Jephthah’s Military Strategy

As far as leadership traits are concerned, Nehemiah was not that different from outstanding people whose names are far more familiar to us. Our nation’s twenty-sixth president, for example, was a hard-charging leader. Throughout his days in office Theodore Roosevelt was either ha … More


Few leaders in the old Testament show more intelligence as a leader than Jephthah. His military strategy was comparable to that of Gideon and David. He knew the history of the tribes and the details of their lives during the Exodus and their invasion of Amorite.

Jephthah led the Israelites into the desert, going east of Edom and Moab, and set up camp on the eastern side of the Arnon River gorge (v. 18). He then sent messengers to the Amorite king asking permission to go through his country to get to the Israelites own land (v. 19). Instead of giving them permission the king called his army together and they attacked the Israelites (v. 20). But God helped Israel defeat the kings army and they took over the Amorite land (vv. 21-22). Jephthah told the king of Ammon that the LORD God of Israel had helped his nation get rid of the Amorites and take their land. Now, how do you think you’re going to take over that same territory (v. 23)? If it was your god (Chemosh) who had given you the land do you think you would have a right to it (v. 24)? The same is true with us. Balak, who was king of Moab didn’t quarrel with us or start a war (v. 25).

For over 300 years Ammon had not tried to recover the land she now claimed that Israel had illegally taken it (v.26). Jephthah concluded that right was on his side and that God would be the judge (v. 27). However the Ammonite king was completely unimpressed by Jephthah’s reasoning. He would not listen to logic but instead was determined to conquer (v.28).


It is easy to think certain things are rightfully mine and even get involved in a verbal battle concerning it. It is much easier in life to turn over everything to the Lord because everything I have is rightfully His. He can take much better care of it than I can and it will save me lots of worry and anxiety.

Judges 11:18-28 (English Standard Version)

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