Webster Bible Translation
Jephthah Delivers Israel
1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. 2And Gilead's wife bore him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said to him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. 3Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and they went out with him.
4And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6And they said to Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. 7And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, Did ye not hate me, and expel me from my father's house; and why have ye come to me now when ye are in distress? 8And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. 9And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head? 10And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, The LORD be a witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words. 11Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.
12And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou hast come against me to fight in my land? 13And the king of the children of Ammon answered to the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came out of Egypt, from Arnon even to Jabbok, and to Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably. 14And Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon: 15And said to him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon: 16But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness to the Red sea, and came to Kadesh; 17Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken to it. And in like manner they sent to the king of Moab; but he would not consent. And Israel abode in Kadesh. 18Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab. 19And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land to my place. 20But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon collected all his people, and encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22And they possessed all the borders of the Amorites, from Arnon even to Jabbok, and from the wilderness even to Jordan. 23So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldst thou possess it? 24Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess. 25And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them, 26While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that are along by the borders of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time? 27Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon. 28But, the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not to the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
Jephthah's Tragic Vow
29Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon 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. 30And Jephthah vowed a vow to the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into my hands, 31Then it shall be, that whatever cometh out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it for a burnt-offering. 32So Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. 33And he smote them from Aroer even till thou comest to Minnith, even twenty cities, and to the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
34And Jephthah came to Mizpeh to his house, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot go back. 36And she said to him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth to the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thy enemies, even of the children of Ammon. 37And she said to her father, Let this thing be done for me: Let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. 38And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.