Judges 11:29-40

29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.
30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands,
31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands.
33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.”
36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.
37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”
38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry.
39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite tradition
40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Judges 11:29 in Other Translations

KJV
29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
ESV
29 Then the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites.
NLT
29 At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites.
MSG
29 God's Spirit came upon Jephthah. He went across Gilead and Manasseh, went through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there approached the Ammonites.
CSB
29 The Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah, who traveled through Gilead and Manasseh, and then through Mizpah of Gilead. He crossed over to the Ammonites from Mizpah of Gilead.

Judges 11:29-40 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JUDGES 11

This chapter gives an account of another judge of Israel, Jephthah, of his descent and character, Jud 11:1-3 of the call the elders of Gilead gave him to be their captain general, and lead out their forces against the Ammonites, and the agreement he made with them, Jud 11:4-11 of the message he sent to the children of Ammon, which brought on a dispute between him and them about the land Israel possessed on that side Jordan the Ammonites claimed; Israel's right to which Jephthah defended, and made it clearly to appear, hoping thereby to put an end to the quarrel without shedding of blood, Jud 11:12-27 but the children of Ammon not attending to what he said, he prepared to give them battle, and previous to it he made a vow, and then set forward and fought them, and got the victory over them, Jud 11:28-33 and the chapter concludes with the difficulties Jephthah was embarrassed with upon his return home, on account of his vow, and the performance of it, Jud 11:34-40.

Judges 11:29-40 In-Context

27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the LORD, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”
28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.
29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.
30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands,
31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands.
33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.”
36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.
37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”
38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry.
39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite tradition
40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Cross References 15

  • 1. Numbers 11:25; S Judges 3:10; Judges 6:34; Judges 14:6,19; Judges 15:14; 1 Samuel 11:6; 1 Samuel 16:13; Isaiah 11:2
  • 2. S Genesis 31:49
  • 3. S Judges 10:17
  • 4. S Genesis 28:20; Numbers 30:10; 1 Samuel 1:11; Proverbs 31:2
  • 5. Genesis 28:21
  • 6. S Genesis 8:20; Leviticus 1:3; Judges 13:16
  • 7. Ezekiel 27:17
  • 8. S Exodus 15:20
  • 9. S Genesis 31:27; S Exodus 15:20; Jeremiah 31:4
  • 10. Zechariah 12:10
  • 11. S Numbers 14:6
  • 12. Numbers 30:2; S Deuteronomy 23:21; Ecc 5:2,4,5
  • 13. Luke 1:38
  • 14. S Numbers 31:3
  • 15. 2 Samuel 18:19
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