He left His Father’s throne above

Judges 11:34-40 “Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.” And she said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord; do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” So she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.” So he said, “Go.” Then he sent her away for two months, and she departed, she and her companions, and wept for her virginity on the mountains. And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.”

In an earlier post, I shared the account of Jephthah’s tragic vow which resulted in the death of his only child, a daughter. Today, let’s look at this same subject a little more.  This is a story about the vow that the judge Jephthah had made to God that the first thing that came out of the door of his house after his victory over Israel’s enemies, the Ammonites, he would dedicate as a burnt offering to God. Unwittingly, his only child was the one who came out to him. We are told that she came out “with tambourines and dances” rejoicing over her father’s victory.  However, if she had known what would transpire because she came out that door it is almost certain that she would not have come out, for this one act meant her certain death.  And then we are told that Jephthah’s daughter was a virgin, and a second outcome of Jephthah’s vow was that she would never marry.  As a result, her joy was turned to great sorrow, and she and her companions went into the mountains to mourn for the two months leading up to her death. 

There are some wonderful contrasts and comparisons here between Jephthah, Israel’s savior at that time, and his daughter, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and His One and only Son.  You see, just as Jephthah’s daughter left her father’s house, which led to her certain death, so Jesus left His Father’s house in heaven to come to the earth to face a certain death.  However, while Jephthah’s daughter came out of the house unwittingly as to the ramifications of what she had just done, Jesus came willingly, fully aware of what it all meant to Him.  As Charles Wesley put it in the third verse of his classic hymn, “And Can it be that I Should Gain,”

“He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.”

And while Jephthah’s daughter came out of her father’s house with unwitting rejoicing, we know that there was also rejoicing, but knowledgeable rejoicing, as Jesus came to earth from His Father’s throne.  We read in Luke 2:13-14 about shepherds keeping watch over the flocks by night near Bethlehem. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 

Then note the fact that it was because of Jephthah’s sacrifice of his only child that she would never become a bride. It was a cause for great mourning for her and her companions.  What a great contrast this is with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It was because of His death, and only because of it, that He would obtain a bride, for the church is referred to throughout Scripture as the bride of Christ.  Rather than perpetual sorrow because of the death of an only child, as in the case of Jephthah’s daughter, there is cause for perpetual rejoicing because of the death of God’s only begotten son.  It was for the joy that was set before Him that Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2), and we know that there is coming a great time of rejoicing in heaven one day as the church is gathered together at the great marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7). 

What an awesome thing is the wonder of Jesus’ condescension as He left His Father’s house above to obtain for himself a bride. And someday soon He is coming again to take that bride to the Father’s house, so that where He now is we can also be for all eternity (John 14:3).  Praise be to His glorious name!


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