Accessibility setting


Select language

Skip to secondary menu

Skip to table of contents

Skip to content

Jehovah’s Witnesses


Online Bible


Judges 11:1-40

11  Now Jeph′thah+ the Gil′e·ad·ite+ had become a mighty, valiant man,+ and he was the son of a prostitute+ woman, and Gil′e·ad came to be the father of Jeph′thah.  And Gil′e·ad’s wife kept bearing sons to him. When the sons of the wife got big, they proceeded to drive Jeph′thah out and to say to him: “You must have no inheritance in the household of our father,+ for you are the son of another woman.”  So Jeph′thah ran away because of his brothers and took up dwelling in the land of Tob.+ And idle men kept bringing themselves together to Jeph′thah, and they would go out with him.+  And it came about after a while that the sons of Am′mon began to fight against Israel.+  And it came about that when the sons of Am′mon did fight against Israel,+ the older men of Gil′e·ad immediately went to take Jeph′thah out of the land of Tob.+  Then they said to Jeph′thah: “Do come and serve as our commander, and let us fight against the sons of Am′mon.”  But Jeph′thah said to the older men+ of Gil′e·ad: “Was it not YOU that hated me so that YOU drove me out of my father’s house?+ And why is it that YOU have come to me now just when YOU are in distress?”+  At this the older men of Gil′e·ad said to Jeph′thah: “That is why now we have returned+ to you, and you must go with us and fight against the sons of Am′mon, and you must become for us the head of all the inhabitants of Gil′e·ad.”+  So Jeph′thah said to the older men of Gil′e·ad: “If YOU are bringing me back to fight against the sons of Am′mon, and Jehovah does abandon+ them to me, I, for my part, shall become YOUR head!” 10  In turn the older men of Gil′e·ad said to Jeph′thah: “Let Jehovah prove to be the listener between us+ if the way we shall do is not according to your word.”+ 11  Consequently Jeph′thah went with the older men of Gil′e·ad and the people set him over them as head and commander.+ And Jeph′thah proceeded to speak all his words before Jehovah+ in Miz′pah.+ 12  Then Jeph′thah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Am′mon,+ saying: “What do I have to do with you,*+ seeing that you have come against me to fight in my land?” 13  So the king of the sons of Am′mon said to the messengers of Jeph′thah: “It is because Israel took my land when they came up out of Egypt,+ from the Ar′non+ as far as the Jab′bok and as far as the Jordan.+ And now do return it peacefully.” 14  But Jeph′thah sent once more messengers to the king of the sons of Am′mon 15  and said to him: “This is what Jeph′thah has said, ‘Israel did not take the land of Mo′ab+ and the land of the sons of Am′mon.+ 16  For when they came up out of Egypt Israel went walking through the wilderness as far as the Red Sea+ and got to come to Ka′desh.+ 17  Then Israel sent messengers to the king of E′dom,+ saying: “Let me pass, please, through your land,” and the king of E′dom did not listen. And also to the king of Mo′ab+ they sent, and he did not consent. And Israel kept dwelling in Ka′desh.+ 18  When they walked on through the wilderness, they went their way around the land of E′dom+ and the land of Mo′ab, so that they went toward the rising of the sun as respects the land of Mo′ab*+ and took up camping in the region of the Ar′non; and they did not come within the boundary of Mo′ab,+ because Ar′non was the boundary of Mo′ab.+ 19  “‘After that Israel sent messengers to Si′hon the king of the Am′or·ites, the king of Hesh′bon,+ and Israel said to him: “Let us pass, please, through your land to my own place.”+ 20  And Si′hon did not feel sure about Israel’s crossing through his territory, and Si′hon went gathering all his people together and camping in Ja′haz+ and fighting against Israel.+ 21  At this Jehovah the God of Israel gave Si′hon and all his people into Israel’s hand, so that they struck them and Israel took possession of all the land of the Am′or·ites inhabiting that land.+ 22  Thus they took possession of all the territory of the Am′or·ites from the Ar′non as far as the Jab′bok and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan.