Day 92: Jephthah's Vow

Judges 9:1-57 Following the death of Gideon, the Israelites turned again to the worship of idols. Abimelech, the ambitious son of Gideon, had himself elected “king” and soon began killing ALL WHO OPPOSED HIM. During his three-year reign, he destroyed Shechem and killed all the people. He himself, however, was killed by a woman as he tried to attack the neighboring city of Thebez. The moral of this episode is that God can put into action his plan of salvation IN SPITE OF the poor or even negative response of his presumed servants. (CCC 306, 312)

Ch 10:1-18 Another unlikely judge, Jephthah, emerged while the nomadic Ammonites were oppressing the people of Transjordan. As always, the affliction imparted on the Israelites by a foreign nation was on account of the Israelites’ infidelity. We have sinned against you: The people acknowledged that they had broken communion with God. (CCC 1440)

Ch 11:1-16 Jephthah tried to defeat the Ammonites before securing divine assistance. He made a reckless vow to God, which resulted in offering his own daughter in sacrifice. The story conveys the lesson that vows are serious promises, which must not be made lightly. It was wrong to make this kind of vow  since it involved a morally evil act; a vow that involves carrying out an evil act is not binding in conscience. (CCC 1202)

Ruth 4:1-22 Boaz met with the next of kin in the presence of the elders. The kinsman declined to exercise his right, so it fell to Boaz to redeem Naomi’s property and to take Ruth as his wife. Boaz and Ruth married, and Ruth became a full member of the people of Israel. She, like Deborah, ranks among the heroic women included in the Old Testament. From her direct genealogical line will come DAVID, KING OF ISRAEL, and, ultimately, JESUS, the Messiah and Son of God. (CCC 489)

Psalm 137 The mournful lament over the Babylonian Exile is coupled with somber hope of an eventual return to Zion, to Jerusalem. Music and song disappeared on account of this exile; songs meant for Temple worship could not be played for the enjoyment of their captors. Nonetheless, there were some citizens of Babylon, wrote St. Augustine, who were not believers but had a beginning spark of faith in the God of Israel that went beyond their comprehension. The ancient Babylonians as well as the people of all times will eventually encounter the fullness of faith as a consequence of their good and sincere quest for the truth. It is incumbent upon every Christian-just as was the case with the Jews in exile, who lived with an intense yearning for their home in Jerusalem-that they fervently desire their definitive home in the eternal Jerusalem in the Kingdom of Heaven. The witness and good example of the followers of Christ is the most effective way to move a nonbeliever to recognize and admit the veracity of the Gospel. (Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, November 30, 2005)

The Jews could never forget Jerusalem since it represented their history and God’s special predilection for them. The covenant made with the Chosen People through Moses had Jerusalem with the Temple as its most visible expression. Analogously, the Temple of the New Covenant is CHRIST and the holy city is HEAVEN ITSELF. (CCC 163, 229, 1680, 1827, 2020)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we give you praise and glory. We give you honor and we just declare our love for you and our gratitude for who you are and all you have given to us this day, and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”