Jephthah and Ephraim

The men of Ephraim called all their soldiers together and crossed the river to the town of Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why didn’t you call us to help you fight the Ammonites? We will burn your house down with you in it.”

Jephthah answered them, “My people and I fought a great battle against the Ammonites. I called you, but you didn’t come to help me. When I saw that you would not help me, I risked my own life and went against the Ammonites. The Lord handed them over to me. So why have you come to fight against me today?”

Then Jephthah called the men of Gilead together and fought the men of Ephraim. The men of Gilead struck them down because the Ephraimites had said, “You men of Gilead are nothing but deserters from Ephraim—living between Ephraim and Manasseh.” The men of Gilead captured the crossings of the Jordan River that led to the country of Ephraim. A person from Ephraim trying to escape would say, “Let me cross the river.” Then the men of Gilead would ask him, “Are you from Ephraim?” If he replied no, they would say to him, “Say the word ‘Shibboleth.’” The men of Ephraim could not say that word correctly. So if the person from Ephraim said, “Sibboleth,” the men of Gilead would kill him at the crossing. So forty-two thousand people from Ephraim were killed at that time.

Jephthah was a judge for Israel for six years. Then Jephthah, the man from Gilead, died and was buried in a town in Gilead.

Ibzan, the Judge

After Jephthah died, Ibzan from Bethlehem was a judge for Israel. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He let his daughters marry men who were not in his family group, and he brought thirty women who were not in his tribe to be wives for his sons. Ibzan judged Israel for seven years. 10 Then he died and was buried in Bethlehem.

Elon, the Judge

11 After Ibzan died, Elon from the tribe of Zebulun was a judge for Israel. He judged Israel for ten years. 12 Then Elon, the man of Zebulun, died and was buried in the city of Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

Abdon, the Judge

13 After Elon died, Abdon son of Hillel from the city of Pirathon was a judge for Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He judged Israel for eight years. 15 Then Abdon son of Hillel died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mountains where the Amalekites lived.