Judges 11:1-28 Good News Translation (GNT)
11 Jephthah, a brave soldier from Gilead, was the son of a prostitute. His father Gilead 2 had other sons by his wife, and when they grew up, they forced Jephthah to leave home. They told him, “You will not inherit anything from our father; you are the son of another woman.” 3 Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. There he attracted a group of worthless men, and they went around with him.
4 It was some time later that the Ammonites went to war against Israel. 5 When this happened, the leaders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah back from the land of Tob. 6 They told him, “Come and lead us, so that we can fight the Ammonites.”
7 But Jephthah answered, “You hated me so much that you forced me to leave my father's house. Why come to me now that you're in trouble?”
8 They said to Jephthah, “We are turning to you now because we want you to go with us and fight the Ammonites and lead all the people of Gilead.”
9 Jephthah said to them, “If you take me back home to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives me victory, I will be your ruler.”
10 They replied, “We agree. The Lord is our witness.” 11 So Jephthah went with the leaders of Gilead, and the people made him their ruler and leader. Jephthah stated his terms at Mizpah in the presence of the Lord.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of Ammon to say, “What is your quarrel with us? Why have you invaded our country?”
13 The king of Ammon answered Jephthah's messengers, “When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River and the Jordan River. Now you must give it back peacefully.”
14 Jephthah sent messengers back to the king of Ammon 15 with this answer: “It is not true that Israel took away the land of Moab or the land of Ammon. 16 This is what happened: when the Israelites left Egypt, they went through the desert to the Gulf of Aqaba and came to Kadesh. 17 Then they sent messengers to the king of Edom to ask permission to go through his land. But the king of Edom would not let them. They also asked the king of Moab, but neither would he let them go through his land. So the Israelites stayed at Kadesh. 18 Then they went on through the desert, going around the land of Edom and the land of Moab until they came to the east side of Moab, on the other side of the Arnon River. They camped there, but they did not cross the Arnon because it was the boundary of Moab. 19 Then the Israelites sent messengers to Sihon, the Amorite king of Heshbon, and asked him for permission to go through his country to their own land. 20 But Sihon would not let Israel do it. He brought his whole army together, camped at Jahaz, and attacked Israel. 21 But the Lord, the God of Israel, gave the Israelites victory over Sihon and his army. So the Israelites took possession of all the territory of the Amorites who lived in that country. 22 They occupied all the Amorite territory from the Arnon in the south to the Jabbok in the north and from the desert on the east to the Jordan on the west. 23 So it was the Lord, the God of Israel, who drove out the Amorites for his people, the Israelites. 24 Are you going to try to take it back? You can keep whatever your god Chemosh has given you. But we are going to keep everything that the Lord, our God, has taken for us. 25 Do you think you are any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? He never challenged Israel, did he? Did he ever go to war against us? 26 For three hundred years Israel has occupied Heshbon and Aroer, and the towns around them, and all the cities on the banks of the Arnon River. Why haven't you taken them back in all this time? 27 No, I have not done you any wrong. You are doing wrong by making war on me. The Lord is the judge. He will decide today between the Israelites and the Ammonites.” 28 But the king of Ammon paid no attention to this message from Jephthah.
Judges 11:1-28 New International Version (NIV)
11 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.
4 Some time later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, 5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”
7 Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”
8 The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.”
9 Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?”
10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king with the question: “What do you have against me that you have attacked my country?”
13 The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah’s messengers, “When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably.”
14 Jephthah sent back messengers to the Ammonite king, 15 saying:
“This is what Jephthah says: Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites. 16 But when they came up out of Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea[a] and on to Kadesh. 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Give us permission to go through your country,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent also to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Israel stayed at Kadesh.
18 “Next they traveled through the wilderness, skirted the lands of Edom and Moab, passed along the eastern side of the country of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon. They did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was its border.
19 “Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, ‘Let us pass through your country to our own place.’ 20 Sihon, however, did not trust Israel[b] to pass through his territory. He mustered all his troops and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.
21 “Then the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and his whole army into Israel’s hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.
23 “Now since the Lord, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the Lord our God has given us, we will possess. 25 Are you any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them? 26 For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon. Why didn’t you retake them during that time? 27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the Lord, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”
28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.