Judges 11:1-28

Jephthah the Ninth Judge

1 Now 1Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot *. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah.
2 Gilead's wife bore him sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, "You shall not have an inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman."
3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of 2Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah, and they went out with him.
4 It came about after a while that 3the sons of Ammon fought against Israel.
5 When the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob;
6 and they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon."
7 Then Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "4Did you not hate me and drive me from my father's house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?"
8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "For this reason we have now returned to you, that you may go with us and fight with the sons of Ammon and 5become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."
9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you take me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and the LORD gives them up to me, will I become your head?"
10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "6The LORD is witness between us; surely * we will do as you have said."
11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at 7Mizpah.
12 Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying, "What is between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?"
13 The king of the sons of Ammon said to the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel 8took away my land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the 9Jabbok and the Jordan; therefore, return them peaceably now."
14 But Jephthah sent messengers again * to the king of the sons of Ammon,
15 and they said to him, "Thus says Jephthah, 'Israel did not take away the land of Moab nor the land of the sons of Ammon.
16 'For when they came up from Egypt, and Israel 10went through the wilderness to the Red * Sea and 11came to Kadesh,
17 then Israel 12sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Please let us pass through your land," but the king of Edom would not listen. 13And they also sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.
18 'Then they went through the wilderness and 14around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came to the east * side * of the land of Moab, and they camped beyond the Arnon; but they 15did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.
19 'And Israel sent 16messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, "Please let us pass through your land to our place."
20 'But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered all his people and camped in Jahaz and fought with Israel.
21 'The LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they 17defeated them; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.
22 '18So they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan.
23 'Since now the LORD, the God of Israel, drove out the Amorites from before His people Israel, are you then to possess it?
24 'Do you not possess what 19Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever * the LORD our God has driven out before * us, we will possess it.
25 'Now are you any better than 20Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive with Israel, or did he ever fight against them?
26 '21While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time?
27 'I therefore have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me; 22may the LORD, the Judge, judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon.' "
28 But the king of the sons of Ammon disregarded * the message which Jephthah sent him.