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CHAPTER 12 Jun. 13 
Jephthah Fights Ephraim
The men of Ephraim were gathered together and passed northward, and they said to Jephthah, Why did you go to fight against the Ammonites and didn’t call us to go with you? We will burn your house around you with fire! 2Jephthah said to them, I and my people were at great strife with the Ammonites and when I called you, you didn’t save me out of their hand. 3When I saw that you didn’t save me, I put my life in my hand and went against the Ammonites, and Yahweh delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day, to fight against me? 4Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim, and the men of Gilead struck Ephraim because they said, You Gileadites are renegades of Ephraim from Ephraim and Manasseh. 5The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites. When the fugitives of Ephraim said, Let me cross over, the men of Gilead said to him, Are you an Ephraimite? If he said No; 6then they said to him, Now say ‘Shibboleth;’ and he said Sibboleth, for he couldn’t manage to pronounce it right, then they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time, forty-two thousand of Ephraim fell. 7Jephthah judged Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in a city of Gilead. 
Ibzan, Elon and Abdon
8After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He sent his daughters away in marriage, and brought in thirty women for his sons. He judged Israel for seven years. 10Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem. 11After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel for ten years. 12Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun. 13After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkey colts, and he judged Israel for eight years. 15Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.


12:2 An identical thing happened to Gideon- see on 8:3. Gideon could’ve said the same as Jephthah, but instead gave a soft answer and turned away wrath (Prov. 15:1). Here, Jephthah answers the complaint on a purely factual level- and conflict ensued. We are perhaps left to conclude that we can answer provocation in either of these two ways- it’s not a moral issue, it’s totally our choice, but we can avoid conflict if we take the “soft answer” route. 
12:6 Shibboleth means ‘the river’, so presumably the Gileadites made them ask if they could cross ‘the river’.
12:8,10 The double connection of Ibzan with Bethlehem exemplifies how all the judges- the Hebrew word means ‘saviours’- were types of Jesus, the ultimate ‘saviour’ of God’s people. The Hebrew form of “Jesus” means ‘Yahweh is saviour’.