Judges 12 – “The Gilead-Ephraim War; Jephthah Dies; Three Chiefs”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Jephthah leads the Gileadites to victory over the Ephraimites. Three other chiefs rule Israel after Jephthah dies.

II. Photo
The Gileadites guard the Jordan river: “The Gileadites held the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any fugitive from Ephraim said, “Let me cross,” the men of Gilead would ask him, “Are you an Ephraimite?”; if he said “No,” they would say to him, “Then say shibboleth”; but he would say “sibboleth,” not being able to pronounce it correctly. Thereupon they would seize him and slay him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time.” (vv 5-6)

III. Important Verses
vv 1-4: The men of Ephraim mustered and crossed [the Jordan] to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you march to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’ll burn your house down over you!” Jephthah answered them, “I and my people were in a bitter conflict with the Ammonites; and I summoned you, but you did not save me from them. When I saw that you were no saviors, I risked my life and advanced against the Ammonites; and the LORD delivered them into my hands. Why have you come here now to fight against me?” And Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought the Ephraimites. The men of Gilead defeated the Ephraimites; for they had said, “You Gileadites are nothing but fugitives from Ephraim — being in Manasseh is like being in Ephraim.”
vv 5-6: The Gileadites held the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any fugitive from Ephraim said, “Let me cross,” the men of Gilead would ask him, “Are you an Ephraimite?”; if he said “No,” they would say to him, “Then say shibboleth”; but he would say “sibboleth,” not being able to pronounce it correctly. Thereupon they would seize him and slay him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time.

IV. Outline
1-6. The Gileadites defeat the Ephraimites in war
7. Jephthah dies
8-10. Ibzan is a chief in Israel
11-12. Elon is a chief in Israel
13-15. Abdon is a chief in Israel

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Trent C. Butler, “Judges” (Word Biblical Commentary vol. 8; Nashville: Nelson, 2009).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 15 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.judeandelivery.com/images/jordanriver_6X9_web.jpg

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