Jephthah Previews Christ

Brian Kuehmichel
December 4, 2015



"And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe." (1 Samuel 12:11)

"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." (Heb 11:32-34)


Jephthah had a singular life. He was born into a family through his father's sin of adultery. He endured rejection from that family yet held onto faith in God. He trusted both in the word of God and in the blessing of God to those who obey Him. His character and conduct was such that, in spite of past mistreatment by his brothers, he could be approached and asked to aid them in their hour of need. He was forgiving and even willing to help his brothers, their families and former community. He went out to battle with courage believing God's promise to drive out those who would seek to occupy the promised land given to Israel. He loved God enough to honor and obey Him and to teach his family to do the same. His love for God is also shown by his famous vow and its fulfilment. [See: Jephthah's Vow and His Daughter] For his abiding faith in God, forgiving character, unwavering courage in battle, passing on a strong belief in God and His word, and keeping his promise he is declared "a mighty man of valour." This explains why he is included in the list of heroes in Hebrews chapter eleven and God makes him a type of Christ.


Jephthah previews some of the circumstances of the life of Christ Jesus.

16 Comparisons Between Jephthah and Christ Jesus
Item:JephthahChrist
Jephthah's background — portrays Jesus.

son of an harlot
"Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah." (Jud 11:1)See Jesus' lineage that comes through Rahab: Prepares lineage for Savior

rejected, thrust out
"And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. ... And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?" (Jud 11:2, 7)"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isa 53:3); "And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him." (Luke 7:29-30); "Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner." (Luke 7:39); "And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." (Luke 15:2); "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? ... Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." (John 12:36-38, 42); "And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine." (Mark 11:18); "And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him." (Luke 24:19-20)

fled, escaped
"Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him." (Jud 11:3)"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him." (John 7:1); "Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." (John 8:59); "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them." (John 12:36); "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode." (John 10:37-40)

gathered men around him
"Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him." (Jud 11:3)"And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" (Matt 9:10-11) [See: The Apostles Of Jesus Christ, Notable Disciples Of Jesus Christ In The Gospels, The Named Disciples Of Jesus Christ and Notable Disciples Of Jesus Christ In The Epistles]

willing to help those in need
"And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The Lord be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words." (Jud 11:6-10)"And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean." (Mark 1:41); "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." (Matt 9:36); "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat." (Matt 14:14-16); "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things." (Mark 6:34); "But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all." (Matt 12:15); "And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there." (Matt 19:2); "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." (Acts 10:38)
Jephthah's status — portrays Jesus.

made captain
"And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. ... And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. ... Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh." (Jud 11:6, 8, 11)"And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan." (Matt 4:25); "When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him." (Matt 8:1); "But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all." (Matt 12:15); "And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there." (Matt 19:2); "And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles." (Luke 6:13); "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come." (Luke 10:1); "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am." (John 13:13); "And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him." (Matt 27:55); "Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem." (Mark 15:41); et cetera; "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Heb 2:10); ["Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." (Heb 13:13)]
Jephthah's use of scripture — portrays Jesus.

used scripture to establish truth
" And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon: But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh; Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh. Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab. And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place. But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan." (Jud 11:15-22)"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. ... Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. ... Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matt 4:4, 7, 10); "For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." (Matt 11:10); "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." (Mark 10:6); "And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Mark 11:17); "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:27); "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:45); et cetera
Jephthah's appeal to righteous judgment — portrays Jesus.

appealed to righteous judgment
"And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them, While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time?" (Jud 11:15-22, 25-26)"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24)

denied sin
"Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the Lord the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon." (Jud 11:27)"Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?" (John 8:46)
Jephthah's being moved by the Spirit — portrays Jesus.

Spirit of the Lord came upon them
"Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah ..." (Jud 11:29)"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." (Matt 3:16); "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him" (Mark 1:10); "And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him." (John 1:32)

Spirit directed to a certain place
"Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon." (Jud 11:29)"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Matt 4:1)
Jephthah's devotion — portrays Jesus.

spoke to God
"And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering." (Jud 11:30-31) [See: Jephthah's Vow and His Daughter][See 34 times: The Lord Jesus Prays]

passed on his love for God
"And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man." (Jud 11:36-39)"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." (Luke 11:1); "And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them." (John 8:2); "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." (John 14:1); "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him." (Acts 5:29-32); "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." (1 Pet 1:18-21)
Jephthah's victories — portrays Jesus.

victory in battle
"So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel." (Jud 11:32-33)"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." (Matt 4:1-11); "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 15:57) [See: fulfilled his promise]

fulfilled his promise
"And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man." (Jud 11:39)"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Isa 6:8); "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45); "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." (John 12:27); "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." (John 18:37); "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30)

a mighty man of valour
"Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour." (Jud 11:1a)"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45); "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8); "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Gal 1:3-5); "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20); "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Eph 5:25); "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim 2:6); "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." (1 Thes 5:10); "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14)
and perhaps more ...
"Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour ..." (Jud 11:1)