Jephthah Delivers Israel
11 Now dJephthah the Gileadite was ea mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 And Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. And when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of fTob, and gworthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him.
4 After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel. 5 And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of fTob. 6 And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.” 7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of 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 to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the Ammonites and hbe our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight against the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head.” 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, i“The Lord will be witness between us, if we do not do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people jmade him head and leader over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words kbefore the Lord at lMizpah.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, “What do you have against me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13 And the king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, m“Because Israel on coming up from Egypt took away my land, from the nArnon to the oJabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” 14 Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites 15 and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: pIsrael did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, 16 but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness qto the Red Sea and rcame to Kadesh. 17 sIsrael then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ tbut the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel uremained at Kadesh.
18 “Then they journeyed through the wilderness and vwent around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and warrived on the east side of the land of Moab and xcamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19 yIsrael then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’ 20 but 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. 21 And the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22 And they took possession of all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan. 23 So then the Lord, the God of Israel, dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel; and are you to take possession of them? 24 Will you not possess what zChemosh your god gives you to possess? aAnd all that the Lord our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25 Now are you any better than bBalak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend against Israel, or did he ever go to war with them? 26 While Israel lived cin Heshbon and its villages, and din Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, 300 years, why did you not deliver them within that time? 27 I therefore have not sinned against you, and you do me wrong by making war on me. eThe Lord, the Judge, decide this day between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon.” 28 But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent to him.
Jephthah’s Tragic Vow
29 fThen the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah gmade a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, 31 then whatever1 comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites hshall be the Lord’s, and iI will offer it2 up for a burnt offering.” 32 So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand. 33 And he struck them from Aroer to the neighborhood of jMinnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a great blow. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel.
34 Then Jephthah came to his home at kMizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him lwith tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, mand I cannot take back my vow.” 36 And she said to him, “My father, 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 avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” 37 So she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.” 38 So he said, “Go.” Then he sent her away for two months, and she departed, she and her companions, and wept for her virginity on the mountains. 39 And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, nwho did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel 40 that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.
Jephthah’s Conflict with Ephraim
12 oThe 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 over you with fire.” 2 And Jephthah said to them, “I and my people had a great dispute with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand. 3 And when I saw that you would not save me, pI 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?” 4 Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, q“You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and Manasseh.” 5 And the Gileadites captured rthe fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” 6 they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at rthe fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.
7 Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.1
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon
8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.
11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty ssons and thirty grandsons, who trode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the 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
2 There was a certain man of wZorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. xAnd his wife was barren and had no children. 3 yAnd the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful zand drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. aNo razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be za Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall bbegin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, c“A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. dI did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, 7 but he said to me, e‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”
8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 And Manoah arose and went after 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.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, fwhat is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” 13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, gneither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”
15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and hprepare a young goat for you.” 16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, i“What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 And the angel of the Lord said to him, j“Why do you ask my name, seeing kit is wonderful?” 19 So lManoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works1 wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, mand they fell on their faces to the ground.
21 The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. nThen Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, n“We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But 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 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. oAnd the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 pAnd the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between qZorah and Eshtaol.
14 rSamson went down to sTimnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. tNow get her for me as my wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters uof your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the vuncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”
5 Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. 6 yThen the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes.
8 After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9 He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.
10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. 11 As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 And Samson said to them, z“Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within athe seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty bchanges of clothes, 13 but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 And he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.”
And in three days they could not solve the riddle.
15 On the fourth1 day they said to Samson’s wife, c“Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, dlest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” 16 And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, e“You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” 17 She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because fshe pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. 18 And the men of the city 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 plowed with my heifer,
you would not have found out my riddle.”
19 gAnd the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to hAshkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to ihis companion, jwho had been his best man.
Samson Defeats the Philistines
15 After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with ka young goat. And he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. 2 And her father said, “I really thought that you utterly hated her, lso I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.” 3 And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.” 4 So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5 And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife mand given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and nburned her and her father with fire. 7 And Samson said to them, “If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.” 8 And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the ocleft of the rock of Etam.
9 Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and pmade a raid on qLehi. 10 And the 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.” 11 Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that rthe Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” 12 And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” 13 They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two snew ropes and brought him up from the rock.
14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. tThen the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, uand with it he struck 1,000 men. 16 And Samson said,
“With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
have I struck down a thousand men.”
18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, w“You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is vat Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, xhis spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore;2 it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel yin the days of the Philistines twenty years.