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It came to pass after a time that the (A)people of Ammon made war against Israel. And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. Then they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon.”

So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, (B)“Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in [a]distress?”

(C)And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have (D)turned[b] again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be (E)our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?”

10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, (F)“The Lord will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.” 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him (G)head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words (H)before the Lord in Mizpah.

12 Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, saying, (I)“What do you have against me, that you have come to fight against me in my land?”

13 And the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, (J)“Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from (K)the Arnon as far as (L)the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably.”

14 So Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, 15 and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: (M)‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon; 16 for when Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness as far as the Red Sea and (N)came to Kadesh. 17 Then (O)Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let me pass through your land.” (P)But the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the (Q)king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel (R)remained in Kadesh. 18 And they (S)went along through the wilderness and (T)bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19 Then (U)Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, “Please (V)let us pass through your land into our place.” 20 (W)But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together, encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21 And the Lord God of Israel (X)delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they (Y)defeated[c] them. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22 They took possession of (Z)all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan.

23 ‘And now the Lord God of Israel has [d]dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it? 24 Will you not possess whatever (AA)Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever (AB)the Lord our God takes possession of before us, we will possess. 25 And now, are you any better than (AC)Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel? Did he ever fight against them? 26 While Israel dwelt in (AD)Heshbon and its villages, in (AE)Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? 27 Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the Lord, (AF)the Judge, (AG)render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.’ ” 28 However, the king of the people of Ammon did not heed the words which Jephthah sent him.

Jephthah’s Vow and Victory

29 Then (AH)the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon. 30 And Jephthah (AI)made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, 31 then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, (AJ)shall surely be the Lord’s, (AK)and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”

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Footnotes

  1. Judges 11:7 trouble
  2. Judges 11:8 returned
  3. Judges 11:21 Lit. struck
  4. Judges 11:23 driven out

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