1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.2And Gilead' wife bare him sons; and his wife' sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father' house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.3Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.4And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.5And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:6And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.7And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father' house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?8And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.9And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?10And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.11Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.12And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?13And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably.14And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon:15And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:16But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh;17Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto . And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent : and Israel abode in Kadesh.18Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab.19And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.20But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.21And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.22And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan.23So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?24Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.25And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them,26While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time?27Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.28Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.29Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.30And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,31Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD', and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.32So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands.33And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.34And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.35And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.36And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.37And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.38And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.39And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,40That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
English Standard Version
Jephthah Delivers Israel
1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. (Jud 6:12; 2Ki 5:1; Heb 11:32)2And Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. And when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”3Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him. (Jud 9:4; 1Sa 22:2; 2Sa 10:6; 2Sa 10:8)4After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel.5And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. (Jud 11:3)6And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.”7But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”8And 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 Ammonites and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” (Jud 10:18)9Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight against the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head.”10And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord will be witness between us, if we do not do as you say.” (Jer 42:5)11So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at Mizpah. (Jud 10:17; Jud 10:18; Jud 11:6; Jud 11:8; Jud 20:1; 1Sa 10:17; 1Sa 10:19; 1Sa 10:25; 1Sa 11:15; 1Sa 12:7)12Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, “What do you have against me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?”13And the king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel on coming up from Egypt took away my land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” (Ge 32:22; Nu 21:13; Nu 21:24)14Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites15and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, (De 2:9; De 2:19)16but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. (Nu 13:26; Nu 14:25; De 1:40)17Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh. (Nu 20:1; Nu 20:14; Nu 20:18; De 1:46)18“Then they journeyed through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and arrived on the east side of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. (Nu 21:4; Nu 21:11; Nu 21:13; Nu 22:36; De 2:1)19Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’ (Nu 21:21; De 2:26)20but Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.21And the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country.22And they took possession of all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan.23So then the Lord, the God of Israel, dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel; and are you to take possession of them?24Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And all that the Lord our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. (Nu 21:29; De 9:5; De 18:12; Jos 3:10; 1Ki 11:7)25Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend against Israel, or did he ever go to war with them? (Nu 22:2; Jos 24:9; Mic 6:5)26While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, 300 years, why did you not deliver them within that time? (Nu 21:25; De 2:36)27I therefore have not sinned against you, and you do me wrong by making war on me. The Lord, the Judge, decide this day between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon.” (Ge 16:5; Ge 18:25; Ge 31:53; 1Sa 24:12; 1Sa 24:15)28But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent to him.
Jephthah’s Tragic Vow
29Then the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. (Jud 3:10)30And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, (Ge 28:20; 1Sa 1:11)31then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” (Le 27:2; 1Sa 1:28; Ps 66:13)32So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand.33And he struck them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a great blow. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel. (Eze 27:17)34Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. (Ex 15:20; Jud 10:17; Jud 11:11; 1Sa 18:6; Ps 68:25; Jer 31:4)35And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.” (Nu 30:2; Ec 5:4)36And she said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord; do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.”37So she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.”38So he said, “Go.” Then he sent her away for two months, and she departed, she and her companions, and wept for her virginity on the mountains.39And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel (Jud 11:31)40that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.