Jephthah was born by an adulterous relationship between his father and a harlot. His family rejected him and he became a vagabond of sorts. There were several other men like him that banded together and followed him in Tob. Israel came under attack by the Ammonites and needed a strong leader. They turned to Jephthah. He had obviously proven himself in the land of Tob, and now his home country needed him.
Upon agreeing to help, Jephthah made a rash vow before the Lord. He said that, if the Lord would deliver the Ammonites into his hand, he would offer up to the Lord the first thing that met him upon his return from victory. He fulfilled that promise on his only child, a daughter. But his true act of faith was in how he gained the victory over the Ammonites.
He was moved by the Spirit of God and gave a proper historical account as to why the Israelites should be inhabitants of the land that the Ammonites claimed. The king of the Ammonites would not listen to reason and ended up in defeat by the leadership of Jephthah.
Two main points should be gleaned from this example. The first is that it does not matter where you come from or how great your status is in society. God can and does use the outcast of the world in powerful ways. Secondly, when we feel the Lord leading and helping us, we should not make rash vows but simply trust that the Lord will deliver on His promises.
- To break an oath or take a life? (faithfuldailyread.wordpress.com)