1 And there was one Jephthah a Gileadite, a strong man, which was the son of a harlot: Howbeit Gilead begat Jephthah. 2 But Gilead's wife bare him sons, which when they were come to age, thrust out of Jephthah, and said unto him, "Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house, for thou art the son of a strange woman." 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren and dwelt in the land of Tob. And there gathered idle people to Jephthah, and went out with him.
4 But it chanced, in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 Then the elders of Gilead went and fetched Jephthah out of the land of Tob, 6 and said unto him, "Come and be our captain, and let us fight with the children of Ammon."
7 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, "Did not ye hate me and expel me out of my father's house? How happeneth it then that you come unto me now in time of your tribulation?"
8 And the elders of Gilead answered Jephthah, "Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabiters of Gilead."
9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, "If ye bring me home again, to fight with the children of Ammon, then if the LORD deliver them before me, I shall be your head."
10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The LORD be witness between us if we do not according to thy words." 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead. And the people made him head and ruler over them. And Jephthah rehearsed all his words in Mizpeh.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, "What aileth thee with me that thou comest upon me to fight against my land?"
13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land, when they came out of Egypt, even from Arnon unto Jabbok and from thence unto Jordan, now therefore restore those lands again with fair means."
14 And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the children of Ammon, 15 and said unto him, "Thus sayeth Jephthah: Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon. 16 But when Israel came out of Egypt, they walked through the wilderness, even unto the reed sea, and came to Kadesh, 17 and sent messengers unto the king of Edom saying, 'Let us, we pray thee, go through thy land.' But the king of Edom would not agree thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab, but he would not consent. And so Israel abode still in Kadesh.
18 And then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came along by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of the river of Arnon, and came not within the coasts of the Moabites: for Arnon was their utmost border.
19 And then Israel sent messengers unto Sihon, king of the Amorites, and king of Heshbon, and said unto him, 'Let us pass through thy land unto our own country.' 20 But Sihon trusted not Israel, to go through his coasts: but gathered all his people together and pitched in Jahaz, and fought with Israel. 21 But the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his folk into the hands of Israel. And so Israel smote them and conquered all the land of the Amorites, the inhabiters of the said country. 22 And they conquered all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness unto Jordan.
23 So now seeing the LORD God of Israel hath cast out the Amorites before his people, shouldest thou possess the land? 24 Nay, but what people Chemosh thy god driveth out, that land possess thou. But whatsoever nations the LORD our God expelleth, that land ought we to enjoy. 25 And thereto art thou better than Balak the son of Zippor king of Moab? Did he strive with Israel or fight against thee, 26 all the while Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundredth years? Why didst thou not recover them in all that space? 27 Wherefore I have not sinned against thee. But thou doest me wrong, to war against me. The LORD therefore be judge this day, between the children of Israel, and the children of Ammon." 28 Howbeit, the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
29 Then the spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. And he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and came to Mizpeh that lieth in Gilead, and from thence unto the children of Ammon. 30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD and said, "If thou shalt deliver the children of Ammon into my hands, 31 then that thing that cometh out of the doors of my house against me, when I come home in peace from the children of Ammon, shall be the LORD's, and I will offer it up a burnt offering."
32 And so Jephthah went unto the children of Ammon to fight with them. And the LORD delivered them into his hands. 33 And he smote them from Aroer unto Minnith, twenty cities. And so forth to the plain of the vineyards, and made an exceeding great slaughter. And thus the children of Ammon were brought under, before the children of Israel.
34 Then Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house. And see, his daughter came out against him, with timbrels and dances, which was his only child: so that beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And when he saw her, he rent his clothes and said, "Alas, my daughter, thou hast made me stoop, and art one of them that trouble me. For I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and cannot go back."
36 And she said unto him, "My father, if thou have opened thy mouth unto the LORD, then do with me according to that proceeded out of thy mouth, forasmuch as the LORD hath avenged thee of thine enemies the children of Ammon." 37 And she said unto her father, "Do this much for me: let me alone two months that I may go down to the mountains and bewail my virginity with my fellows."
38 And he said, "Go." And so he sent her away two months. And she went with her companions and lamented her maidenhead upon the mountains. 39 And after the two months she turned again unto her father, which did with her according to his vow which he had vowed, and so she knew no man. 40 And it became an ordinance in Israel, year by year, that the daughters of Israel should go and lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, four days in a year.