Home
Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVHCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  
Version Selector Down Arrow

Search a pre-defined list


OR Select a range of biblical books

From:

To:


OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Version Selector Up Arrow
KJV King James Version
NKJV New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NIV New International Version
ESV English Standard Version
HCSB Holman Christian Standard Bible
NASB New American Standard Bible
NET New English Translation
RSV Revised Standard Version
ASV American Standard Version
YLT Young's Literal Translation
DBY Darby Translation
WEB Webster's Bible
HNV Hebrew Names Version
RVR60 Reina-Valera 1960
VUL Latin Vulgate
WLC Westminster Leningrad Codex
LXX Septuagint
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Close
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:

facebooktwitter

googlepluspinterest

reddittumblrlinkedin


Or email this page to a friend:

Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:

facebooktwitter

pinterestgoogle+


Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
 
 
Left Contextbar EdgeLeft Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge2Prior BookPrior ChapterReturn to CommentariesReturn to Author BiographyNext ChapterNext BookRight Contextbar Edge2Right Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge1
Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVHCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  
Version Selector Down Arrow
 [?]

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list


OR Select a range of biblical books

From:

To:


OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

LexiConc
 [?]
 

Advanced Options

Exact Match
Beginning of the Word
Any Part of the Word
Theological FAQs
 [?]
 
Multi-Verse Retrieval
x
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVHCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  
Version Selector Down Arrow

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate Line  Separate Line
Line-By-Line Verse Only  Verse Only
Line-By-Line Reference Only  Reference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference Delimiters  None — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference Delimiters  Square — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference Delimiters  Curly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference Delimiters  Parens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-Only  Reference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse Numbers  No Number
No Verse Delimeters  No Delimiter — 15
Square Verse Delimiters  Square — [15]
Curly Verse Delimiters  Curly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse Delimiters  Parens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate Books  Abbreviate Books
Quotes Around Verses  Quotes around Verses
Remove Square Brackets  Remove Square Brackets
 
Sort Canonically  Sort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect
x

Connect on TwitterConnect on FacebookConnect on InstagramConnect on PinterestConnect on Google Plus

Receive our Blue Letter Bible Newsletter

Daily Devotionals
x

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans
x

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Judges 11

toggle collapse

Jephthah and the Ammonites

A. Jephthah negotiates with the Ammonites.

1. (Jdg 11:1-3) Jephthah's background before his rise to leadership.

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. Gilead's wife bore sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, "You shall have no inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman." Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.

a. Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor: This brave and notable man in Israel had a clouded pedigree. His mother was a harlot, a common heathen prostitute.

b. Worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him: Jephthah wasn't necessarily the leader of a band of criminals. Adam Clarke explains that the term worthless men doesn't necessarily mean a bandit: "The word may, however, mean in this place poor persons, without property, and without employment."

i. Jephthah and his band probably operated more in the manner of David and his men during the period described in  1 Samuel 25:4-8, protecting cities and settlements from marauders and receiving pay from those whom they helped.

2. (Jdg 11:4-11) Jephthah assumes the leadership of Gilead.

It came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel. And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. Then they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon." So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father's house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?" And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "That is why we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead." So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them to me, shall I be your head?" And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The LORD will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words." Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.

a. The people of Ammon made war against Israel: The nation of Ammon, the Ammonites, lived to the south of Israel. They were a semi-nomadic group of people who descended from Abraham's nephew Lot.

b. Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon: Because of the crisis of the Ammonites, the leaders of Gilead were desperate for an able leader, and they turned to Jephthah. They gave him the authority as head over Gilead.

3. (Jdg 11:12-28) Jephthah negotiates with the king of the Ammonites.

Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, saying, "What do you have against me, that you have come to fight against me in my land?" And the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably." So Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, and said to him, "Thus says Jephthah: 'Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon; for when Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness as far as the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Please let me pass through your land." But the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained in Kadesh. And they went along through the wilderness and bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, "Please let us pass through your land into our place." But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together, encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. They took possession of all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan. And now the LORD God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it? Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the LORD our God takes possession of before us, we will possess. And now, are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel? Did he ever fight against them? While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the LORD, the Judge, render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.' " However, the king of the people of Ammon did not heed the words which Jephthah sent him.

a. What do you have against me, that you have come to fight against me in my land? Jephthah asked a simple question: why are you in the land of Israel? The king of Ammon gave a simple reply: because it is really our land, and Israel took it from is unjustly.

b. Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon: Jephthah's written response to the King of the Ammonites carefully explained why Israel had a right to the land that the Ammonites claimed was theirs.

i. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country: They Amorites conquered the Ammonites and took control of their land. When Israel defeated the Amorites in battle, they justly took the land of the Amorites - which also happened to be the previous land of the Ammonites. The war against the Amorites was prompted by the vicious Amorite war against Israeli civilians.

ii. And now the LORD God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it? Since God gave this land to Israel, the Ammonites have no claim over it.

iii. Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? The Ammonite god Chemosh must show himself worthy to conquer the land of Israel. Since Israel held this land for three hundred years, it demonstrates that Chemosh was not greater than the God of Israel. This is an inherent challenge: "If your god is mighty enough to give you the land, then let him do it. Let us see who is stronger - Yahweh or Chemosh."

iv. Jephthah did not see this battle as primarily between two armies, but between the God of Israel and the false god of Ammon. Jephthah showed true wisdom in seeing this as a spiritual battle first.

c. Chemosh your god: Chemosh was traditionally the god of the Moabites, not the Ammonites. But they may have worshipped each other's gods, and they may also have considered Chemosh and Milcom to be the same god with different names.

B. Victory and a vow.

1. (Jdg 11:29) Jephthah gathers troops and advances courageously on Ammon.

Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon.

a. Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah: This was the source of Jephthah's courage. When we are beset by fears and anxieties, we need to fill our lives with Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

b. He advanced toward the people of Ammon: The filling of the Spirit makes us advance. We go forward in the sense of spiritual progress and we go forward in the sense of confronting the enemies of God.

2. (Jdg 11:30-31) Jephthah makes a rash vow, thinking it will help his cause before God.

And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, "If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering."

a. Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: Though well intentioned, this was a foolish vow. Such vows can be attempts to get God "on our side." It is far more important to be on God's side than to try and persuade Him to be on your side.

i. Even a Spirit-filled man can do foolish things. The Holy Spirit does not overwhelm and control us, He guides us - and that guidance can be resisted or ignored at smaller or greater points.

b. Whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me … I will offer it up as a burnt offering: Jephthah did not have a human sacrifice in mind. This is indicated by the ancient Hebrew grammar: "The masculine gender could be translated 'whatever comes out' or 'whoever comes out' and 'I will sacrifice it.' " (Wolf)

i. Commentator Adam Clarke agreed that according to the most accurate Hebrew scholars, the best translation is I will consecrate it to the LORD, or I will offer it for a burnt-offering. As he wrote, "If it be a thing fit for a burnt-offering, it shall be made one; if fit for the service of God, it shall be consecrated to him."

ii. Human sacrifice was strictly forbidden by the Mosaic Law in passages such as Leviticus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 12:31. It is almost certain that Jephthah was familiar with such passages because when he negotiatiated with the Ammonites, has demonstrated that he knew God's Word.

3. (Jdg 11:32-33) God grants Israel victory over the Ammonites.

So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he defeated them from Aroer as far as Minnith; twenty cities; and to Abel Keramim, with a very great slaughter. Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

a. And the LORD delievered them into his hands: God won a great and important victory for Israel through Jephthah. He overcame bitterness and family rejection to meet a great need. Despite his difficulty past, God still wonderfully used him.

4. (Jdg 11:34-35) A difficult vow to fulfill.

