The men of Ephraim mustered their troops, crossed to Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, "Why did you go out to fight the Ammonites without letting us go with you? We're going to burn your house down on you!"
Jephthah said, "I and my people had our hands full negotiating with the Ammonites. And I did call to you for help but you ignored me.
When I saw that you weren't coming, I took my life in my hands and confronted the Ammonites myself. And God gave them to me! So why did you show up here today? Are you spoiling for a fight with me?"
So Jephthah got his Gilead troops together and fought Ephraim. And the men of Gilead hit them hard because they were saying, "Gileadites are nothing but half-breeds and rejects from Ephraim and Manasseh."
Gilead captured the fords of the Jordan at the crossing to Ephraim. If an Ephraimite fugitive said, "Let me cross," the men of Gilead would ask, "Are you an Ephraimite?" and he would say, "No."
And they would say, "Say, 'Shibboleth.'" But he would always say, "Sibboleth" - he couldn't say it right. Then they would grab him and kill him there at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two Ephraimite divisions were killed on that occasion.
Jephthah judged Israel six years. Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city, Mizpah of Gilead.
After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)