Rise of Jephthah
11 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. Gilead was his father, but he was a prostitute’s son. 2 Gilead’s wife gave birth to other sons for him, and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah away. They told him, “You won’t get an inheritance in our father’s household because you’re a different woman’s son.” 3 So Jephthah ran away from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Worthless men gathered around Jephthah and became his posse.
4 Sometime afterward, the Ammonites made war against Israel. 5 And when the Ammonites attacked Israel, Gilead’s elders went to bring Jephthah back from the land of Tob. 6 They said to him, “Come be our commander so we can fight against the Ammonites.”
7 But Jephthah replied to Gilead’s elders, “Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me away from my father’s household? Why are you coming to me now when you’re in trouble?”
8 Gilead’s elders answered Jephthah, “That may be, but now we’re turning back to you, so come with us and fight the Ammonites. Then you’ll become the leader over us and everyone who lives in Gilead.”
9 And Jephthah said to Gilead’s elders, “If you bring me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them over to me, I alone will be your leader.”
10 Gilead’s elders replied to him, “The Lord is our witness; we will surely do what you’ve said.” 11 So Jephthah went with Gilead’s elders, and the people made him leader and commander over them. At Mizpah before the Lord, Jephthah repeated everything he had said.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king, saying, “What is the problem between us that you’ve come against me to make war in my land?”
13 The Ammonite king responded to Jephthah’s messengers, “When the Israelites were coming up from Egypt, they seized my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok and all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peacefully!”
14 Then Jephthah again sent messengers to the Ammonite king 15 and said to him, “Jephthah states: Israel didn’t seize the land of the Moabites or the land of the Ammonites. 16 When they were coming up from Egypt, the Israelites went through the desert to the Reed Sea[a] and came to Kadesh. 17 Then the Israelites sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please allow us to pass through your land’; but the Edomite king refused. They sent the same request to the king of Moab, and he was unwilling. So the Israelites stayed at Kadesh.
18 “Later they journeyed into the desert but went around the lands of Edom and Moab, arriving on the east side of the land of Moab and setting up camp on the other side of the Arnon. They never entered Moabite territory, because the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19 Then the Israelites sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites and king of Heshbon and said to him, ‘Please allow us to pass through your land to our own place.’ 20 Yet Sihon didn’t trust the Israelites to pass through his territory. He assembled his entire army, set up camp at Jahaz, and went to war with the Israelites. 21 The Lord, Israel’s God, handed over Sihon and his entire army to the Israelites, and they defeated Sihon. So the Israelites took possession of all the land of the Amorites who were living in that area. 22 They took possession of all the Amorite territory from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.
23 “So now that the Lord, Israel’s God, has driven out the Amorites before his people Israel, will you take possession of their land? 24 Shouldn’t you possess what Chemosh your god has given you to possess? And shouldn’t we possess everything that the Lord our God has given us to possess? 25 Do you now have a better case than Moab’s King Balak, Zippor’s son? Did he make an accusation against the Israelites or go to war with them? 26 Why didn’t you take back this territory while the Israelites lived in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the towns along the branches of the Arnon for three hundred years? 27 I haven’t sinned against you, but you’re doing me wrong by making war against me. Let the Lord, who is the judge, decide today between the Israelites and the Ammonites!”
28 But the Ammonite king refused to listen to the message that Jephthah sent to him.
29 Then the Lord’s spirit came on Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and Manasseh, then through Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he crossed over to the Ammonites. 30 Jephthah made a solemn promise to the Lord: “If you will decisively hand over the Ammonites to me, 31 then whatever comes out the doors of my house to meet me when I return victorious from the Ammonites will be given over to the Lord. I will sacrifice it as an entirely burned offering.” 32 Jephthah crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to him. 33 It was an exceptionally great defeat; he defeated twenty towns from Aroer to the area of Minnith, and on as far as Abel-keramim. So the Ammonites were brought down before the Israelites.
34 But when Jephthah came to his house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came out to meet him with tambourines and dancing! She was an only child; he had no other son or daughter except her. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Oh no! My daughter! You have brought me to my knees! You are my agony! For I opened my mouth to the Lord, and I can’t take it back.”
