1. Now Jephthah, the Gileadite, was a mighty man of war. And he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead begat Jephthah.
2. And Gilead’s wife bore him sons. And his wife’s sons grew up, and they threw Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not inherit in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”
3. Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. And worthless men were gathered to Jephthah, and went out with him.
4. And it came to pass after some time that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.
5. And when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah out of the land of Tob.
6. And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, so that we may fight against the children of Ammon.”
7. And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Have you not hated me and thrown me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?”
8. And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “For this reason we turn again to you now, so that you may go with us and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the people of Gilead.”
9. And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them before me, shall I indeed be your head?”
10. And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The LORD is witness between us if we do not do so according to your word.”
11. And Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.
12. And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, “What have you to do with me, that you have come against me to fight in my land?”
13. And the king of the children of Ammon answered to the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even to Jabbok and to Jordan. Now therefore restore those lands peaceably.”
14. And Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon.
15. And he said to him, “So says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon.
16. But when they came up from Egypt, Israel walked through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh.
17. And Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “I pray you, let me pass through your land.” But the king of Edom would not listen. And in the same way they sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. And Israel stayed in Kadesh.
18. And they went along through the wilderness, and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but they did not come within the border of Moab; for Arnon was the border of Moab.
19. And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon. And Israel said to him, “We pray you, let us pass through your land to my place.”
20. But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his border, so Sihon gathered all his people together and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
21. And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them. So Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, who lived in that country.
22. And they possessed all the borders of the Amorites from Arnon even to Jabbok and from the wilderness even to Jordan.
23. So now the LORD God of Israel has put out the Amorites before His people Israel, and should you possess it?
24. Will you not possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whomever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, we will possess them.
25. And now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them
26. When Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities which are along by the borders of Arnon, for three hundred years? Why then did you not deliver them in that time?
27. Therefore, I have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong to war against me. The LORD, the Judge, will judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.’ ”
28. And the king of the children of Ammon did not hearken to the words of Jephthah which he sent to him.
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 passed over to the children of Ammon.
30. And Jephthah vowed a vow to the LORD, and said, “If You will indeed give the children of Ammon into my hand,
31. Then it shall be that whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, surely it shall belong to the LORD, or I will offer it up instead of a burnt offering.”
32. And Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them. And the LORD delivered them into his hand.
33. And he struck them from Aroer even until you come to Minnith, twenty cities, and to the meadow of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. So were the children of Ammon subdued before the children of Israel.
34. And Jephthah came to Mizpeh to his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with drums and with dances. And she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.
35. And it came to pass when he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are one of those who trouble me, for I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot go back.”
36. And she said to him, “My father, if you have opened your mouth to the LORD, do to me according to that which has come out of your mouth because the LORD has taken vengeance for you upon your enemies, even of the children of Ammon.”
37. And she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me. Let me alone two months, so that I may go up and down upon the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.”
38. And he said, “Go.” And he sent her away for two months. And she went with her companions and wept for her virginity upon the mountains.
39. And it came to pass at the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her his vow which he had vowed. And she knew no man. And it is a custom in Israel,
40. That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, four days in a year.
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