Judges 11:5
And 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:
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(5) When the children of Ammon made war.—The allusion is to some special threat of invasion (acriter instantibus, Vulg.) at the close of the eighteen years of oppression (Judges 10:9).

To fetch Jephthah.—Because by this time he had made himself a great name as a brave and successful chieftain of marauders, who would doubtless come with him to lead the Gileadites.

11:1-11 Men ought not to be blamed for their parentage, so long as they by their personal merits roll away any reproach. God had forgiven Israel, therefore Jephthah will forgive. He speaks not with confidence of his success, knowing how justly God might suffer the Ammonites to prevail for the further punishment of Israel. Nor does he speak with any confidence at all in himself. If he succeed, it is the Lord delivers them into his hand; he thereby reminds his countrymen to look up to God as the Giver of victory. The same question as here, in fact, is put to those who desire salvation by Christ. If he save you, will ye be willing that he shall rule you? On no other terms will he save you. If he make you happy, shall he make you holy? If he be your helper, shall he be your Head? Jephthah, to obtain a little worldly honour, was willing to expose his life: shall we be discouraged in our Christian warfare by the difficulties we may meet with, when Christ has promised a crown of life to him that overcometh?The land of Tob - To the north of Gilead, toward Damascus. The readiness with which Jephthah took to the freebooter's life gives us a lively picture of the unsettled times in which he lived. 5, 6. the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah—All eyes were directed towards him as the only person possessed of the qualities requisite for the preservation of the country in this time of imminent danger; and a deputation of the chief men was despatched from the Hebrew camp at Mizpeh to solicit his services. By direction or instinct from God, who both qualified him for and called him to the office of a judge. See Judges 12:7 Hebrews 11:32. Otherwise they might not have chosen a bastard, Deu 23:2. Unless we will say, that there being no other person among them fit for and willing to this work, necessity dispensed with this law, as it did with other positive laws, as those of the sabbath and sacrifices.

And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel,.... Were preparing for it, and had assembled their forces near them, and had began to make some efforts against them:

the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob; they did not send messengers to him, but went themselves, partly to show greater respect to him, and partly in hopes of better success, being aware of objections he would make, which they could better answer themselves than a deputation.

And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the {d} elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:

(d) Or, ambassadors, sent for that purpose.

5. And it was so … against Israel] These words, which merely repeat Jdg 11:4, presuppose that the history has already begun, and were perhaps inserted to connect with Jdg 10:17 f. In some recensions of the LXX they are wanting, in others Jdg 11:4 is omitted.

the elders of Gilead] means no more than the sheikhs of the district.

Verse 5. - The elders of Gilead. The same as the princes in Judges 10:18. Judges 11:5But 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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