Judges 11:12
And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What have you to do with me, that you are come against me to fight in my land?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) What hast thou to do with me?—Literally, What to me and to thee? (Joshua 22:24; 2Samuel 16:10, &c.). Jephthah speaks in the name of Israel, as an acknowledged prince. His message resembles the preliminary negotiations of the Roman generals when they sent the Fetiales to proclaim the justice of their cause (Liv. i. 24).

Jdg 11:12. Jephthah sent messengers — That is, ambassadors, to prevent bloodshed, that so the Israelites might be acquitted before God and men from all the sad consequences of the war; and herein he showed great prudence, and no less piety. What hast thou to do with me, &c. — What reasonable cause hast thou for this invasion? To fight in my land — He speaks this in the name of all the people. 11:12-28 One instance of the honour and respect we owe to God, as our God, is, rightly to employ what he gives us to possess. Receive it from him, use it for him, and part with it when he calls for it. The whole of this message shows that Jephthah was well acquainted with the books of Moses. His argument was clear, and his demand reasonable. Those who possess the most courageous faith, will be the most disposed for peace, and the readiest to make advances to obtain; but rapacity and ambition often cloak their designs under a plea of equity, and render peaceful endeavours of no avail.Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh - This phrase designates the presence of the tabernacle, or the ark, or of the high priest with Urim and Thummim Judges 20:26; Judges 21:2; Joshua 18:8; 1 Samuel 21:7. The high priest waited upon Jephthah with the ephod, and possibly the ark, at his own house (see Judges 20:18 here). A trace of Jephthah's claim to unite all Israel under his dominion is found in Judges 12:2, and breathes through his whole message to the king of the Ammonites. See Judges 11:12, Judges 11:15, Judges 11:23, Judges 11:27. Jud 11:12-28. His Embassy to the King of Ammon.

12-28. Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon—This first act in his judicial capacity reflects the highest credit on his character for prudence and moderation, justice and humanity. The bravest officers have always been averse to war; so Jephthah, whose courage was indisputable, resolved not only to make it clearly appear that hostilities were forced upon him, but to try measures for avoiding, if possible, an appeal to arms: and in pursuing such a course he was acting as became a leader in Israel (De 20:10-18).

Messengers, i.e. ambassadors, to prevent bloodshed, and make peace, as far as in him lay; that so the Israelites might be acquitted before God and men from all the sad consequences of this war: herein he showed great prudence, and no less piety.

What hast thou to do with me? what pretence or reasonable cause hast thou for this invasion?

My land; he speaks this in the name of all the people, whose the land was. And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon,.... Being now declared chief and sole governor of the tribes on the other side Jordan, he acted in character, and as such sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, to know the reason of his invading the land that belonged to Israel, being desirous of adjusting things in an amicable way, and to prevent the shedding of blood; in which he behaved as a good man, and not at all inconsistent with a man of valour and courage:

saying, what hast thou to do with me; to invade my land, and disturb my people, what have I or they done to give occasion for it?

that thou art come against me to fight in my land? he speaks in the language of a governor, and as a man of spirit concerned for the good of his country, and determined to defend the rights and liberties of it.

And 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?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. with me] i.e. the people represented by Jephthah; see on Jdg 11:17.

my land … from Arnon even unto Jabbok] The Arnon, now called Wadi el-Môjîb, descends from the E. and flows into the Dead Sea at a point almost in the middle of the eastern shore; it formed the southern boundary of Moab at the time of the Exodus (Jdg 11:18, Numbers 21:13). The Jabbok, now Nahr ez-Zerḳâ = ‘the blue river,’ like the Arnon, is a perennial stream; it rises to the S. of ‘Ammân (Rabbath-ammon), runs northward and hence is called ‘the border of the sons of Ammon’ (Deuteronomy 3:16, Joshua 12:2), curves round to the W., and so winds its way down to the Jordan which it enters 44½ m. due N. of the Arnon. The district between the two rivers naturally lay exposed to the incursions of the Ammonites, who lived to the E. of it (Numbers 21:24); but there is no support for the Ammonites’ claim to regard it as my land at the time of the Israelite invasion, when the territory in question was held by the Amorites, Jdg 11:21 f., Numbers 21:23 f.

those lands] Rather, the cities of the district understood (Jdg 11:33); lit. them.Verse 12. - And Jephthah sent, etc. His first attempt was to make an honourable peace by showing that there was no just cause of quarrel. What hast thou to do with me? or, rather, What business, what cause of quarrel, is there between you and me? (he speaks in the name of Israel, as head of the State) what is it all about? But when the Ammonites made war upon Israel some time afterwards, the elders of Gilead ( equals "the princes of Gilead," Judges 10:18) went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob, to make this brave warrior their leader. In Judges 11:4 the account of the war between the Ammonites and Israel, which is mentioned in Judges 10:17, is resumed, and its progress under Jephthah is then more fully described. "In process of time" (מיּמים, a diebus, i.e., after the lapse of a long period, which cannot be more precisely defined), sc., after the expulsion of Jephthah from his home (see Judges 14:8; Judges 15:1; Joshua 23:1). קצין signifies a leader in war (Joshua 10:24), and is therefore distinguished in Judges 11:11 from ראשׁ, a chief in peace and war.
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