Jephthah
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Smith's Bible Dictionary
Jephthah

(whom God sets free), A judge about B.C. 1143-1137. His history is contained in (Judges 11:1; Judges 12:8) He was a Gileadite, the son of Gilead and a concubine. Driven by the legitimate sons from his father's inheritance, he went to Tob and became the head of a company of freebooters in a debatable land probably belonging to Ammon. (2 Samuel 10:6) (This land was east of Jordan and southeast of Gilead, and bordered on the desert of Arabia. --ED.) His fame as a bold and successful captain was carried back to his native Gilead; and when the time was ripe for throwing off the yoke of Ammon, Jephthah consented to become the captain of the Gileadite bands, on the condition, solemnly ratified before the Lord in Mizpeh, that int he event of his success against Ammon he should still remain as their acknowledged head. Vowing his vow unto God, (Judges 11:31) that he would offer up as a burn offering whatsoever should come out to meet him if successful, he went forth to battle. The Ammonites were routed with great slaughter; but as the conqueror returned to Mizpeh there came out to meet him his daughter, his only child, with timbrels and dancing. The father is heart-stricken; but the maiden asks only for a respite of two months in which to prepare for death. When that time was ended she returned to her father, who "did with her according to his vow." The tribe of Ephraim challenged Jephthah's right to go to war as he had done, without their concurrence, against Ammon. He first defeated them, then intercepted the fugitives at the fords of Jordan, and there put forty-two thousand men to the sword. He judged Israel six years, and died. It is generally conjectured that his jurisdiction was limited to the transjordanic region. That the daughter of Jephthah was really offered up to God in sacrifice is a conclusion which it seems impossible to avoid. (But there is no word of approval, as if such a sacrifice was acceptable to God. Josephus well says that "the sacrifice was neither sanctioned by the Mosaic ritual nor acceptable to God." The vow and the fulfillment were the mistaken conceptions of a rude chieftain, not acts pleasing to God. --ED.)

ATS Bible Dictionary
Jephthah

The son of Gilead, was a judge of Israel, and successor to Jair. His history is told in Jud 11:1-12:15. A most affecting incident in it is his devoting his daughter to God as a sacrifice, in consequence of a rash vow.

The arguments on the question whether Jephthah's daughter was actually sacrificed or not, cannot here be cited. The natural repugnance we feel to such a vow and its fulfillment has led many interpreters to adopt the less obvious theory that she was only condemned to live and die unmarried. There is no intimation in Scripture that God approved of his vow, whatever it was. Paul numbers Jephthah among the saints of the Old Testament distinguished for their faith, Hebrews 11:32.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Whom God sets free, or the breaker through, a "mighty man of valour" who delivered Israel from the oppression of the Ammonites (Judges 11:1-33), and judged Israel six years (12:7). He has been described as "a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, a sort of warrior Elijah." After forty-five years of comparative quiet Israel again apostatized, and in "process of time the children of Ammon made war against Israel" (11:5). In their distress the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob, to which he had fled when driven out wrongfully by his brothers from his father's inheritance (2), and the people made him their head and captain. The "elders of Gilead" in their extremity summoned him to their aid, and he at once undertook the conduct of the war against Ammon. Twice he sent an embassy to the king of Ammon, but in vain. War was inevitable. The people obeyed his summons, and "the spirit of the Lord came upon him." Before engaging in war he vowed that if successful he would offer as a "burnt-offering" whatever would come out of the door of his house first to meet him on his return. The defeat of the Ammonites was complete. "He smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards [Hebrews `Abel Keramim], with a very great slaughter" (Judges 11:33). The men of Ephraim regarded themselves as insulted in not having been called by Jephthah to go with him to war against Ammon. This led to a war between the men of Gilead and Ephraim (12:4), in which many of the Ephraimites perished. (see SHIBBOLETH.) "Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead" (7).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
JEPHTHAH

jef'-tha (yiphtach, "opened," or "opener," probably signifying "Yahweh will open"; Iephthae; used as the name of a place, as in Joshua 15:43; Joshua 19:14; of a man, Judges 10:6-12:7): Ninth judge of the Israelites. His antecedents are obscure. Assuming Gilead to be the actual name of his father, his mother was a harlot. He was driven from home on account of his illegitimacy, and went to the land of Tobit in Eastern Syria (Judges 11:2, 3). Here he and his followers lived the life of freebooters.

