Judges 12

Jephthah defeats the Ephraimites

1 The Ephraimites were called up for battle and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, "Why did you cross over to fight the Ammonites and not call us to go with you? We're going to burn down your house over you!"
2 Jephthah replied to them, "My people and I were in a great conflict with the Ammonites. But when I cried out to you, you didn't rescue me from their power.
3 When I saw that you weren't going to rescue me, I risked my own life and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the LORD handed them over to me. So why have you marched against me today to fight me?"
4 So Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought the Ephraimites. The Gileadites defeated the Ephraimites, because they had said, "You are fugitives from Ephraim! Gilead stands within Ephraim and Manasseh."
5 The Gileadites took control of the Jordan's crossing points into Ephraim. Whenever one of the Ephraimite fugitives said, "Let me cross," the Gileadites would ask him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, "No,"
6 they would tell him, "Then say shibboleth." But he would say, "sibboleth," because he couldn't pronounce it correctly. So they would seize him and kill him at the Jordan's crossing points. Forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites fell at that time.
7 Jephthah led Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the towns in Gilead.

Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon

8 After Jephthah, Ibzan from Bethlehem led Israel.
9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He married his thirty daughters to those outside his clan, and brought in thirty young women from outside for his sons. He led Israel for seven years.
10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After Ibzan, Elon from Zebulun led Israel; he did so for ten years.
12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After Elon, Abdon, Hillel's son from Pirathon, led Israel.
14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons mounted on seventy donkeys. He led Israel for eight years.
15 Then Abdon, Hillel's son from Pirathon, died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the Amalekite highlands.

Judges 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

Ephraimites quarrel with Jephthah. (1-7) Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon judge Israel. (8-15)

Verses 1-7 The Ephraimites had the same quarrel with Jephthah as with Gideon. Pride was at the bottom of the quarrel; only by that comes contention. It is ill to fasten names of reproach upon persons or countries, as is common, especially upon those under outward disadvantages. It often occasions quarrels that prove of ill consequence, as it did here. No contentions are so bitter as those between brethren or rivals for honour. What need we have to watch and pray against evil tempers! May the Lord incline all his people to follow after things which make for peace!

Verses 8-15 We have here a short account of three more of the judges of Israel. The happiest life of individuals, and the happiest state of society, is that which affords the fewest remarkable events. To live in credit and quiet, to be peacefully useful to those around us, to possess a clear conscience; but, above all, and without which nothing can avail, to enjoy communion with God our Saviour while we live, and to die at peace with God and man, form the substance of all that a wise man can desire.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JUDGES 12

This chapter relates a quarrel between Jephthah and the Ephraimites, which was fatal to the latter, Jud 12:1-6, the time of Jephthah judging Israel, his death and burial, Jud 12:7 and it briefly makes mention of three more judges of Israel, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, Jud 11:8-15.

Judges 12 Commentaries