Judges 12

Judges 12 has a turf war going on.  Jephthah has defeated the Ammonites but the men of Ephraim accuse him of not letting them come along for the fun.  “Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you”?  Seems a little strange that they are upset that they weren’t called to be part of the party.  They threaten Jephthah and threaten to burn his house.  They are staring Jephthah down and have their men called to arms.

Jephthah answers their charge.  “I and my people had a great dispute with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand. And when I saw that you would not save me, I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into my hand”.  He reminds them that they didn’t come to their aid and that he had to take his men into battle alone – a battle they won thank you Ephramites anyway.  Definitely some misinformation being thrown at him by these thugs.

They didn’t get their cue and decide that they will start a fight.  Of course, the same God that had helped Jephthah defeat the Ammonites helped him defeat the Ephraimites.  Not all of them were caught though, so he figured out how to catch them.  “When any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, Let me go over” and cross the river, they tested them.  “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right”.  And he seized and slaughtered those that were discovered.  He killed 42,000 of these enemy fighters.

Jephthah judged Israel six years.  He was followed by Ibzan who had 30 sons and 30 daughters.  He judged Israel seven years.  He was followed by Elon who led the way for 10 years.  And then comes Abdon who had 40 sons and 30 grandsons.  He led Israel eight years.  These guys served as judges and led the people – good and bad – and it was a pendulum swing back and forth.  Names we really don’t know, but men who had an important role in the history of Israel.

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