Judges Chapter 11
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1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a harlot: and Gilead fathered Jephthah.
Last updated: Aug, 2010
Judges 11:30-40 A foolish oath by Jephthah
1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he [was] the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
2 And Gilead’s wife bare him sons; and his wife’s sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou [art] the son of a strange woman.
3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.
4 And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.
5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:
6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.
7 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?
8 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?
10 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.
11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.
12 And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?
13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those [lands] again peaceably.
14 And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon:
15 And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:
16 But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh;
17 Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken [thereto]. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not [consent]: and Israel abode in Kadesh.
18 Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon [was] the border of Moab.
19 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.
20 But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
21 And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.
22 And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan.
23 So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?
24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.
25 And now [art] thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them,
26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that [be] along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover [them] within that time?
27 Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.
28 Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over [unto] the children of Ammon.
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands.
33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, [even] twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she [was his] only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.
36 And she said unto him, My father, [if] thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, [even] of the children of Ammon.
37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away [for] two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.
39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her [according] to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,
40 [That] the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
King James Version
1 And Jephthah the Gileadite hath been a mighty man of valour, and he [is] son of a woman, a harlot; and Gilead begetteth Jephthah,
2 and the wife of Gilead beareth to him sons, and the wife's sons grow up and cast out Jephthah, and say to him, 'Thou dost not inherit in the house of our father; for son of another woman [art] thou.'
3 And Jephthah fleeth from the face of his brethren, and dwelleth in the land of Tob; and vain men gather themselves together unto Jephthah, and they go out with him.
4 And it cometh to pass, after a time, that the Bene-Ammon fight with Israel,
5 and it cometh to pass, when the Bene-Ammon have fought with Israel, that the elders of Gilead go to take Jephthah from the land of Tob;
6 and they say unto Jephthah, 'Come, and thou hast been to us for captain, and we fight against the Bene-Ammon.'
7 And Jephthah saith to the elders of Gilead, 'Have not ye hated me? and ye cast me out from the house of my father, and wherefore have ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?'
8 and the elders of Gilead say unto Jephthah, 'Therefore, now, we have turned back unto thee; and thou hast gone with us, and fought against the Bene-Ammon, and thou hast been to us for head -- to all the inhabitants of Gilead.'
9 And Jephthah saith unto the elders of Gilead, 'If ye are taking me back to fight against the Bene-Ammon, and Jehovah hath given them before me -- I, am I to you for a head?'
10 And the elders of Gilead say unto Jephthah, 'Jehovah is hearkening between us -- if according to thy word we do not so.'
11 And Jephthah goeth with the elders of Gilead, and the people set him over them for head and for captain, and Jephthah speaketh all his words before Jehovah in Mizpeh.
12 And Jephthah sendeth messengers unto the king of the Bene-Ammon, saying, 'What -- to me and to thee, that thou hast come in unto me, to fight in my land.'
13 And the king of the Bene-Ammon saith unto the messengers of Jephthah, 'Because Israel took my land in his coming up out of Egypt, from Arnon, and unto the Jabbok, and unto the Jordan; and now, restore them in peace.'
14 And Jephthah addeth yet and sendeth messengers unto the king of the Bene-Ammon,
15 and saith to him, 'Thus said Jephthah, Israel took not the land of Moab, and the land of the Bene-Ammon,
16 for in their coming up out of Egypt, Israel goeth in the wilderness unto the Red Sea, and cometh in to Kadesh,
17 and Israel sendeth messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me pass over, I pray thee, through thy land, and the king of Edom hearkened not; and also unto the king of Moab hath [Israel] sent, and he hath not been willing; and Israel abideth in Kadesh,
18 and he goeth through the wilderness, and compasseth the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and cometh in at the rising of the sun of the land of Moab, and they encamp beyond Arnon, and have not come into the border of Moab, for Arnon [is] the border of Moab.
19 'And Israel sendeth messengers unto Sihon, king of the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and Israel saith to him, Let us pass over, we pray thee, through thy land, unto my place,
20 and Sihon hath not trusted Israel to pass over through his border, and Sihon gathereth all his people, and they encamp in Jahaz, and fight with Israel;
21 and Jehovah, God of Israel, giveth Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smite them, and Israel possesseth all the land of the Amorite, the inhabitant of that land,
22 and they possess all the border of the Amorite from Arnon, and unto the Jabbok, and from the wilderness, and unto the Jordan.
23 'And now, Jehovah, God of Israel, hath dispossessed the Amorite from the presence of His people Israel, and thou wouldest possess it!
24 That which Chemosh thy god causeth thee to possess -- dost thou not possess it? and all that which Jehovah our God hath dispossessed from our presence, -- it we do possess.
25 'And now, [art] thou at all better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he at all strive with Israel? did he at all fight against them?
26 In Israel's dwelling in Heshbon and in its towns, and in Aroer and in its towns, and in all the cities which [are] by the sides of Arnon three hundred years -- and wherefore have ye not delivered them in that time?
27 And I -- I have not sinned against thee, and thou art doing with me evil -- to fight against me. Jehovah, the Judge, doth judge to-day between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon.'
28 And the king of the Bene-Ammon hath not hearkened unto the words of Jephthah which he sent unto him,
29 and the Spirit of Jehovah is on Jephthah, and he passeth over Gilead and Manasseh, and passeth over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he hath passed over to the Bene-Ammon.
30 And Jephthah voweth a vow to Jehovah, and saith, 'If Thou dost at all give the Bene-Ammon into my hand --
31 then it hath been, that which at all cometh out from the doors of my house to meet me in my turning back in peace from the Bene-Ammon -- it hath been to Jehovah, or I have offered up for it -- a burnt-offering.'
32 And Jephthah passeth over unto the Bene-Ammon to fight against them, and Jehovah giveth them into his hand,
33 and he smiteth them from Aroer, and unto thy going in to Minnith, twenty cities, and unto the meadow of the vineyards -- a very great smiting; and the Bene-Ammon are humbled at the presence of the sons of Israel.
34 And Jephthah cometh into Mizpeh, unto his house, and lo, his daughter is coming out to meet him with timbrels, and with choruses, and save her alone, he hath none, son or daughter.
35 And it cometh to pass, when he seeth her, that he rendeth his garments, and saith, 'Alas, my daughter, thou hast caused me greatly to bend, and thou hast been among those troubling me; and I -- I have opened my mouth unto Jehovah, and I am not able to turn back.'
36 And she saith unto him, 'My father -- thou hast opened thy mouth unto Jehovah, do to me as it hath gone out from thy mouth, after that Jehovah hath done for thee vengeance on thine enemies, on the Bene-Ammon.'
37 And she saith unto her father, 'Let this thing be done to me; desist from me two months, and I go on, and have gone down on the hills, and I weep for my virginity -- I and my friends.'
38 And he saith, 'Go;' and he sendeth her away two months, and she goeth, she and her friends, and she weepeth for her virginity on the hills;
39 and it cometh to pass at the end of two months that she turneth back unto her father, and he doth to her his vow which he hath vowed, and she knew not a man; and it is a statute in Israel:
40 from time to time the daughters of Israel go to talk to the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, four days in a year.