Judges 11:7-17

7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Are you not the very ones who rejected me and drove me out of my father's house? So why do you come to me now when you are in trouble?"
8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Nevertheless, we have now turned back to you, so that you may go with us and fight with the Ammonites, and become head over us, over all the inhabitants of Gilead."
9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me home again to fight with the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head."
10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The Lord will be witness between us; we will surely do as you say."
11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at Mizpah.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, "What is there between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?"
13 The king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel, on coming from Egypt, took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably."
14 Once again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites
15 and said to him: "Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites,
16 but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh.
17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Let us pass through your land'; but the king of Edom would not listen. They also sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.

Judges 11:7-17 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 11:7-17 In-Context

5 And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob.
6 They said to Jephthah, "Come and be our commander, so that we may fight with the Ammonites."
7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Are you not the very ones who rejected me and drove me out of my father's house? So why do you come to me now when you are in trouble?"
8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Nevertheless, we have now turned back to you, so that you may go with us and fight with the Ammonites, and become head over us, over all the inhabitants of Gilead."
9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me home again to fight with the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head."
10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The Lord will be witness between us; we will surely do as you say."
11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at Mizpah.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, "What is there between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?"
13 The king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel, on coming from Egypt, took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably."
14 Once again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites
15 and said to him: "Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites,
16 but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh.
17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Let us pass through your land'; but the king of Edom would not listen. They also sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.
18 Then they journeyed through the wilderness, went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, arrived on the east side of the land of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon. They did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab.
19 Israel then sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, "Let us pass through your land to our country.'

Footnotes 1

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.