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Judges 11:1–28

Jephthah

11 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior; he was the son of a prostitute, and Gilead was his father.a Gilead’s wife also bore for him sons; and the sons of his wife grew up and drove Jephthah away, and they said to him, “You will not inherit the house of our father because you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from the presence of his brothers, and he lived in the land of Tob. And outlawsb gathered around Jephthah and went with him.

After a time the Ammonitesc made war with Israel. When the Ammonitesd made war with Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, so that we may make war against the Ammonites.”e Jephthah said to the elders, “Did you not shun me and drive me out from the house of my father? Why do you come to me now when you have trouble?” And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That being so, we have now returned to you, that you may go with us to fightf against the Ammonitesg and become for us as head of all the inhabitants of Gilead.” So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me back to fighth against the Ammonites,i and Yahweh gives them over to me,j will I be your head?” 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Yahweh will be a witnessk between us; we will act according to your word.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh at Mizpah.

12 And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites,l saying, “What is between you and me that you have come to me to make war against my land?” 13 And the king of the Ammonitesm said to Jephthah’s messengers, “Because Israel took my land from the Arnon up to the Jabbok and the Jordan when they came up from Egypt; so then, restore it peacefully.” 14 Once again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites,n 15 and he said to him, “Thus says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites,o 16 because when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Seap and went to Kadesh. 17 Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let us cross through your land,” but the king of Edom would not listen. And they also sent messengers to the king of Moab, but he was not willing. So Israel stayed in Kadesh. 18 Then they traveled through the wilderness, went around the land of Edom and Moab, and came to the eastq side of the land of Moab, and theyr encamped beyond the Arnon; and they did not go into the territory of Moab because the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites,s king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us cross through your land to our country.’t 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to cross through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people and then encamped at Jahaz; and he made war with Israel. 21 And Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; and Israel occupied all the land of the Amoritesu inhabiting that land. 22 They occupied all the territory of the Amoritesv from the Arnon up to the Jabbok, and from the wilderness up to the Jordan. 23 So then Yahweh, the God of Israel, has driven out the Amoritesw from before his people Israel, and you want to possess it? 24 Do you not possess what Chemosh your god gave you to possess? Whoever Yahweh our God has driven out before us, we will possess it. 25 So then, are you any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel, or did he ever make war against them? 26 When Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the towns that are along the Arnon,x for three hundred years,y why did you not recover them at that time? 27 I have not sinned against you; but you are the one who is doing wrong by making war against me. Let Yahweh judgez today between the Israelitesa and the Ammonites.”b 28 But the king of the Ammonitesc did not listen to the message that Jephthah sent to him.

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