1Now ⚓Jephthah the Gileadite was ⚓a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah.
2Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have ⚓no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”
3Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of ⚓Tob; and ⚓worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.
4It came to pass after a time that the ⚓people of Ammon made war against Israel.
5And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob.
6Then they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon.”
7So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, ⚓“Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”
8⚓And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have ⚓turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be ⚓our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
9So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?”
10And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, ⚓“The Lord will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.”
11Then 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 in Mizpah.
12Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, saying, ⚓“What do you have against me, that you have come to fight against me in my land?”
13And the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, ⚓“Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from ⚓the Arnon as far as ⚓the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably.”
14So Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon,
15and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: ⚓‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon;
16for when Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness as far as the Red Sea and ⚓came to Kadesh.
17Then ⚓Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let me pass through your land.” ⚓But the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the ⚓king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel ⚓remained in Kadesh.
18And they ⚓went along through the wilderness and ⚓bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.
19Then ⚓Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, “Please ⚓let us pass through your land into our place.”
20⚓But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together, encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
21And the Lord God of Israel ⚓delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they ⚓defeated them. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country.
22They took possession of ⚓all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan.
23‘And now the Lord God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it?
24Will you not possess whatever ⚓Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever ⚓the Lord our God takes possession of before us, we will possess.
25And now, are you any better than ⚓Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel? Did he ever fight against them?
26While Israel dwelt in ⚓Heshbon and its villages, in ⚓Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time?
27Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the Lord, ⚓the Judge, ⚓render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.’ ”
28However, the king of the people of Ammon did not heed the words which Jephthah sent him.
Jephthah’s Vow and Victory
29Then ⚓the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon.
30And Jephthah ⚓made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands,
31then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, ⚓shall surely be the Lord’s, ⚓and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”
32So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
33And he defeated them from Aroer as far as ⚓Minnith—twenty cities—and to Abel Keramim, with a very great slaughter. Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
34When Jephthah came to his house at ⚓Mizpah, there was ⚓his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.
35And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he ⚓tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I ⚓have given my word to the Lord, and ⚓I cannot go back on it.”
36So she said to him, “My father, if you have given your word to the Lord, ⚓do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because ⚓the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.”
37Then she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains and bewail my virginity, my friends and I.”
38So he said, “Go.” And he sent her away for two months; and she went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains.
39And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he ⚓carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man.
And it became a custom in Israel
40that the daughters of Israel went four days each year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.