Bible: Judges 10-12

Stability Restored

10:1 After Abimelech’s death, 1  Tola son of Puah, grandson 2  of Dodo, from the tribe of Issachar, 3  rose up to deliver Israel. He lived in Shamir in the Ephraimite hill country. 10:2 He led 4  Israel for twenty-three years, then died and was buried in Shamir.

10:3 Jair the Gileadite rose up after him; he led Israel for twenty-two years. 10:4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys and possessed thirty cities. To this day these towns are called Havvoth Jair 5 they are in the land of Gilead. 6  10:5 Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

The Lord’s Patience Runs Short

10:6 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight. 7  They worshiped 8  the Baals and the Ashtars, 9  as well as the gods of Syria, Sidon, 10  Moab, the Ammonites, and the Philistines. 11  They abandoned the Lord and did not worship 12  him. 10:7 The Lord was furious with Israel 13  and turned them over to 14  the Philistines and Ammonites. 10:8 They ruthlessly oppressed 15  the Israelites that eighteenth year 16 that is, all the Israelites living east of the Jordan in Amorite country in Gilead. 10:9 The Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight with Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. 17  Israel suffered greatly. 18 

10:10 The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord: “We have sinned against you. We abandoned our God and worshiped 19  the Baals.” 10:11 The Lord said to the Israelites, “Did I not deliver you from Egypt, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 10:12 the Sidonians, Amalek, and Midian 20  when they oppressed you? 21  You cried out for help to me, and I delivered you from their power. 22  10:13 But since you abandoned me and worshiped 23  other gods, I will not deliver you again. 10:14 Go and cry for help to the gods you have chosen! Let them deliver you from trouble! 24  10:15 But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. You do to us as you see fit, 25  but deliver us today! 26  10:16 They threw away the foreign gods they owned 27  and worshiped 28  the Lord. Finally the Lord grew tired of seeing Israel suffer so much. 29 

An Outcast Becomes a General

10:17 The Ammonites assembled 30  and camped in Gilead; the Israelites gathered together and camped in Mizpah. 10:18 The leaders 31  of Gilead said to one another, “Who is willing to lead the charge 32  against the Ammonites? He will become the leader of all who live in Gilead!

11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a brave warrior. His mother was a prostitute, but Gilead was his father. 33  11:2 Gilead’s wife also gave 34  him sons. When his wife’s sons grew up, they made Jephthah leave and said to him, “You are not going to inherit any of our father’s wealth, 35  because you are another woman’s son.” 11:3 So Jephthah left 36  his half-brothers 37  and lived in the land of Tob. Lawless men joined Jephthah’s gang and traveled with him. 38 

11:4 It was some time after this when the Ammonites fought with Israel. 11:5 When the Ammonites attacked, 39  the leaders 40  of Gilead asked Jephthah to come back 41  from the land of Tob. 11:6 They said, 42 Come, be our commander, so we can fight with the Ammonites.” 11:7 Jephthah said to the leaders of Gilead, “But you hated me and made me leave 43  my father’s house. Why do you come to me now, when you are in trouble? 11:8 The leaders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That may be true, 44  but now we pledge to you our loyalty. 45  Come with us and fight with the Ammonites. Then you will become the leader 46  of all who live in Gilead.” 47  11:9 Jephthah said to the leaders of Gilead, “All right! 48  If you take me back to fight with the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me, 49  I will be your leader.” 50  11:10 The leaders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord will judge any grievance you have against us, 51  if we do not do as you say.” 52  11:11 So Jephthah went with the leaders of Gilead. The people made him their leader and commander. Jephthah repeated the terms of the agreement 53  before the Lord in Mizpah.

Jephthah Gives a History Lesson

11:12 Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king, saying, “Why have 54  you come against me to attack my land? 11:13 The Ammonite king said to Jephthah’s messengers, “Because Israel stole 55  my land when they 56  came up from Egypt – from the Arnon River in the south to the Jabbok River in the north, and as far west as the Jordan. 57  Now return it 58  peaceably!

