Through the Looking Glass: Jephthah and His Daughter Through a Family Systems Lens
The Book of Judges recounts the repeated cycle of Israel's disloyalty to God, Israel's consequences as captives of other nations, and God's deliverance of Israel through the person of a "judge" who would conquer Israel's enemies and lead Israel to becoming, once again, a people loyal to God. In this recurring pattern, Jephthah, identified as both a mighty warrior and the son of a prostitute, is one of Israel's judges. The overarching theme of the book will cause us to miss the nitty gritty and significant details about Jephthah's childhood and family life that made him who he was: his mother is a prostitute, and he eventually ends up living in a home with a stepmother and half-siblings, none of whom are kind to or supportive of him. He eventually falls in with an unsavory lot of men and somewhere along the way he has a family of his own, or at least a daughter who he eventually ends up sacrificing. Through an examination of Judges 11 through a family systems lens, women will discover how Jephthah's family of origin informed how Jephthah thought and how those thoughts informed his behavior and his choices, with devastating and irreparable consequences.