New Heart English Bible
1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a prostitute. And Gilead became the father of Jephthah. 2Gilead's wife bore him sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove out Jephthah, and said to him, "You shall not inherit in our father's house; for you are the son of another woman." 3Then Jephthah fled from his brothers, and lived in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain fellows to Jephthah, and they went out with him.
4It happened after a while, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5It was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah out of the land of Tob; 6and they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the children of Ammon." 7And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Did you not hate me, and drive me out of my father's house, and sent me away from you? And why have you come to me now when you are in distress?" 8The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Not so. We have turned to you now, that you may go with us, and fight with the children of Ammon; and you shall be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead." 9Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me home again to fight with the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them before me, shall I be your head?" 10The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The LORD shall be witness between us; surely according to your word so will we do." 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 the LORD in Mizpah.
12Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, "What have you to do with me, that you are come to me to fight against my land?" 13And the king of the children of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land, when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore restore it peaceably, and I will depart." 14And the messengers returned to Jephthah, and Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon; 15and he said to him, "Thus says Jephthah: 'Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon, 16but when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the Sea of Suf, and came to Kadesh; 17then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, 'Please let me pass through your land.' But the king of Edom did not listen. In the same way, he sent to the king of Moab; but he would not. So Israel stayed in Kadesh. 18Then they went through the wilderness, and went around the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and they camped on the other side of the Arnon; but they did not come within the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, "Please let me pass through your land to our land.' 20But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; but Sihon gathered all his people together, and camped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21The LORD, the God of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them. So Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22They possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and from the wilderness even to the Jordan. 23So now the LORD, the God of Israel, has driven out the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess them? 24Won't you possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whoever the LORD our God has driven out from before us, we will possess. 25And now are you anything better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend against 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 along by the side of the Arnon, three hundred years; why did you not liberate them within that time? 27I therefore have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong by making war against me. The LORD, the Judge, be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon." 28However the king of the children of Ammon did not listen to the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
29Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over to the children of Ammon. 30Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, "If you will indeed deliver the children of Ammon into my hand, 31then it shall be that whatever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, it shall be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering." 32So Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hand. 33He struck them from Aroer until you come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and to Abel Keramim, with a very great slaughter. So the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
34Jephthah came to Mizpah to his house; and look, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances: and she was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35And it happened, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, "Alas, my daughter. You have brought me very low. You have become a stumbling block in my sight. And you are among those who trouble me. For I have given my word to the LORD, and I can't break it." 36She said to him, "My father, since you have given your word to the LORD; do to me as you promised, because the LORD has taken vengeance for you on your enemies, even on the children of Ammon." 37She said to her father, "Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may depart and go down on the mountains, and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions." 38He said, "Go." He sent her away for two months: and she departed, she and her companions, and wept because of her virginity on the mountains. 39It happened at the end of two months, that she returned to her father, who did with her according to what he had vowed. And she was a virgin. It became a custom in Israel, 40that the daughters of Israel went yearly four days in a year to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.