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Jephthah

Hebrew: יִפְתָּח —transliteration: Yiphtach —meaning: “He opens,” whom God sets free, or the breaker through

also known as: Jiphtah (Joshua 15:43 KJV) and Iphtah (Joshua 15:43 NASB)

This is the name of a Biblical man, great warrior and Judge.

His father is Gilead, which makes him a Gileadite.

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. And Gilead had fathered Jephthah. —Judges 11:1 NIV

Jephthah grew to be a “mighty man of valor” (Judges 11:1 KJV) who delivered Israel from the oppression of the Ammonites (Judges 11:1-33), and judged the Israelites for six years (Judges 12:7).

He was Israel’s 9th Judge.

He has been described as “a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, a sort of warrior Elijah.”

After 45 years of comparative quiet, Israel again apostatized, and in “process of time the children of Ammon made war against Israel” (Judg. 11:5 KJV).

In their distress the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob, to which he had fled when driven out wrongfully by his brothers from his father's inheritance, and the people made him their head and captain. The “elders of Gilead” in their extremity summoned him to their aid, and he at once undertook the conduct of the war against Ammon. Twice he sent an ambassadors to the king of Ammon, but in vain. War was inevitable.

The Israelite people obeyed his summons, and “the spirit of the Lord came upon him.” Before engaging in war he foolishly vowed that if successful he would offer as a “burnt-offering” whatever would come out of the door of his house first to meet him on his return. The defeat of the Ammonites was complete.

“He smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards [Hebrew: 'Abel Keramim], with a very great slaughter” (Judges 11:33 KJV).

The men of Ephraim regarded themselves as insulted in not having been called by Jephthah to go with him to war against Ammon. This led to a war between the men of Gilead and Ephraim (Judg. 12:4), in which many of the Ephraimites perished.

…Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. —Judges 12:7 NASB excerpt

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Article Version: July 13, 2021