The Israelites beyond the Jordan being in danger of an invasion by the Ammonites, Jephthah was invited by the elders of Gilead to be their leader (Judges 11:5, 6). Remembering how they had expelled him from their territory and his heritage, Jephthah demanded of them that in the event of success in the struggle with the Ammonites, he was to be continued as leader. This condition being accepted he returned to Gilead (Judges 11:7-11). The account of the diplomacy used by Jephthah to prevent the Ammonites from invading Gilead is possibly an interpolation, and is thought by many interpreters to be a compilation from Numbers 20-21. It is of great interest, however, not only because of the fairness of the argument used (Judges 11:12-28), but also by virtue of the fact that it contains a history of the journey of the Israelites from Lower Egypt to the banks of the Jordan. This history is distinguished from that of the Pentateuch chiefly by the things omitted. If diplomacy was tried, it failed to dissuade the Ammonites from seeking to invade Israel. Jephthah prepared for battle, but before taking the field paused at Mizpeh of Gilead, and registered a vow that if he were successful in battle, he would offer as a burnt offering to Yahweh whatsoever should first come from his doors to greet him upon his return (Judges 11:29-31). The battle is fought, Jephthah is the victor, and now his vow returns to him with anguish and sorrow. Returning to his home, the first to greet him is his daughter and only child. The father's sorrow and the courage of the daughter are the only bright lights on this sordid, cruel conception of God and of the nature of sacrifice. That the sacrifice was made seems certain from the narrative, although some critics choose to substitute for the actual death of the maiden the setting the girl apart for a life of perpetual virginity. The Israelite laws concerning sacrifices and the language used in Judges 11:39 are the chief arguments for the latter interpretation. The entire narrative, however, will hardly bear this construction (11:34-40).

Jephthah was judge in Israel for 6 years, but appears only once more in the Scripture narrative. The men of Ephraim, offended because they had had no share in the victory over the Ammonites, made war upon Gilead, but were put to rout by the forces under Jephthah (Judges 12:1-6).

C. E. Schenk

Greek
2422. Iephthae -- Jephthah, a judge of Isr.
... Iephthae. 2423 . Jephthah, a judge of Isr. ... Word Origin of Hebrew origin Yiphtach
Definition Jephthah, a judge of Isr. NASB Word Usage Jephthah (1). Jephthah. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2422.htm - 6k
Strong's Hebrew
3316. Yiphtach -- "He opens," a Gileadite, also a city of Judah
... "He opens," a Gileadite, also a city of Judah. Transliteration: Yiphtach Phonetic
Spelling: (yif-tawkh') Short Definition: Jephthah. ... Jephthah, Jiphtah. ...
/hebrew/3316.htm - 6k
Library

Jephthah's Foolish Promise
... THE OLD TESTAMENT JEPHTHAH'S FOOLISH PROMISE. Jephthah, the Gileadite, was
an able warrior, but he was the son of a wicked woman, and ...
/.../sherman/the childrens bible/jephthahs foolish promise.htm

A Cloud of Witnesses.
... Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith
subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths ...
/.../the expositors bible the epistle to the hebrews/chapter xiii a cloud of.htm

The Judges.
... destroyed these bold oppressors. (5) The invasion of the Ammonites and
Israel's deliverance through Jephthah. (6) The Philistines ...
/.../tidwell/the bible period by period/chapter ix the judges.htm

The Kingdom Conquering
... XI. Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson: the Six Deliverers.
XII.1. Environment counts. ... 2. What was Jephthah's vow? ...
/.../palmer/a birds-eye view of the bible/iii the kingdom conquering.htm

After the Whole People had Been Freed from all Distress...
... refers to that subject; and also to the admonition concerning oaths; for which reason
also, the history of Jonathan, and Saul, and that of Jephthah, is brought ...
/.../chrysostom/on the priesthood/homily xiv after the whole.htm

Judges
... form elsewhere, vi.7-10, x.6-16, is amply illustrated by the stories that
follow"the stories of Othniel, Ehud, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson ...
//christianbookshelf.org/mcfadyen/introduction to the old testament/judges.htm

Hebrews xi. 28-31
... "For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and
of Jephthah, of David also and Samuel, and of the prophets.". ...
/.../homilies on the gospel of st john and hebrews/homily xxvii hebrews xi 28-31.htm

