1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a harlot, and Gilead begot Jephthah. 2 And Gilead's wife bore sons to him. And when his wife's sons grew up, they drove out Jephthah, and said to him, Thou shall not inherit in our father's house, for thou are the son of another woman. 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers, and dwelt in the land of Tob. And vain fellows were gathered to Jephthah, and they went out with him.
4 And it came to pass after a while, that the sons of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 And it was so, that, when the sons of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob. 6 And they said to Jephthah, Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the sons of Ammon.
7 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, Did ye not hate me, and drive me out of my father's house? And why have ye come to me now when ye are in distress?
8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, For that reason we turned again to thee now, that thou may go with us, and fight with the sons of Ammon. And thou shall be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
9 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight with the sons of Ammon, and LORD delivers them before me, shall I be your head?
10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, LORD shall be witness between us. Surely according to thy word so will we do. 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before LORD in Mizpah.
12 And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying, What have thou to do with me, that thou have come to me to fight against my land?
13 And the king of the sons of Ammon answered to the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore restore those [lands] agai
14 And Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the sons of Ammon. 15 And he said to him, Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the sons of Ammon, 16 but when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh, 17 then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land, but the king of Edom did not hearken. And in like manner he sent to the king of Moab, but he would not. And Israel abode in Kadesh
18 Then they went through the wilderness, and went around the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab. And they encamped on the other side of the Arnon, but they did not come within the border
19 And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon. And Israel said to him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land to my place. 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his border, but Sihon gathered all his people together, and encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21 And LORD, the God of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them. So Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 And they possessed all the border of the Amorites, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and from the wilderness even to the Jordan.
23 So now LORD, the God of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should thou possess them? 24 Will thou not possess that which Chemosh thy god gives thee to possess? So whomever LORD our God has dispossessed from before us, them will we possess. 25 And now are thou anything better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and its towns, and in Aroer and its towns, and in all the cities that are along by the side of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did ye not recover them within that time? 27 I therefore have not sinned against thee, but thou do me wrong to war against me. LORD, the Judge, be judge this day between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon. 28 However the king of the sons of Ammon did not hearken to the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
29 Then the Spirit of LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over to the sons of Ammon. 30 And Jephthah vowed a vow to LORD, and said, If thou will indeed deliver the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31 then it shall be, that whatever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt-offering.
32 So Jephthah passed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them, and LORD delivered them into his hand. 33 And he smote them from Aroer until thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and to Abelcheramim, with a very great slaughter. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.
34 And Jephthah came to Mizpah to his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances. And she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! Thou have brought me very low, and thou are one of those who trouble me, for I have opened my mouth to LORD, and I cannot go back.
36 And she said to him, My father, thou have opened thy mouth to LORD. Do to me according to that which has proceeded out of thy mouth, inasmuch as LORD has taken vengeance for thee on thine enemies, even on the sons of Ammon. 37 And she said to her father, Let this thing be done for me: Let me alone two months, that I may depart and go down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my companions.
38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months. And she departed, she and her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed, and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to celebrate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.