March 21

Judges 11:1 — 13:25

11 Now Jephthah the Gileadite had become a mighty, valiant man, and he was the son of a prostitute woman, and Gilead came to be the father of Jephthah. 2 And Gilead’s wife kept bearing sons to him. When the sons of the wife got big, they proceeded to drive Jephthah out and to say to him: “You must have no inheritance in the household of our father, for you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah ran away because of his brothers and took up dwelling in the land of Tob. And idle men kept bringing themselves together to Jephthah, and they would go out with him.

4 And it came about after a while that the sons of Ammon began to fight against Israel. 5 And it came about that when the sons of Ammon did fight against Israel, the older men of Gilead immediately went to take Jephthah out of the land of Tob. 6 Then they said to Jephthah: “Do come and serve as our commander, and let us fight against the sons of Ammon.” 7 But Jephthah said to the older men of Gilead: “Was it not YOU that hated me so that YOU drove me out of my father’s house? And why is it that YOU have come to me now just when YOU are in distress?” 8 At this the older men of Gilead said to Jephthah: “That is why now we have returned to you, and you must go with us and fight against the sons of Ammon, and you must become for us the head of all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9 So Jephthah said to the older men of Gilead: “If YOU are bringing me back to fight against the sons of Ammon, and Jehovah does abandon them to me, I, for my part, shall become YOUR head!” 10 In turn the older men of Gilead said to Jephthah: “Let Jehovah prove to be the listener between us if the way we shall do is not according to your word.” 11 Consequently Jephthah went with the older men of Gilead and the people set him over them as head and commander. And Jephthah proceeded to speak all his words before Jehovah in Mizpah.

12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying: “What do I have to do with you, seeing that you have come against me to fight in my land?” 13 So the king of the sons of Ammon said to the messengers of Jephthah: “It is because Israel took my land when they came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and as far as the Jordan. And now do return it peacefully.” 14 But Jephthah sent once more messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon 15 and said to him:

“This is what Jephthah has said, ‘Israel did not take the land of Moab and the land of the sons of Ammon. 16 For when they came up out of Egypt Israel went walking through the wilderness as far as the Red Sea and got to come to Kadesh. 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying: “Let me pass, please, through your land,” and the king of Edom did not listen. And also to the king of Moab they sent, and he did not consent. And Israel kept dwelling in Kadesh. 18 When they walked on through the wilderness, they went their way around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, so that they went toward the rising of the sun as respects the land of Moab and took up camping in the region of the Arnon; and they did not come within the boundary of Moab, because Arnon was the boundary of Moab.

19 “‘After that Israel sent messengers to Sihon the king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him: “Let us pass, please, through your land to my own place.” 20 And Sihon did not feel sure about Israel’s crossing through his territory, and Sihon went gathering all his people together and camping in Jahaz and fighting against Israel. 21 At this Jehovah the God of Israel gave Sihon and all his people into Israel’s hand, so that they struck them and Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites inhabiting that land. 22 Thus they took possession of all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan.

23 “‘And now Jehovah the God of Israel it was that dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and you, for your part, would dispossess them. 24 Is it not whomever Chemosh your god causes you to dispossess that you will dispossess? And every one whom Jehovah our God has dispossessed from before us is the one we shall dispossess. 25 And now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, the king of Moab? Did he ever contend with Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26 While Israel was dwelling in Heshbon and its dependent towns and in Aroer and its dependent towns and in all the cities that are by the banks of Arnon for three hundred years, why, then, did you never snatch them away during that time? 27 As for me, I have not sinned against you, but you are dealing wrong with me by fighting against me. Let Jehovah the Judge judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon.’”

28 And the king of the sons of Ammon did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he had sent to him.

29 Jehovah’s spirit now came upon Jephthah, and he proceeded to pass through Gilead and Manasseh and to pass through Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed along to the sons of Ammon.

30 Then Jephthah made a vow to Jehovah and said: “If you without fail give the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31 it must also occur that the one coming out, who comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, must also become Jehovah’s, and I must offer that one up as a burnt offering.”

32 So Jephthah passed along to the sons of Ammon to fight against them, and Jehovah proceeded to give them into his hand. 33 And he went striking them from Aroer all the way to Minnith—twenty cities—and as far as Abel-keramim with a very great slaughter. Thus the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.

34 Finally Jephthah came to Mizpah to his home, and, look! his daughter coming out to meet him with tambourine playing and dancing! Now she was absolutely the only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came about that when he caught sight of her, he began to rip his garments and to say: “Alas, my daughter! You have indeed made me bend down, and you yourself have become the one I was ostracizing. And I—I have opened my mouth to Jehovah, and I am unable to turn back.”

36 But she said to him: “My father, if you have opened your mouth to Jehovah, do to me according to what has gone forth from your mouth, since Jehovah has executed acts of vengeance for you upon your enemies, the sons of Ammon.” 37 And she went on to say to her father: “Let this thing be done to me: Let me alone for two months, and let me go, and I will descend upon the mountains, and let me weep over my virginity, I and my girl companions.”

38 At this he said: “Go!” So he sent her away for two months; and she kept going, she with her girl companions, and weeping over her virginity upon the mountains. 39 And it came about at the end of two months that she made her return to her father, after which he carried out his vow that he had made toward her. As for her, she never had relations with a man. And it came to be a regulation in Israel: 40 From year to year the daughters of Israel would go to give commendation to the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, four days in the year.

