Jephthah was a mighty warrior. He was from the land of Gilead. His father's name was Gilead. Jephthah's mother was a prostitute.
Gilead's wife also had sons by him. When they had grown up, they drove Jephthah away. "You aren't going to get any share of our family's property," they said. "You are the son of another woman."
So Jephthah ran away from his brothers. He settled in the land of Tob. A group of men who weren't good for anything gathered around him there. And they followed him.
Some time later, the Ammonites went to war against Israel.
So the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob.
"Come with us," they said. "Be our commander. Then we can fight against the Ammonites."
Jephthah said to them, "Didn't you hate me? Didn't you drive me away from my father's house? Why are you coming to me only when you are in trouble?"
The elders of Gilead replied to him. "You are right," they said. "That's why we're turning to you now. Come with us and fight against the Ammonites. Then you will be our leader. You will rule over everyone who lives in Gilead."
Jephthah said, "Suppose you take me back to fight against the Ammonites. And suppose the LORD gives them over to me. Then will I really be your leader?"