11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a brave warrior. His mother was a prostitute, but Gilead was his father.1 11:2 Gilead’s wife also gave2 him sons. When his wife’s sons grew up, they made Jephthah leave and said to him, “You are not going to inherit any of our father’s wealth,3 because you are another woman’s son.” 11:3 So Jephthah left4 his half-brothers5 and lived in the land of Tob. Lawless men joined Jephthah’s gang and traveled with him.6
11:4 It was some time after this when the Ammonites fought with Israel.
11:5 When the Ammonites attacked,7 the leaders8 of Gilead asked Jephthah to come back9 from the land of Tob.
11:6 They said,10 “Come, be our commander, so we can fight with the Ammonites.”
11:7 Jephthah said to the leaders of Gilead, “But you hated me and made me leave11 my father’s house. Why do you come to me now, when you are in trouble?”
11:8 The leaders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That may be true,12 but now we pledge to you our loyalty.13 Come with us and fight with the Ammonites. Then you will become the leader14 of all who live in Gilead.”15
11:9 Jephthah said to the leaders of Gilead, “All right!16 If you take me back to fight with the Ammonites and the
Jephthah Gives a History Lesson
11:12 Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king, saying, “Why have22 you come against me to attack my land?” 11:13 The Ammonite king said to Jephthah’s messengers, “Because Israel stole23 my land when they24 came up from Egypt – from the Arnon River in the south to the Jabbok River in the north, and as far west as the Jordan.25 Now return it26 peaceably!”
11:14 Jephthah sent messengers back to the Ammonite king
11:15 and said to him, “This is what Jephthah says, ‘Israel did not steal27 the land of Moab and the land of the Ammonites.
11:16 When they left28 Egypt, Israel traveled29 through the desert as far as the Red Sea and then came to Kadesh.
11:17 Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please allow us30 to pass through your land.” But the king of Edom rejected the request.31 Israel sent the same request to the king of Moab, but he was unwilling to cooperate.32 So Israel stayed at Kadesh.
11:18 Then Israel33 went through the desert and bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab. They traveled east of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon River;34 they did not go through Moabite territory (the Arnon was Moab’s border).
11:19 Israel sent messengers to King Sihon, the Amorite king who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, “Please allow us to pass through your land to our land.”35
11:20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. He36 assembled his whole army,37 camped in Jahaz, and fought with Israel.
A Foolish Vow Spells Death for a Daughter
11:34 When Jephthah came home to Mizpah, there was his daughter hurrying out58 to meet him, dancing to the rhythm of tambourines.59 She was his only child; except for her he had no son or daughter.
11:35 When he saw her, he ripped his clothes and said, “Oh no! My daughter! You have completely ruined me!60 You have brought me disaster!61 I made an oath to the