12 Then the men of Ephraim were called together and crossed over northward and said to Jephthah: “Why is it that you crossed over to fight against the sons of Ammon, and to us you did not issue a call to go with you? Your very house we shall burn over you with fire.” 2 But Jephthah said to them: “I became a special contender, I and my people, with the sons of Ammon. And I proceeded to call to YOU for aid, and YOU did not save me out of their hand. 3 When I got to see that you were no savior, then I determined to put my soul in my own palm and go over against the sons of Ammon. At that Jehovah gave them into my hand. So why have YOU come up against me this day to fight against me?”

4 Immediately Jephthah collected all the men of Gilead together and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead went striking Ephraim down, for they had said: “Men escaped from Ephraim is what YOU are, O Gilead, inside of Ephraim, inside of Manasseh.” 5 And Gilead got to capture the fords of the Jordan ahead of Ephraim; and it occurred that when the escaping men of Ephraim would say: “Let me pass over,” then the men of Gilead would say to each one: “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he would say: “No!” 6 then they would say to him: “Please say Shibboleth.” And he would say: “Sibboleth,” as he was unable to say the word correctly. And they would lay hold of him and slay him at the fords of the Jordan. So there fell at that time forty-two thousand out of Ephraim.

7 And Jephthah continued to judge Israel for six years, after which Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.

8 And Ibzan from Bethlehem began to judge Israel after him. 9 And he came to have thirty sons and thirty daughters. He sent outside and brought in thirty daughters for his sons from outside. And he continued to judge Israel for seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

11 And after him Elon the Zebulunite began to judge Israel. And he continued to judge Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite began to judge Israel. 14 And he came to have forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy full-grown asses. And he continued to judge Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim in the mountain of the Amalekite.

13 And the sons of Israel engaged again in doing what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, so that Jehovah gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

2 Meanwhile there happened to be a certain man of Zorah of the family of the Danites, and his name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had borne no child. 3 In time Jehovah’s angel appeared to the woman and said to her: “Look, now, you are barren and have borne no child. And you will certainly become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 And now watch yourself, please, and do not drink wine or intoxicating liquor, and do not eat anything unclean. 5 For, look! you will be pregnant, and you will certainly give birth to a son, and no razor should come upon his head, because a Nazirite of God is what the child will become on leaving the belly; and he it is who will take the lead in saving Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

6 Then the woman went and said to her husband: “There was a man of the [true] God that came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of the [true] God, very fear-inspiring. And I did not ask him from just where he was, neither did he tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘Look! You will be pregnant, and you will certainly give birth to a son. And now do not drink wine or intoxicating liquor, and do not eat any unclean thing, because a Nazirite of God is what the child will become on leaving the belly until the day of his death.’”

8 And Manoah began to entreat Jehovah and say: “Excuse me, Jehovah. The man of the [true] God that you just sent, let him, please, come again to us and instruct us as to what we ought to do to the child that will be born.” 9 Accordingly the [true] God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of the [true] God came again to the woman while she was sitting in the field, and Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 Immediately the woman hurried and ran and told her husband and said to him: “Look! The man that came the other day to me has appeared to me.”

11 At that Manoah got up and accompanied his wife and came to the man and said to him: “Are you the man that spoke to the woman?” to which he said: “I am.” 12 Then Manoah said: “Now let your words come true. What will become the child’s mode of life and his work?” 13 So Jehovah’s angel said to Manoah: “From everything that I mentioned to the woman she should keep herself. 14 Nothing at all that comes forth from the wine vine should she eat, and no wine or intoxicating liquor let her drink, and no unclean thing of any sort let her eat. Everything that I have commanded her let her keep.”

15 Manoah now said to Jehovah’s angel: “Let us, please, detain you and fix up a kid of the goats before you.” 16 But Jehovah’s angel said to Manoah: “If you detain me, I shall not feed myself on your bread; but if you will render up a burnt offering to Jehovah, you may offer it up.” For Manoah did not know that he was Jehovah’s angel. 17 Then Manoah said to Jehovah’s angel: “What is your name, that when your word comes true we shall certainly do you honor?” 18 However, Jehovah’s angel said to him: “Just why should you ask about my name, when it is a wonderful one?”

19 And Manoah proceeded to take the kid of the goats and the grain offering and to offer it upon the rock to Jehovah. And He was doing something in a wonderful way while Manoah and his wife were looking on. 20 So it came about that, as the flame ascended from off the altar heavenward, then Jehovah’s angel ascended in the flame of the altar while Manoah and his wife were looking on. At once they fell upon their faces to the earth. 21 And Jehovah’s angel did not repeat appearing to Manoah and his wife anymore. Then it was that Manoah knew that he had been Jehovah’s angel. 22 Consequently Manoah said to his wife: “We shall positively die, because it is God that we have seen.” 23 But his wife said to him: “If Jehovah had been delighted only to put us to death, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hand, and he would not have shown us all these things, and he would not as now have let us hear anything like this.”

24 Later the woman gave birth to a son and called his name Samson; and the boy kept getting bigger, and Jehovah continued to bless him. 25 In time Jehovah’s spirit started to impel him in Mahaneh-dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.