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Judges 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 was the father of Jephthah.

 2 And Gilead's wife also bore him sons, and when his wife's sons grew up, they thrust Jephthah out and said to him, "You shall not inherit in our father's house; for you are the son of another woman."

 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men were gathered to Jephthah and went out on raids with him.

 4 And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.

 5 And when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah out of the land of Tob;

 6 And they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our commander, that we may fight the children of Ammon."

 7 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Did you not hate me and expel me out of my father's house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?"

 8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "That is why we have turned to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the children of Ammon and be the head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

 9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them to me, shall I be your head?"

 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The LORD will be witness between us, if we do not do according to what you have said."

 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And Jephthah repeated all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.

 12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, "What have you to do with me, that you have come against me to fight in my land?"

 13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore, restore those lands again peaceably."

 14 So Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon,

 15 And said to him, "Thus says Jephthah, 'Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the children of Ammon.

 16 But when Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh.

 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Let me, I pray you, pass through your land," but the king of Edom would not listen. And in the same manner they sent to messengers to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained in Kadesh.

 18 Then they went through the wilderness and around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab and encamped on the other side of Arnon; but they did not come within the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.

 19 And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, "Let us pass, we pray you, through your land into my country."

 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; but Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped 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 defeated them; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.

 22 They possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon even to Jabbok, and from the wilderness even to the Jordan.

 23 So now the LORD God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess it now?

 24 Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And all the LORD our God drives out from before us, we will possess.

 25 Now are you any 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 its towns, and in Aroer and its towns, and in all the cities that are along the banks of the Arnon for three hundred years, why did you not recover your land within that time?

 27 Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you do 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 However, the king of the children of Ammon did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent him.

 29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over to the children of Ammon.

 30 And Jephthah vowed a vow to the LORD, and said, "If you will without fail deliver the children of Ammon into my hands,

 31 Then whatever comes forth from 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 as a burnt offering."

 32 So Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his hands.

 33 And he smote them from Aroer to Minnith, even twenty cities, and as far as the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

 34 Then Jephthah came to Mizpeh to his home, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances! And she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

 35 And when he saw her, he rent his clothes and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are the cause of great distress to me; for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot go back."

 36 And she said to him, "My father, if you have given your word to the LORD, do to me according to what has proceeded out of your mouth, since the LORD has taken vengeance for you on your enemies, even of the children of Ammon."

 37 Then she said to her father, "Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander upon the mountains and bewail my virginity, I and my companions."

 38 So 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 At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had vowed. And she knew no man. From this comes the custom in Israel,

 40 That the daughters of Israel go out yearly for four days each year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.


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