Judges 12:2
And Jephthah said to them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, you delivered me not out of their hands.
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(2) I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon.—Literally, I was a man of strife, I and my people, and the children of Ammon exceedingly. We have a similar phrase in Jeremiah 15:10. Jephthah adopts the tone of a recognised chief, as he had done to the Ammonites.

And when I called you, ye delivered me not.—Ephraim was not immediately affected by the Ammonite oppression, any more than it had been by the Midianite. The effect of those raids was felt chiefly by Manasseh and by the Eastern tribes. Hence the Ephraimites held themselves selfishly aloof. That we are not told of this previous appeal of the Gileadites to Ephraim illustrates the compression of the narrative. We cannot tell whether it took place before or after the summons of the Gileadites to Jephthah.

Jdg 12:2-3. When I called you, ye delivered me not — He answers them with great mildness, but denies their charge. He affirms that he had begged their assistance, but they had refused to grant it. When I saw that ye delivered me not — When I became sensible that there was no hope of your assistance to preserve us from ruin; I put my life in my hand — That is, I exposed myself to the utmost danger; as a man that carries a brittle and precious thing in his hand, which may easily either fall to the ground or be snatched from him. He had but a small part of the people of Israel with him, to encounter their powerful oppressors. And passed over against the children of Ammon — With such forces only as I could raise on the east of Jordan, Jdg 11:29-30. Wherefore are ye come up? — Why do ye thus requite my kindness in running such hazards to defend and preserve you and yours? Jephthah here manifests an excellent spirit and great wisdom. He would have prevented the civil war had it been possible.12:1-7 The Ephraimites had the same quarrel with Jephthah as with Gideon. Pride was at the bottom of the quarrel; only by that comes contention. It is ill to fasten names of reproach upon persons or countries, as is common, especially upon those under outward disadvantages. It often occasions quarrels that prove of ill consequence, as it did here. No contentions are so bitter as those between brethren or rivals for honour. What need we have to watch and pray against evil tempers! May the Lord incline all his people to follow after things which make for peace!When I called you ... - This circumstance is not related in the main narrative. It is likely to have occurred when Jephthah was first chosen leader by the Gileadites, and when Ephraim would probably ignore his pretensions. 2. when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands—The straightforward answer of Jephthah shows that their charge was false; their complaint of not being treated as confederates and allies entirely without foundation; and their boast of a ready contribution of their services came with an ill grace from people who had purposely delayed appearing till the crisis was past. Hence it appears that he craved their assistance, which they denied, though that be not elsewhere expressed. And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at a great strife with the children of Ammon,.... As to the cause of the war, or the reason of his going over to fight the children of Ammon, it was a strife or contention between the Gileadites and them, concerning their country; which the children of Ammon claimed as theirs, and the Gileadites insisted on it they had a just right to it; by which it appeared that this was not a personal contention between Jephthah and them; and therefore the Ephraimites had no reason to fall so furiously upon him particularly; and it was a contention which chiefly concerned the two tribes and a half, and not the rest; and so could not be blamed for defending themselves alone if they could, without interesting others in the quarrel: but this is not all he has to say, he adds:

and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands; it seems he had called them to assist in driving the enemy out of their boarders when there, and they refused to help him; though it is not elsewhere said, and it is not denied by them, so that it was false what they alleged; or however, since they declined giving him any assistance, when the children of Ammon were in his country, he could not expect they would join him in an expedition into theirs.

And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands.
2. were at great strife with the children of Ammon] lit. ‘I was at strife, I and my people, and the children of A. exceedingly.’ Supply afflicted me in the last clause, with LXX. cod. A, Luc. etc., Syro-Hex. The verb (‘innûni) was accidentally omitted, probably owing to its resemblance to ‘Ammon. Jephthah identifies himself with his people, as in Jdg 11:12.

when I called you] The summons is not mentioned in ch. 11, but it may be implied in Jdg 11:29; see note.Verse 2. - When I called you. This incident is not mentioned in the previous narrative. Probably Jephthah asked the help of Ephraim when he was first made chief of the Gileadites, and they refused partly because they thought the attempt desperate, and partly because they were offended at Jephthah's leadership. The daughter, observing that the vow had reference to her (as her father in fact had, no doubt, distinctly told her, though the writer has passed this over because he had already given the vow itself in Judges 11:31), replied, "Do to me as has gone out of thy mouth (i.e., do to me what thou hast vowed), since Jehovah has procured the vengeance upon thine enemies the Ammonites." She then added (Judges 11:37), "Let this thing be done for me (equivalent to, Let this only be granted me); let me alone two months and I will go," i.e., only give me two months to go, "that I may go down to the mountains (i.e., from Mizpeh, which stood upon an eminence, to the surrounding mountains and their valleys) and bewail my virginity, I and my friends." בּתוּלים does not mean "youth" (נעוּרים), but the condition of virginity (see Leviticus 21:13). The Kethibh רעיתי is a less common form of רעותי (Keri).
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