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Judges 11-15

Jephthah

11Now Jephthah the Gileadite, the son of a prostitute, was a mighty warrior. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2Gilead’s wife also bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah away, saying to him, ‘You shall not inherit anything in our father’s house; for you are the son of another woman.’ 3Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Outlaws collected around Jephthah and went raiding with him.

After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel. 5And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6They said to Jephthah, ‘Come and be our commander, so that we may fight with the Ammonites.’ 7But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, ‘Are you not the very ones who rejected me and drove me out of my father’s house? So why do you come to me now when you are in trouble?’ 8The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, ‘Nevertheless, we have now turned back to you, so that you may go with us and fight with the Ammonites, and become head over us, over all the inhabitants of Gilead.’ 9Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, ‘If you bring me home again to fight with the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head.’ 10And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, ‘The Lord will be witness between us; we will surely do as you say.’ 11So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at Mizpah.

12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, ‘What is there between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?’ 13The king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, ‘Because Israel, on coming from Egypt, took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.’ 14Once again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites 15and said to him: ‘Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, 16but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea* and came to Kadesh. 17Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Let us pass through your land”; but the king of Edom would not listen. They also sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh. 18Then they journeyed through the wilderness, went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, arrived on the eastern side of the land of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon. They did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19Israel then sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, “Let us pass through your land to our country.” 20But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered all his people together, and encamped at Jahaz, and fought with Israel. 21Then the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel occupied all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22They occupied all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan. 23So now the Lord, the God of Israel, has conquered the Amorites for the benefit of his people Israel. Do you intend to take their place? 24Should you not possess what your god Chemosh gives you to possess? And should we not be the ones to possess everything that the Lord our God has conquered for our benefit? 25Now are you any better than King Balak son of Zippor of Moab? Did he ever enter into conflict with Israel, or did he ever go to war with them? 26While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the towns that are along the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? 27It is not I who have sinned against you, but you are the one who does me wrong by making war on me. Let the Lord, who is judge, decide today for the Israelites or for the Ammonites.’ 28But the king of the Ammonites did not heed the message that Jephthah sent him.

Jephthah’s Vow

29 Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh. He passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. 30And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, 31then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ 32So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them; and the Lord gave them into his hand. 33He inflicted a massive defeat on them from Aroer to the neighbourhood of Minnith, twenty towns, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel.

Jephthah’s Daughter

34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. 35When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’ 36She said to him, ‘My father, if you have opened your mouth to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the Lord has given you vengeance against your enemies, the Ammonites.’ 37And she said to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me: Grant me two months, so that I may go and wander* on the mountains, and bewail my virginity, my companions and I.’ 38‘Go,’ he said and sent her away for two months. So she departed, she and her companions, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains. 39At the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to the vow he had made. She had never slept with a man. So there arose an Israelite custom that 40for four days every year the daughters of Israel would go out to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Intertribal Dissension

12The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, ‘Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites, and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house down over you!’ 2Jephthah said to them, ‘My people and I were engaged in conflict with the Ammonites who oppressed us* severely. But when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. 3When I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hand, and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day, to fight against me?’ 4Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim; and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, ‘You are fugitives from Ephraim, you Gileadites—in the heart of Ephraim and Manasseh.’* 5Then the Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. Whenever one of the fugitives of Ephraim said, ‘Let me go over’, the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ When he said, ‘No’, 6they said to him, ‘Then say Shibboleth’, and he said, ‘Sibboleth’, for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites fell at that time.

Jephthah judged Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in his town in Gilead.*

Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon

After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9He had thirty sons. He gave his thirty daughters in marriage outside his clan and brought in thirty young women from outside for his sons. He judged Israel for seven years. 10Then Ibzan died, and was buried at Bethlehem.

11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel; and he judged Israel for ten years. 12Then Elon the Zebulunite died, and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After him Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys; he judged Israel for eight years. 15Then Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

The Birth of Samson

13The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren, having borne no children. 3And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son. 4Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean, 5for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite* to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.’ 6Then the woman came and told her husband, ‘A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like that of an angel* of God, most awe-inspiring; I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name; 7but he said to me, “You shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a nazirite* to God from birth to the day of his death.”

Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and teach us what we are to do concerning the boy who will be born.’ 9God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, ‘The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.’ 11Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the man and said to him, ‘Are you the man who spoke to this woman?’ And he said, ‘I am.’ 12Then Manoah said, ‘Now when your words come true, what is to be the boy’s rule of life; what is he to do?’ 13The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Let the woman give heed to all that I said to her. 14She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine. She is not to drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. She is to observe everything that I commanded her.’

15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, ‘Allow us to detain you, and prepare a kid for you.’ 16The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘If you detain me, I will not eat your food; but if you want to prepare a burnt-offering, then offer it to the Lord.’ (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, ‘What is your name, so that we may honour you when your words come true?’ 18But the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful.’

19 So Manoah took the kid with the grain-offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to him who works* wonders.* 20When the flame went up towards heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar while Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21The angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 22And Manoah said to his wife, ‘We shall surely die, for we have seen God.’ 23But his wife said to him, ‘If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt-offering and a grain-offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.’

24 The woman bore a son, and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25The spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson’s Marriage

14Once Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw a Philistine woman. 2Then he came up, and told his father and mother, ‘I saw a Philistine woman at Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.’ 3But his father and mother said to him, ‘Is there not a woman among your kin, or among all our* people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?’ But Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me, because she pleases me.’ 4His father and mother did not know that this was from the Lord; for he was seeking a pretext to act against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah. When he came to the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion roared at him. 6The spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as one might tear apart a kid. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she pleased Samson. 8After a while he returned to marry her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9He scraped it out into his hands, and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion.

10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson made a feast there as the young men were accustomed to do. 11When the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12Samson said to them, ‘Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty festal garments. 13But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty festal garments.’ So they said to him, ‘Ask your riddle; let us hear it.’ 14He said to them,
‘Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.’
But for three days they could not explain the riddle.

15 On the fourth* day they said to Samson’s wife, ‘Coax your husband to explain the riddle to us, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?’ 16So Samson’s wife wept before him, saying, ‘You hate me; you do not really love me. You have asked a riddle of my people, but you have not explained it to me.’ He said to her, ‘Look, I have not told my father or my mother. Why should I tell you?’ 17She wept before him for the seven days that their feast lasted; and because she nagged him, on the seventh day he told her. Then she explained the riddle to her people. 18The men of the town said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
‘What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?’
And he said to them,
‘If you had not ploughed with my heifer,
you would not have found out my riddle.’
19Then the spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and he went down to Ashkelon. He killed thirty men of the town, took their spoil, and gave the festal garments to those who had explained the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. 20And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

Samson Defeats the Philistines

15After a while, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife, bringing along a kid. He said, ‘I want to go into my wife’s room.’ But her father would not allow him to go in. 2Her father said, ‘I was sure that you had rejected her; so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister prettier than she? Why not take her instead?’ 3Samson said to them, ‘This time, when I do mischief to the Philistines, I will be without blame.’ 4So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took some torches; and he turned the foxes* tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5When he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and* olive groves. 6Then the Philistines asked, ‘Who has done this?’ And they said, ‘Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken Samson’s wife and given her to his companion.’ So the Philistines came up, and burned her and her father. 7Samson said to them, ‘If this is what you do, I swear I will not stop until I have taken revenge on you.’ 8He struck them down hip and thigh with great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah, and made a raid on Lehi. 10The men of Judah said, ‘Why have you come up against us?’ They said, ‘We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.’ 11Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and they said to Samson, ‘Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then have you done to us?’ He replied, ‘As they did to me, so I have done to them.’ 12They said to him, ‘We have come down to bind you, so that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.’ Samson answered them, ‘Swear to me that you yourselves will not attack me.’ 13They said to him, ‘No, we will only bind you and give you into their hands; we will not kill you.’ So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.

14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him; and the spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached down and took it, and with it he killed a thousand men. 16And Samson said,
‘With the jawbone of a donkey,
   heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
   I have slain a thousand men.’
17When he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and that place was called Ramath-lehi.*

18 By then he was very thirsty, and he called on the Lord, saying, ‘You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Am I now to die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?’ 19So God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came from it. When he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore it was named En-hakkore,* which is at Lehi to this day. 20And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years.

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29 April 2019

From the oremus Bible Browser https://bible.oremus.org v2.5.1 29 April 2019.