Jephthah

11 Now (A)Jephthah the Gileadite was (B)a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have (C)no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of (D)Tob; and (E)worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.

It came to pass after a time that the (F)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, (G)“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?”

(H)And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have (I)turned[b] again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be (J)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, (K)“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 (L)head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words (M)before the Lord in Mizpah.

12 Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, saying, (N)“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, (O)“Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from (P)the Arnon as far as (Q)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: (R)‘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 (S)came to Kadesh. 17 Then (T)Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let me pass through your land.” (U)But the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the (V)king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel (W)remained in Kadesh. 18 And they (X)went along through the wilderness and (Y)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 (Z)Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, “Please (AA)let us pass through your land into our place.” 20 (AB)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 (AC)delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they (AD)defeated[c] them. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22 They took possession of (AE)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 (AF)Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever (AG)the Lord our God takes possession of before us, we will possess. 25 And now, are you any better than (AH)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 (AI)Heshbon and its villages, in (AJ)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, (AK)the Judge, (AL)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 (AM)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.

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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

Jephthah’s Conflict with Ephraim

12 Then (A)the men of Ephraim [a]gathered together, crossed over toward Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the people of Ammon, and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you with fire!”

And Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Ammon; and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. So when I saw that you would not deliver me, I (B)took my life in my hands and crossed over against the people of Ammon; and the Lord delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. And the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You Gileadites (C)are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites and among the Manassites.” The Gileadites seized the (D)fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” then they would say to him, “Then say, (E)‘Shibboleth’!”[b] And he would say, “Sibboleth,” for he could not [c]pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.

And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried among the cities of Gilead.

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Footnotes

  1. Judges 12:1 were summoned
  2. Judges 12:6 Lit. a flowing stream; used as a test of dialect
  3. Judges 12:6 Lit. speak so