Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”
The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.”
Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the LORD gives them to me—will I really be your head?”
The elders of Gilead replied, “The LORD is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.”
So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.
Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king with the question: “What do you have against me that you have attacked my country?”
The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah’s messengers, “When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably.”
Jephthah sent back messengers to the Ammonite king,
saying: “This is what Jephthah says: Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites.
But when they came up out of Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and on to Kadesh.
Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Give us permission to go through your country,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent also to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Israel stayed at Kadesh.