Judges 11:27
Why I have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) The Lord the Judge be judge this day.—An appeal to the arbitrament of Jehovah to decide on the justice of an appeal to arms. (Comp. Genesis 16:5; Genesis 31:53; Genesis 18:25; 1Samuel 24:15.)

These verses contain a deeply interesting specimen of what may be called ancient diplomacy, and very powerful and straightforward it is—at once honest, conciliatory, and firm. Jephthah maintains the rights of Israel on three grounds, viz., (1) Right of direct conquest, not from Ammon but from the Amorites (15-20); (2) The decision of God (Judges 11:21-23), which he supports by an argumentum ad hominem—namely, the acquiescence in this decision of the Moabite god Chemosh (Judges 11:24); (3) Undisputed possession from the first (Judges 11:25-26). He ends by an appeal to God to approve the justice of his cause.

Jdg 11:27. Wherefore I have not sinned — I have done thee no wrong. The Lord, the Judge, be judge — Let him determine this controversy by the success of this day and war. The meaning is, that if they were not moved by these reasons, but the controversy must be decided by arms, he committed his cause to God, the righteous Judge of the whole world, who, he doubted not, would do him right. Be judge this day — He does not mean that God would determine the right by giving him the victory then, when he spake these words, (for he was not yet ready to give them battle,) but that God would judge of the justice of his present plea, and accordingly give sentence when the matter came to be tried in battle. There cannot be a finer picture of justice, candour, fair reasoning, moderation, and unwillingness to proceed to the dreadful miseries of war, joined with a noble spirit to defend his country in its just rights, than that which Jephthah shows in his messages to the Ammonites. It were to be wished that all kings would follow his steps, and not rush into the shocking inhumanities and miseries of war with too much precipitation, but first try what good temper, moderation, fair reasoning, and a claim to no more than their just rights, will do with their enemies.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 advances another historical argument. Balak, the king of Moab, never disputed the possession of Sihon's kingdom with Israel. 13. the king of Ammon …, Because Israel took away my land—(See on [221]De 2:19). The subject of quarrel was a claim of right advanced by the Ammonite monarch to the lands which the Israelites were occupying. Jephthah's reply was clear, decisive, and unanswerable;—first, those lands were not in the possession of the Ammonites when his countrymen got them, and that they had been acquired by right of conquest from the Amorites [Jud 11:21]; secondly, the Israelites had now, by a lapse of three hundred years of undisputed possession, established a prescriptive right to the occupation [Jud 11:22, 23]; and thirdly, having received a grant of them from the Lord, his people were entitled to maintain their right on the same principle that guided the Ammonites in receiving, from their god Chemosh, the territory they now occupied [Jud 11:24]. This diplomatic statement, so admirable for the clearness and force of its arguments, concluded with a solemn appeal to God to maintain, by the issue of events, the cause of right and justice [Jud 11:27]. I have not sinned against thee; I have done thee no wrong.

The Lord be judge this day; let him determine this controversy by the success of this day and war. Wherefore I have not sinned against thee,.... Had done him no injury, not wronged him of anything, nor had taken away any part of his country from him; this Jephthah said in the name of all Israel, of whom he was governor:

but thou doest me wrong to war against me; meaning that he had no just cause to commence a war against Israel, but acted an injurious part; and seeing things could not be adjusted in an amicable way, but must be decided by the sword, he leaves the affair with the Lord, and appeals to him:

the Lord the Judge; the Judge of the whole earth, the omniscient God, that knows all things, the right and wrong of every cause, on which side truth and justice lie:

be Judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon; not that he expected a decision of the controversy between them would be made that precise and exact day; but that from henceforward the Lord would appear, by giving success to that party which was in the right in this contest.

Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge {k} be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.

(k) To punish the offender.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. the Lord … be judge] Cf. Genesis 31:53, 1 Samuel 24:12; 1 Samuel 24:15. Even in early Israel Jehovah could be appealed to as the Judge, who in the quarrels of men or nations was known to take the side of justice against unfair aggression. The fundamental difference between Jehovah and the gods of the nations, and His superiority to them, lay in His essentially moral character.Verse 27. - Jephthah now asserts his own entire blamelessness, and appeals to the justice of God to decide between him and the Ammonites.

CHAPTER 11:29-40 Judges 11:19-22 are almost verbatim the same as Numbers 21:21-25. Israel then sent messengers to Sihon the king of the Amorites at Heshbon, to ask permission to pass through his land. "Into my place," i.e., into the land of Canaan, that Jehovah has appointed for me. But Sihon "trusted not Israel to pass through his land," i.e., he did not trust to the assurance of Israel that they only wanted to pass peaceably through his land, but supposed the petition to cover an intention to take forcible possession of it. (In Numbers 21:23 we have נתן לא instead of האמין לא.) He did not confine himself, therefore, to a refusal of the permission they asked for, but collected his men of war, and marched against the Israelites to the desert as far as Jahza, on the east of Medeba and Dibon (see at Numbers 21:23), and fought with them. But he was defeated, and lost all his land, from the Arnon (Mojeb) on the south to the Jabbok (Zerka) on the north, and from the desert on the east to the Jordan on the west, of which the Israelites took possession.
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