Scriptural Uses of the General Words for Prayer
... give him in gift to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon
his head" is strictly not a prayer but such a vow as Jephthah also vowed in ...
/.../origen/origen on prayer/chapter ii scriptural uses of.htm

Bear up the Hands that Hang Down, by Faith and Prayer...
... more:" but they humbled themselves, put away their strange gods, and God's "soul
was grieved for the misery of Israel," and he sent them deliverance by Jephthah ...
//christianbookshelf.org/bounds/purpose in prayer/chapter ix bear up the.htm

The Historical Books.
... Thus Jephthah and the three succeeding judges seem to have exercised their office
in northeastern Israel, while the scene of Samson's exploits was southwestern ...
/.../barrows/companion to the bible/chapter xx the historical books.htm

Thesaurus
Jephthah (26 Occurrences)
... and in "process of time the children of Ammon made war against Israel" (11:5). In
their distress the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of ...JEPHTHAH. ...
/j/jephthah.htm - 20k

Jephthah's (1 Occurrence)
...Jephthah's vow. ... After a crushing defeat of the Ammonites, Jephthah returned to his
own house, and the first to welcome him was his own daughter. ...
/j/jephthah's.htm - 8k

Bene-ammon (44 Occurrences)
... Judges 11:5 and it cometh to pass, when the Bene-Ammon have fought with Israel,
that the elders of Gilead go to take Jephthah from the land of Tob; (YLT). ...
/b/bene-ammon.htm - 20k

Gileadite (10 Occurrences)
... Judges 11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the
son of a prostitute: and Gilead became the father of Jephthah. ...
/g/gileadite.htm - 9k

Tob (5 Occurrences)
... A district on the east of Jodan, about 13 miles south-east of the Sea of Galilee,
to which Jephthah fled from his brethren (Judges 11:3, 5). It was on the ...
/t/tob.htm - 10k

Ammonites (97 Occurrences)
... In the days of Jephthah they oppressed the Israelites east of the Jordan, claiming
that the latter had deprived them of their territory when they came from ...
/a/ammonites.htm - 43k

Ammon (100 Occurrences)
... In the days of Jephthah they oppressed the Israelites east of the Jordan, claiming
that the latter had deprived them of their territory when they came from ...
/a/ammon.htm - 47k

Mizpeh (24 Occurrences)
... Here was the home of Jephthah, to which he returned after the defeat of the Aremonites,
only to realize how his rash vow had brought desolation to his house. ...
/m/mizpeh.htm - 21k

Ammonite (22 Occurrences)
... Judges 3:13). Jephthah waged war against them, and "took twenty cities with
a very great slaughter" (Judges 11:33). They were again ...
/a/ammonite.htm - 18k

Mizpah (42 Occurrences)
... (2.) A town in Gilead, where Jephthah resided, and where he assumed the
command of the Israelites in a time of national danger. ...
/m/mizpah.htm - 31k

Concordance
Jephthah (26 Occurrences)

Hebrews 11:32
What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets;
(WEB WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:1
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a prostitute: and Gilead became the father of Jephthah.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:2
Gilead's wife bore him sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove out Jephthah, and said to him, "You shall not inherit in our father's house; for you are the son of another woman."
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:3
Then Jephthah fled from his brothers, and lived in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain fellows to Jephthah, and they went out with him.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:5
It was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah out of the land of Tob;
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:6
and they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the children of Ammon."
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Judges 11:7
Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Didn't you hate me, and drive me out of my father's house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?"
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:8
The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Therefore we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us, and fight with the children of Ammon; and you shall be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Judges 11:9
Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me home again to fight with the children of Ammon, and Yahweh deliver them before me, shall I be your head?"
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:10
The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Yahweh shall be witness between us; surely according to your word so will we do."
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Judges 11:11
Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them: and Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh in Mizpah.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:12
Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, "What have you to do with me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?"
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:13
The king of the children of Ammon answered to the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land, when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably."
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:14
Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon;
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:15
and he said to him, "Thus says Jephthah: Israel didn't take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon,
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:28
However the king of the children of Ammon didn't listen to the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:29
Then the Spirit of Yahweh came on Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over to the children of Ammon.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:30
Jephthah vowed a vow to Yahweh, and said, "If you will indeed deliver the children of Ammon into my hand,
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:32
So Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them; and Yahweh delivered them into his hand.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:34
Jephthah came to Mizpah to his house; and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances: and she was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 11:40
that the daughters of Israel went yearly to celebrate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 12:1
The men of Ephraim were gathered together, and passed northward; and they said to Jephthah, "Why did you pass over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didn't call us to go with you? We will burn your house around you with fire!"
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 12:2
Jephthah said to them, "I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, you didn't save me out of their hand.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 12:4
Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim; and the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, "You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim, and in the midst of Manasseh."
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Judges 12:7
Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