36 But she replied to him, “My father, you’ve opened your mouth to the Lord, so you should do to me just what you’ve promised. After all, the Lord has carried out just punishment for you on your enemies the Ammonites.” 37 Then she said to her father, “Let this one thing be done for me: hold off for two months and let me and my friends wander the hills in sadness, crying over the fact that I never had children.”
38 “Go,” he responded, and he sent her away for two months. She and her friends walked on the hills and cried because she would never have children.
39 When two months had passed, she returned to her father, and he did to her what he had promised. She had not known a man intimately. But she gave rise to a tradition in Israel where 40 for four days every year Israelite daughters would go away to recount the story of the Gileadite Jephthah’s daughter.
Jephthah defeats the Ephraimites
12 The Ephraimites were called up for battle and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight the Ammonites and not call us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over you!”
2 Jephthah replied to them, “My people and I were in a great conflict with the Ammonites. But when I cried out to you, you didn’t rescue me from their power. 3 When I saw that you weren’t going to rescue me, I risked my own life and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to me. So why have you marched against me today to fight me?”
4 So Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought the Ephraimites. The Gileadites defeated the Ephraimites, because they had said, “You are fugitives from Ephraim! Gilead stands within Ephraim and Manasseh.”
5 The Gileadites took control of the Jordan’s crossing points into Ephraim. Whenever one of the Ephraimite fugitives said, “Let me cross,” the Gileadites would ask him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6 they would tell him, “Then say shibboleth.” But he would say, “sibboleth,” because he couldn’t pronounce it correctly. So they would seize him and kill him at the Jordan’s crossing points. Forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites fell at that time.
7 Jephthah led Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the towns in Gilead.
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon
8 After Jephthah, Ibzan from Bethlehem led Israel. 9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He married his thirty daughters to those outside his clan, and brought in thirty young women from outside for his sons. He led Israel for seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After Ibzan, Elon from Zebulun led Israel; he did so for ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After Elon, Abdon, Hillel’s son from Pirathon, led Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons mounted on seventy donkeys. He led Israel for eight years. 15 Then Abdon, Hillel’s son from Pirathon, died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the Amalekite highlands.
- Judges 11:16 Or Red Sea
Story of the Word
1 In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
2 The Word was with God in the beginning.
3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,[a]
and the life was the light for all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.
9 The true light that shines on all people
was coming into the world.
10 The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn’t recognize the light.
11 The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn’t welcome him.
12 But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God’s children,
13 born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
14 The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.
15 John testified about him, crying out, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than me because he existed before me.’”
16 From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
17 as the Law was given through Moses,
so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.
God the only Son,
who is at the Father’s side,
has made God known.
19 This is John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 John confessed (he didn’t deny but confessed), “I’m not the Christ.”
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
John said, “I’m not.”
“Are you the prophet?”
John answered, “No.”
22 They asked, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John replied,
“I am a voice crying out in the wilderness,
Make the Lord’s path straight,[b]
just as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 Those sent by the Pharisees 25 asked, “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
26 John answered, “I baptize with water. Someone greater stands among you, whom you don’t recognize. 27 He comes after me, but I’m not worthy to untie his sandal straps.” 28 This encounter took place across the Jordan in Bethany where John was baptizing.
Of David. A psalm.
101 Oh, let me sing about faithful love and justice!
I want to sing my praises to you, Lord!
2 I want to study the way of integrity—
how long before it gets here?
I will walk with a heart of integrity
in my own house.
3 I won’t set my eyes on anything worthless.
I hate wrongdoing;
none of that will stick to me.
4 A corrupt heart will be far from me.
I won’t be familiar with evil.
5 I will destroy anyone
who secretly tells lies about a neighbor.
I can’t stomach anyone
who has proud eyes or an arrogant heart.
6 My eyes focus on those
who are faithful in the land,
to have them close to me.
The person who walks without blame
will work for me.
7 But the person who acts deceitfully
won’t stay in my house.
The person who tells lies
won’t last for long before me.
8 Every morning I will destroy
all those who are wicked in the land
in order to eliminate all evildoers
from the Lord’s city.
13 The heart feels pain even in laughter,
and in the end, joy turns to sorrow.
14 Rebellious hearts receive satisfaction from their ways;
the good receive the due reward for their deeds.