12 The men of the Ephraim tribe got together an army and went across the Jordan River to Zaphon to meet with Jephthah. They said, “Why did you go to war with the Ammonites without asking us to help? Just for that, we’re going to burn down your house with you inside!”
2 “But I did ask for your help,” Jephthah answered. “That was back when the people of Gilead and I were having trouble with the Ammonites, and you wouldn’t do a thing to help us. 3 So when we realized you weren’t coming, we risked our lives and attacked the Ammonites. And the Lord let us defeat them. There’s no reason for you to come here today to attack me.”
4 But the men from Ephraim said, “You people of Gilead are nothing more than refugees from Ephraim. You even live on land that belongs to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.”[a]
So Jephthah called together the army of Gilead, then they attacked and defeated the army from Ephraim. 5 The army of Gilead also posted guards at all the places where the soldiers from Ephraim could cross the Jordan River to return to their own land.
Whenever one of the men from Ephraim would try to cross the river, the guards would say, “Are you from Ephraim?”
“No,” the man would answer, “I’m not from Ephraim.”
6 The guards would then tell them to say “Shiboleth,” because they knew that people of Ephraim could say “Sibboleth,” but not “Shiboleth.”
If the man said “Sibboleth,” the guards would grab him and kill him right there. Altogether, forty-two thousand men from Ephraim were killed in the battle and at the Jordan.
7 Jephthah was a leader[b] of Israel for six years, before he died and was buried in his hometown Mizpah[c] in Gilead.
8 Ibzan, the next leader[d] of Israel, came from Bethlehem. 9 He had thirty daughters and thirty sons, and he let them all marry outside his clan.
Ibzan was a leader for seven years, 10 before he died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 Elon from the Zebulun tribe was the next leader[e] of Israel. He was a leader for ten years, 12 before he died and was buried in Aijalon that belonged to the Zebulun tribe.
13-15 Abdon the son of Hillel was the next leader[f] of Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, and each one of them had his own donkey.[g] Abdon was a leader for eight years, before he died and was buried in his hometown of Pirathon, which is located in the part of the hill country of Ephraim where Amalekites used to live.
12.4You people of Gilead. . . Ephraim and Manasseh: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade to the best Bible Gateway experience! With Bible Gateway Plus, you gain instant access to a digital Bible study library, including complete notes from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible and the Believer's Bible Commentary. Try it free for 30 days!