Judges 11
Legacy Standard Bible►► 

Jephthah Delivers Israel

1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead [†]became the father of Jephthah. 2And Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves [†]about Jephthah, and they went out with him.

4Now it happened after a while that the sons of Ammon fought against Israel. 5So it happened that as the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; 6and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.” 7Then Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in distress?” 8And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “For this reason we have now returned to you, that you may go with us and fight with the sons of Ammon and become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and Yahweh gives them up [†]to me, will I become your head?” 10And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Yahweh is [†]witness between us; surely we will do [†]as you have said.” 11Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh at Mizpah.

12And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying, “What is between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13Then the king of the sons of Ammon said to the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan; so now, return them peaceably.” 14But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the sons of Ammon, 15and they said to him, “Thus says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab nor the land of the sons of Ammon. 16For when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the [†]Red Sea and came to Kadesh, 17then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let us pass through your land,” but the king of Edom would not listen. And they also sent to the king of Moab, but he was not willing. So Israel remained at Kadesh. 18Then they went through the wilderness and around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and came to the east toward the sunrise of the land of Moab, and they camped beyond the Arnon; but they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, “Please let us pass through your land to our place.” 20But Sihon did not believe Israel to allow them to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered all his people and camped in Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21Then Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them down; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22So they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan. 23So now Yahweh, the God of Israel, dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel. Are you then to possess it? 24Do you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever Yahweh our God has taken possession of before us, we will possess it. 25So now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive with Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26While Israel lived in Heshbon and its towns and in Aroer and its towns and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, 300 years, why did you not deliver them for yourself within that time? 27I therefore have not sinned against you, but you are doing me evil by making war against me; may Yahweh, the Judge, judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon.’” 28But the king of the sons of Ammon did not listen to the words which Jephthah sent him.

Jephthah Vows a Burnt Offering

29Now the Spirit of Yahweh came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon. 30Then Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh and said, “If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be Yahweh’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” 32So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and Yahweh gave them into his hand. 33And he struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer [†]to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.

34Then Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. 35So it happened that when he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me. But I have opened my mouth to vow to Yahweh, and I cannot take it back.” 36So she said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to vow to Yahweh; do to me according to what has gone out from your mouth, since Yahweh has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon.” 37Then she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may [†]go to the mountains and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions.” 38Then he said, “Go.” So he sent her away for two months; and she went with her companions and wept on the mountains because of her virginity. 39And it happened at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he did to her according to the vow which he had made; and she did not know a man. Thus it became a [†]custom in Israel, 40that the daughters of Israel went yearly to [†]commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.

1 Lit begat
3 Lit to
9 Lit before
10 Lit hearer
10 Lit according to your word
16 Lit Sea of Reeds
33 Lit even until you are coming to
37 Lit go and go down on
39 Lit statute
40 Lit recount; ancient versions lament

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