Jephthah the Gileadite the 10th Judge of Israel

Judges 11:1-15. Jephthah was the tenth Judge of Israel when their rulers were called Judges and he ruled for 6 years 1087BC-1081BC.

Jephthah was from the Tribe of Manasseh.

He delivered Israel from the Ammonites.

At first Jephthah was rejected by his people, who later when in trouble asked for his help.

Jephthah in Hebrew means: opposer.

Background Reading:

Jephthah the Gileadite

11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant soldier, but he was also the son of a prostitute and Jephthah’s father Gilead. 2 Gilead’s wife bore two sons through him, but when his wife’s sons grew up, they expelled Jephthah and declared to him, “You won’t have an inheritance in this house, since you’re the son of a different woman.” 3 So Jephthah escaped from his brothers and lived in the territory of To, where worthless men gathered themselves around him and went out on raiding parties with him.

4 Later on, the Ammonites attacked Israel. 5 When this happened, the elders of Gilead went to the territory of Tob to find Jephthah. 6 They told him, “Come and be our commander so we can fight the Ammonites!”

7 But Jephthah replied to the elders of Gilead, “Weren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me out of my father’s house? And you come to me now that you’re in trouble?”

8 So the elders of Gilead told Jephthah, “Well, we’re coming back to you now so you can accompany us, fight the Ammonites, and become the head of all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

9 Then Jephthah asked the elders of Gilead, “If you all send me to fight against the Ammonites and the LORD hands them over right in front of me, will I really become your head?”

10 The elders of Gilead responded to Jephthah, “May the Lord serve as a witness that we’re making this agreement between ourselves to do as we’ve said.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people appointed him head and military commander over them. Jephthah uttered everything he had to say with the solemnity of an oath in the LORD’s presence at Mizpah.

Jephthah’s Dialogue with the Ammonites

12 Afterwards, Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites to ask him, “What’s your dispute between us that prompted you to come and attack my land?”

13 The king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “We’re here because Israel took away my land from the Arnon River as far as the Jabbok River and as far as the Jordan River when they came up from Egypt! So restore it as a gesture of good will.”

14 But Jephthah sent additional messengers again to the king of the Ammonites 15 and they informed him, “This is Jephthah’s response:
Judges 11:1—15
Continued in Judges 11:16-40 & 12:1-7

More Information:

Summary of the life of Jephthah:
Son of a Gilead, an outcast, rose to leadership, was moved at times by God’s spirit, but made a rash vow which he kept. He delivered Israel from their enemies.

Other modules in this unit: