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Judges 11 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

11 And Jephthah the Gileadite hath been a mighty man of valour, and he [is] son of a woman, a harlot; and Gilead begetteth Jephthah,

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.'

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.

And it cometh to pass, after a time, that the Bene-Ammon fight with Israel,

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;

and they say unto Jephthah, `Come, and thou hast been to us for captain, and we fight against the Bene-Ammon.'

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?'

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.'

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 wouldst 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.

Judges 11 New International Version (NIV)

11 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.

Some time later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”

Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”

The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.”

Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?”

10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.

12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king with the question: “What do you have against me that you have attacked my country?”

13 The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah’s messengers, “When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably.”

14 Jephthah sent back messengers to the Ammonite king, 15 saying:

“This is what Jephthah says: Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites. 16 But when they came up out of Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea[a] and on to Kadesh. 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Give us permission to go through your country,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent also to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Israel stayed at Kadesh.

18 “Next they traveled through the wilderness, skirted the lands of Edom and Moab, passed along the eastern side of the country of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon. They did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was its border.

19 “Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, ‘Let us pass through your country to our own place.’ 20 Sihon, however, did not trust Israel[b] to pass through his territory. He mustered all his troops and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.

21 “Then the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and his whole army into Israel’s hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.

23 “Now since the Lord, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the Lord our God has given us, we will possess. 25 Are you any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them? 26 For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon. Why didn’t you retake them during that time? 27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the Lord, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.

28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 11:16 Or the Sea of Reeds
  2. Judges 11:20 Or however, would not make an agreement for Israel
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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