejection of him he eventually agreed to go back with them and fight against the people of Ammon, on the condition that they would make him their head. The elders agreed so Jephthah went with them and the Bible records, “and the people made him head and commander over them.”
Nothing had changed about Jephthah, he was still the son of a harlot, his birth circumstances had not improved, and the issue that disqualified him from being a leader even in his father’s house was still present in his life. Why then did the people make him their head and commander? The reason is simple; when the chips are down, people want a leader who knows the way. The children of Israel were faced with the people of Ammon and they had no clue how to handle the situation; the very reason they were distressed to begin with. They had no knowledge of war and war strategies and as such they were no match for the enemy; at that point they required a leader who had sufficient knowledge about war strategies and could go out against the enemy and win the battle. Remember that the primary reason the elders approached Jephthah was because they wanted him to lead them into battle. It was obvious they had to go to battle and even more obvious that since they knew nothing about war matters they would need a leader who knew. Jephthah was that leader; he was a mighty man of valour, he was skilled in the art of battle and knowledgeable in war matters. Jephthah’s knowledge qualified him to lead them and bring them out of their distress; because of this it became irrelevant that his mother was a harlot and that he was an illegitimate child of his father.
A leader’s ability to lead is really what matters to the people; when the chips are down, the people will overlook the leader’s background if he possesses the qualities required to lead them forward.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

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