11:14 Jephthah sent messengers back to the Ammonite king 11:15 and said to him, “This is what Jephthah says, ‘Israel did not steal 59  the land of Moab and the land of the Ammonites. 11:16 When they left 60  Egypt, Israel traveled 61  through the desert as far as the Red Sea and then came to Kadesh. 11:17 Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please allow us 62  to pass through your land.” But the king of Edom rejected the request. 63  Israel sent the same request to the king of Moab, but he was unwilling to cooperate. 64  So Israel stayed at Kadesh. 11:18 Then Israel 65  went through the desert and bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab. They traveled east of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon River; 66  they did not go through Moabite territory (the Arnon was Moab’s border). 11:19 Israel sent messengers to King Sihon, the Amorite king who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, “Please allow us to pass through your land to our land.” 67  11:20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. He 68  assembled his whole army, 69  camped in Jahaz, and fought with Israel. 11:21 The Lord God of Israel handed Sihon and his whole army over to Israel and they defeated them. Israel took 70  all the land of the Amorites who lived in that land. 11:22 They took all the Amorite territory from the Arnon River on the south to the Jabbok River on the north, from the desert in the east to the Jordan in the west. 71  11:23 Since 72  the Lord God of Israel has driven out 73  the Amorites before his people Israel, do you think you can just take it from them? 74  11:24 You have the right to take what Chemosh your god gives you, but we will take the land of all whom the Lord our God has driven out before us. 75  11:25 Are you really better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he dare to quarrel with Israel? Did he dare to fight with them? 76  11:26 Israel has been living in Heshbon and its nearby towns, in Aroer and its nearby towns, and in all the cities along the Arnon for three hundred years! Why did you not reclaim them during that time? 11:27 I have not done you wrong, 77  but you are doing wrong 78  by attacking me. May the Lord, the Judge, judge this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites!’ 11:28 But the Ammonite king disregarded 79  the message sent by Jephthah. 80 

A Foolish Vow Spells Death for a Daughter

11:29 The Lord’s spirit empowered 81  Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and Manasseh and went 82  to Mizpah in Gilead. From there he approached the Ammonites. 83  11:30 Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, saying, “If you really do hand the Ammonites over to me, 11:31 then whoever is the first to come through 84  the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from fighting the Ammonites – he 85  will belong to the Lord and 86  I will offer him up as a burnt sacrifice.” 11:32 Jephthah approached 87  the Ammonites to fight with them, and the Lord handed them over to him. 11:33 He defeated them from Aroer all the way to Minnith – twenty cities in all, even as far as Abel Keramim! He wiped them out! 88  The Israelites humiliated the Ammonites. 89 

11:34 When Jephthah came home to Mizpah, there was his daughter hurrying out 90  to meet him, dancing to the rhythm of tambourines. 91  She was his only child; except for her he had no son or daughter. 11:35 When he saw her, he ripped his clothes and said, “Oh no! My daughter! You have completely ruined me! 92  You have brought me disaster! 93  I made an oath to the Lord, and I cannot break it.” 94  11:36 She said to him, “My father, since 95  you made an oath to the Lord, do to me as you promised. 96  After all, the Lord vindicated you before 97  your enemies, the Ammonites.” 11:37 She then said to her father, “Please grant me this one wish. 98  For two months allow me to walk through the hills with my friends and mourn my virginity.” 99  11:38 He said, “You may go.” He permitted her to leave 100  for two months. She went with her friends and mourned her virginity as she walked through the hills. 101  11:39 After two months she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. She died a virgin. 102  Her tragic death gave rise to a custom in Israel. 103  11:40 Every year 104  Israelite women commemorate 105  the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days. 106 

Civil Strife Mars the Victory

12:1 The Ephraimites assembled 107  and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go and fight 108  with the Ammonites without asking 109  us to go with you? We will burn your house down right over you! 110 

12:2 Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were entangled in controversy with the Ammonites. 111  I asked for your help, but you did not deliver me from their power. 112  12:3 When I saw that you were not going to help, 113  I risked my life 114  and advanced against 115  the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to me. Why have you come up 116  to fight with me today? 12:4 Jephthah assembled all the men of Gilead and they fought with Ephraim. The men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because the Ephraimites insulted them, saying, 117 You Gileadites are refugees in Ephraim, living within Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s territory.” 118  12:5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan River 119  opposite Ephraim. 120  Whenever an Ephraimite fugitive 121  said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked 122  him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 12:6 then they said to him, “Say ‘Shibboleth!’” 123  If he said, “Sibboleth(and could not pronounce the word 124  correctly), they grabbed him and executed him right there at the fords of the Jordan. On that day forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell dead. 12:7 Jephthah led 125  Israel for six years; then he 126  died and was buried in his city in Gilead. 127 

Order Restored

12:8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem 128  led 129  Israel. 12:9 He had thirty sons. He arranged for thirty of his daughters to be married outside his extended family, 130  and he arranged for thirty young women to be brought from outside as wives for his sons. 131  Ibzan 132  led 133  Israel for seven years; 12:10 then he 134  died and was buried in Bethlehem.

12:11 After him Elon the Zebulunite led 135  Israel for ten years. 136  12:12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

12:13 After him Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite led 137  Israel. 12:14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel for eight years. 12:15 Then Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

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