Judges 12

1 The men of Ephraim were gathered together, and passed northward; and they said to Jephthah, “Why did you pass over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didn’t call us to go with you? We will burn your house around you with fire!” 2 Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, you didn’t save me out of their hand. 3 When I saw that you didn’t save me, I put my life in my hand, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me today, to fight against me?” 4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim. The men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the middle of Ephraim, and in the middle of Manasseh.” 5 The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. When the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No”; 6 then 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. 7 Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in the cities of Gilead. 8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 He had thirty sons; and thirty daughters he sent outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside his clan for his sons. He judged Israel seven years. 10 Ibzan died, and was buried at Bethlehem. 11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Elon the Zebulunite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun. 13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty sons’ sons, who rode on seventy donkey colts. He judged Israel eight years. 15 Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

The Ephraimites had the same quarrel with Jephthah as with Gideon. Pride was at the bottom of the quarrel; only by that comes contention. It is ill to fasten names of reproach upon persons or countries, as is common, especially upon those under outward disadvantages. It often occasions quarrels that prove of ill consequence, as it did here. No contentions are so bitter as those between brethren or rivals for honour. What need we have to watch and pray against evil tempers! May the Lord incline all his people to follow after things which make for peace!

Verses 8–15

We have here a short account of three more of the judges of Israel. The happiest life of individuals, and the happiest state of society, is that which affords the fewest remarkable events. To live in credit and quiet, to be peacefully useful to those around us, to possess a clear conscience; but, above all, and without which nothing can avail, to enjoy communion with God our Saviour while we live, and to die at peace with God and man, form the substance of all that a wise man can desire.

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