Judges 12

Listen to Judges 12

Jephthah's Conflict with Ephraim

1 1The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, "Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire."
2 And Jephthah said to them, "I and my people had a great dispute with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand.
3 And when I saw that you would not save me, 2I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?"
4 Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, 3"You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and Manasseh."
5 And the Gileadites captured 4the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, "Let me go over," the men of Gilead said to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" When he said, "No,"
6 they said to him, "Then say Shibboleth," and he said, "Sibboleth," for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at 5the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.
7 Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.[a]

Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon

8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.
9 He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.
10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.
11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years.
12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel.
14 He had forty 6sons and thirty grandsons, who 7rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years.
15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

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.

Cross References 7

  • 1. Judges 8:1
  • 2. 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21; Job 13:14; [Psalms 119:109]
  • 3. [1 Samuel 25:10]
  • 4. See Judges 3:28
  • 5. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 6. Job 18:19; Isaiah 14:22; [1 Timothy 5:4]
  • 7. Judges 5:10

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint; Hebrew in the cities of Gilead

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