Judges 12:3
And when I saw that you delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: why then are you come up to me this day, to fight against me?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) I put my life in my hands.—Rather, in the hollow of my hand (caph). (See for the phrase, Psalm 119:109; Job 13:14; 1Samuel 20:5; 1Samuel 28:21.) It expresses extreme peril.

The Lord delivered them into my hand.—Here the word for “hand” is yad. Here, as he had done in arguing with the king of the Ammonites (Judges 11:21-24), Jephthah appeals to the decision of Jehovah, as proving that he had done rightly.

Wherefore then are ye come up . . . ?—For the phrase “come up” see Judges 1:1-16. Jephthah’s answer is as moderate as Gideon’s (Judges 8:2-3), though it does not display the same happy tact, and refers to topics which could not but be irritating. Whether it was made in a conciliatory spirit or not, we cannot tell. Certainly if Ephraim persisted in aggressive violence after these explanations, they placed themselves so flagrantly in the wrong that civil war became inevitable.

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!I put my life in my hands - Compare 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21. The phrase expresses the utmost possible risk, knowingly incurred. 3. when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands—A common form of speech in the East for undertaking a duty of imminent peril. This Jephthah had done, having encountered and routed the Ammonites with the aid of his Gileadite volunteers alone; and since the Lord had enabled him to conquer without requiring assistance from any other tribe, why should the Ephraimites take offense? They ought rather to have been delighted and thankful that the war had terminated without their incurring any labor and danger. I put my life in my hands, i.e. I exposed myself to 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. The same phrase is used 1 Samuel 19:5 28:21 Job 13:14 Psalm 119:109.

Wherefore then are ye come up unto me? why do you thus requite my kindness in running into such hazard to preserve you and yours? And when I saw that ye delivered me not,.... Gave him no assistance against their common enemy, did not attempt to save him and his people out of their hands, but left them to defend themselves:

I put my life in my hands; ready to deliver it up in the defence of his country; the meaning is, that he exposed himself to the utmost danger, hazarded his life in going with a few troops into an enemy's country to fight him, and so liable to lose his life; which was in as much danger, as some observe, as any brittle thing contained in the hand is in danger of falling, or of being snatched out of it:

and passed over against the children of Ammon: took a long and fatiguing march over the land of Gilead into that of the children of Ammon, to fight with them:

and the Lord delivered them into my hand; gave him victory over them, which showed that his cause was just, and his call to engage in it clear:

wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day to fight against me? who rather should have come with thanks to him for the service he had done, not only for the Gileadites, but for all Israel; for had he not fought against the children of Ammon, and conquered them, they would have soon not only overrun and oppressed Gilead, but would have come over Jordan, and dispossessed the other tribes, and particularly Ephraim, as they had done already, Judges 10:9 so that it was base ingratitude in these people to come to fight against Jephthah, who had fought for them, and wrought salvation for them.

And when I saw that ye delivered me not, {c} I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?

(c) That is, I ventured my life, and when man's help failed, I put my trust only in God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. that thou wast not going to save me] Or omit thou, and render that there was none to save, LXX. cod. A, Luc. Cf. Isaiah 63:5.

I put my life in my hand] Cf. 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21, Job 13:14, Psalm 119:109.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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