When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot go back on it."

a. When he saw her, he tore his clothes: Jephthah made his foolish vow sincerely, fully intending to keep it. Yet he had not seriously considered the consequences of the vow. Therefore he was grieved when his daughter was first to greet him out of his house.

b. I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot go back on it: Jephthah knew the importance of keeping our vows to God. He would keep an oath even when it was to his own hurt (Psalm 15:4)

i. Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 and 5:4-6 speak of the danger of making foolish vows. This passage makes it clear that it is better to not make vows at all than to make foolish vows. This does not mean that vows are bad - they can be good. It means we must take them seriously. Christians need to take seriously the sin of broken vows, and when we see them we must either repent and keep them or repent of your foolishness in ever making the vow, and seek His release from the vow.

5. (Jdg 11:36-40) Jephthah fulfills his vow to God.

So she said to him, "My father, if you have given your word to the LORD, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon." 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 on the mountains and bewail my virginity, my friends and I." So he said, "Go." And he sent her away for two months; and she went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains. And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man. And it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went four days each year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

a. He carried out his vow with her which he had vowed: Some think that Jephthah did really offer his daughter as a burnt offering. If he did, this was clearly an example of misguided zeal for God, because God never asked him to make such a foolish vow or to fulfill it so foolishly.

i. Later in their history, Israel began to serve a terrible pagan god named Molech, who was "worshipped" with child sacrifice in the most terrible way imaginable. God never asked to be served in this terrible way, and therefore it can't be blamed on God.

b. She went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity … She knew no man: These words indicate that it is more likely that Jephthah set his daughter aside for the tabernacle service according to the principle of Leviticus 27:2-4, where persons set apart to God in a vow are not required to be sacrificed (as animals were) but were "given" to the tabernacle in monetary value.

i. We know that there were women who were set apart for the tabernacle service; they were called the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting (Exodus 38:8; 1 Samuel 2:22). It is likely that Jephthah's daughter became one of these women who served at the tabernacle.

ii. His daughter and friends rightly sorrow that she was given to the tabernacle service before she was ever married. Probably most the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle were older widows.

iii. By sending his unmarried, only daughter to the service of the tabernacle for the rest of her life, it shows how seriously both Jephthah and his daughter took his promise to God.

iv. This seems like the best explanation because Jephthah is listed as a hero of the faith (Hebrews 11:32). It is hard to think of him as doing something so contrary to God's ways as offering his daughter as a human sacrifice.

© 2003 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

Search

Bible Search

Multiverse Retrieval

LexiConc Search

FAQ Search

Browse Dictionary Topics

Bible Reference

Encyclopedias / Dictionaries

Introductions to the Bible

Topical Indexes

Charts and Outlines

Timelines

Maps / Images

Bible Commentaries

Text Commentaries

Audio & Video Commentaries

Theological Resources

Articles / Books

Women's Resources

Don Stewart

BLB Theological

Creeds, Catechisms, and Confessions

Multimedia

Video

Music

Products

Digital Books

Mobile Apps for iPhone / iPad

Mobile blb.org

BLB Offline CDs

Free Web Tools

Devotionals

Email Devotional Sign-Up

BLB Daily Promises

Day by Day by Grace

Morning and Evening

Daily Bible Reading Plan

Help

Video Tutorials

Support

Theological Questions

Website Support

iApp Support

General Questions

Ministries

Sowing Circle

Co-Laboring Ministries

About

About the BLB

Statement of Faith

History

Newsletter

Partnerships

Ministry FAQs

Donate

Donation Information

Contact the BLB

Hotjar - Unlimited insights from your web and mobile sites


BLB Institute

BLB Blog

Email Newsletters

Facebook

Twitter


Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding.

Blue Letter Bible is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

©2017 Blue Letter Bible

Loading...

Interlinear
Bibles
Cross-Refs
Commentaries
Dictionaries
Miscellaneous
Verse Tools Arrow
Login

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

Enter Your
Email or Username

Password

 [?]

 

Why won't my login from the old site work?

Did you forget your password?

Register a new BLB account

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

Enter Your EmailUsername

First Name

PasswordRe-enter

[ Cancel ]

 

Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or Username

 

Return to Login

Close Login