+ 23  “‘And now Jehovah the God of Israel it was that dispossessed the Am′or·ites from before his people Israel,+ and you, for your part, would dispossess* them. 24  Is it not whomever Che′mosh+ your god* causes you to dispossess that you will dispossess?* And every one whom Jehovah our God has dispossessed from before us is the one we shall dispossess.*+ 25  And now are you any better than Ba′lak the son of Zip′por, the king of Mo′ab?+ Did he ever contend with Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26  While Israel was dwelling in Hesh′bon and its dependent towns+ and in A·ro′er+ and its dependent towns and in all the cities that are by the banks of Ar′non for three hundred years, why, then, did you never snatch them away during that time?+ 27  As for me, I have not sinned against you, but you are dealing wrong with me by fighting against me. Let Jehovah the Judge+ judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Am′mon.’” 28  And the king of the sons of Am′mon did not listen to the words of Jeph′thah that he had sent to him.+ 29  Jehovah’s spirit now came upon Jeph′thah,+ and he proceeded to pass through Gil′e·ad and Ma·nas′seh and to pass through Miz′peh of Gil′e·ad,+ and from Miz′peh of Gil′e·ad he passed along to the sons of Am′mon. 30  Then Jeph′thah made a vow+ to Jehovah and said: “If you without fail give the sons of Am′mon into my hand, 31  it must also occur that the one coming out, who comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace+ from the sons of Am′mon, must also become Jehovah’s,+ and I must offer that one up as a burnt offering.”+ 32  So Jeph′thah passed along to the sons of Am′mon to fight against them, and Jehovah proceeded to give them into his hand. 33  And he went striking them from A·ro′er all the way to Min′nith+—twenty cities—and as far as A′bel-ker′a·mim with a very great slaughter. Thus the sons of Am′mon were subdued before the sons of Israel. 34  Finally Jeph′thah came to Miz′pah+ to his home, and, look! his daughter coming out to meet him with tambourine playing and dancing!*+ Now she was absolutely the only child.* Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35  And it came about that when he caught sight of her, he began to rip his garments+ and to say: “Alas, my daughter! You have indeed made me bend down, and you yourself have become the one I was ostracizing. And I—I have opened my mouth to Jehovah, and I am unable to turn back.”+ 36  But she said to him: “My father, if you have opened your mouth to Jehovah, do to me according to what has gone forth from your mouth,+ since Jehovah has executed acts of vengeance for you upon your enemies, the sons of Am′mon.” 37  And she went on to say to her father: “Let this thing be done to me: Let me alone for two months, and let me go, and I will descend upon the mountains, and let me weep over my virginity,+ I and my girl companions.” 38  At this he said: “Go!” So he sent her away for two months; and she kept going, she with her girl companions, and weeping over her virginity upon the mountains. 39  And it came about at the end of two months that she made her return to her father, after which he carried out his vow that he had made toward her.+ As for her, she never had relations with a man. And it came to be a regulation in Israel: 40  From year to year the daughters of Israel would go to give commendation to* the daughter of Jeph′thah the Gil′e·ad·ite, four days in the year.+


Lit., “What [is there] to me and to you?” A Heb. idiom; a repellent question indicating objection. See App 7B.
Or, “they went to the east of the land of Moab.”
“Inherit,” LXX; Vg, “take possession of.”
“Your god.” Heb., ʼelo·hey′kha; Gr., the·os′; Lat., de′us; LXXVg understood ʼelo·hey′kha (from ʼelo·him′) to be pl. to denote excellence and therefore rendered it in the sing.
“Inherit,” LXX; Vg, “be due [to you] by right.”
“Inherit,” LXX; Vg, “fall to our possession.”
Lit., “with tambourines and dances.”
“Now she was absolutely the only child.” Lit., “And only she, she alone.” Heb., weraq′ hiʼ yechi·dhah′; LXX(Gr., mo·no·ge·nes′)Vg(Lat., u·ni·ge′ni·ta), “only-begotten.” Compare Ge 22:2. See Lu 8:42 ftn.
“To bewail,” LXX; by a correction of M, “go to answer (to converse with).” See 5:11 where the same Heb. verb, ta·nah′, “recount,” is used.