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Civil Strife Mars the Victory

12:1 The Ephraimites assembled1 and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go and fight2 with the Ammonites without asking3 us to go with you? We will burn your house down right over you!”4

12:2 Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were entangled in controversy with the Ammonites.5 I asked for your help, but you did not deliver me from their power.6 12:3 When I saw that you were not going to help,7 I risked my life8 and advanced against9 the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to me. Why have you come up10 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,11 “You Gileadites are refugees in Ephraim, living within Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s territory.”12 12:5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan River13 opposite Ephraim.14 Whenever an Ephraimite fugitive15 said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked16 him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 12:6 then they said to him, “Say ‘Shibboleth!’ ”17 If he said, “Sibboleth” (and could not pronounce the word18 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 led19 Israel for six years; then he20 died and was buried in his city in Gilead.21


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