In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Chukat covering Judges 11:1-33. Gordon and Johnson draw parallels between events in this portion and current diplomatic strategies over the land of Israel. For a clearer understanding of Jephthah, the exiled son of a prostitute who brings deliverance to Israel, Gordon provides a summary of the history, religions, and geography of the Ammonites and Moabites. This portion provides an example of properly translating “malach”—where only context determines if it’s “angel” or “messenger.” Gordon and Johnson point out the striking word play found with the word-of-the-week yihyeh “he will be” (yud-hei-yud-hei). Gordon reads from Deuteronomy concerning the seriousness of vowing to Yehovah and provides rabbinical interpretations of Jephthah’s tragic vow.
Gordon closes by offering Jephthah as a good example of how to talk to pagans—by finding common ground and speaking with empathy. He also notes the power and peace that can be found during conflicts by praying Jephthah’s closing words to the king of the Ammonites, “The Lord, the Judge, decide this day between [us].”
"...we will hold on to everything that Yehovah our God has given us to possess." Judges 11:24
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The Original Torah Pearls - Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)