1 Samuel 12:11
Yahweh sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you lived in safety.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Subtopics

Jephthah

Jephthah: Escapes the Violence of his Half-Brothers; Lives in the Land of Tob

Jephthah: Faith of

Jephthah: Falsely Accused by the Ephraimites

Jephthah: His Message to the King of the Ammonites

Jephthah: His Rash Vow Concerning Bis Daughter

Jephthah: Illegitimate, and Therefore not Entitled to Inherit his Father's Property

Jephthah: Leads Israel for Six Years, Dies, and is Buried in Gilead

Jephthah: Leads the Army of Israel Against the Ammonites

Jephthah: Leads the Army of the Gileadites Against the Ephraimites

Jephthah: Made Captain of the Army

Jephthah: Made Head of the Land of Gilead

Jephthah: Recalled from the Land of Tob by the Elders of Gilead

Related Terms

Jephthah's (1 Occurrence)

Bene-ammon (44 Occurrences)

Gileadite (10 Occurrences)

Tob (5 Occurrences)

Ammonites (97 Occurrences)

Ammon (100 Occurrences)

Mizpeh (24 Occurrences)

Ammonite (22 Occurrences)

Mizpah (42 Occurrences)

Collected (55 Occurrences)

Crossed (65 Occurrences)

Gilead (130 Occurrences)

Period (43 Occurrences)

Fought (109 Occurrences)

Valiant (66 Occurrences)

Valor (45 Occurrences)

Valour (66 Occurrences)

Zaphon (4 Occurrences)

Undertakings (20 Occurrences)

Good-for-nothing (22 Occurrences)

Warrior (36 Occurrences)

Fleeth (54 Occurrences)

Fellows (30 Occurrences)

Repeated (16 Occurrences)

Raiding (11 Occurrences)

Bedan (2 Occurrences)

Chemosh (8 Occurrences)

Abelcheramim (1 Occurrence)

Adventurers (2 Occurrences)

Abel-cheramim (1 Occurrence)

Begetteth (52 Occurrences)

Passeth (100 Occurrences)

Fight (265 Occurrences)

Leader (183 Occurrences)

Group (32 Occurrences)

Uttered (60 Occurrences)

Barak (14 Occurrences)

Vow (49 Occurrences)

Joining (43 Occurrences)

Worthless (103 Occurrences)

Begot (119 Occurrences)

Begat (112 Occurrences)

Commander (111 Occurrences)

Proper (62 Occurrences)

Prostitute (83 Occurrences)

E'phraim (146 Occurrences)

Buried (125 Occurrences)

Jephunneh (16 Occurrences)

Captain (167 Occurrences)

Vain (141 Occurrences)

Settled (112 Occurrences)

Judges (117 Occurrences)

Fail (130 Occurrences)

Dwelleth (142 Occurrences)

Games (2 Occurrences)

Dieth (192 Occurrences)

Fled (181 Occurrences)

Manas'seh (123 Occurrences)

Yearly (16 Occurrences)

You're (8 Occurrences)

Quietly (30 Occurrences)

Voweth (8 Occurrences)

Jephthae (1 Occurrence)

Jerubbaal (15 Occurrences)

Jerubba'al (11 Occurrences)

Lament (44 Occurrences)

Gilead's (1 Occurrence)

Gileadites (5 Occurrences)

We're (6 Occurrences)

Wife's (21 Occurrences)

Fighteth (23 Occurrences)

Father (11359 Occurrences)

Feud (1 Occurrence)

Fugitives (21 Occurrences)

Four (3139 Occurrences)

Timbrels (9 Occurrences)

Tambourines (13 Occurrences)

Renegades (1 Occurrence)

Recounting (5 Occurrences)

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