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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 12


The men of Ephraim gathered together and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, "Why do you go on to fight with the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house over you."


Jephthah answered them, "My soldiers and I were engaged in a critical contest with the Ammonites. I summoned you, but you did not rescue me from their power.


When I saw that you would not effect a rescue, I took my life in my own hand and went on to the Ammonites, and the LORD delivered them into my power. Why, then, do you come up against me this day to fight with me?"


Then Jephthah called together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim, whom they defeated; for the Ephraimites had said, "You of Gilead are Ephraimite fugitives in territory belonging to Ephraim and Manasseh."


The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan toward Ephraim. When any of the fleeing Ephraimites said, "Let me pass," the men of Gilead would say to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he answered, "No!"


1 they would ask him to say "Shibboleth." If he said "Sibboleth," not being able to give the proper pronunciation, they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time.


After having judged Israel for six years, Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.


After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.


He had thirty sons. He also had thirty daughters married outside the family, and he brought in as wives for his sons thirty young women from outside the family. After having judged Israel for seven years,


Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.


After him the Zebulunite Elon judged Israel. When he had judged Israel for ten years,


the Zebulunite Elon died and was buried in Elon in the land of Zebulun.


After him the Pirathonite Abdon, son of Hillel, judged Israel.


He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy saddle-asses. After having judged Israel for eight years,


the Pirathonite Abdon, son of Hillel, died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim on the mountain of the Amalekites.



1 [6] Shibboleth: "an ear of grain." But this Hebrew word can also mean "flood water" as in Psalm 69:3, 16. Apparently the Gileadites engaged the Ephraimites in conversation about the "flood water" of the Jordan. Differences in enunciating the initial sibilant of the Hebrew word betrayed different tribal affinities.

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