Jephthah and Ephraim
1 The men from the tribe of Ephraim called all their soldiers together. Then they went across the river to the city of Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why didn’t you call us to help you fight the Ammonites? We will burn your house down with you in it.”
2 Jephthah answered them, “The Ammonites have been giving us many problems. So my people and I fought against them. I called you, but you didn’t come to help us. 3 I saw that you would not help us, so I risked my own life. I went across the river to fight against the Ammonites. The LORD helped me defeat them. Now why have you come to fight against me today?”
4 Then Jephthah called the men of Gilead together. They fought against the men from the tribe of Ephraim because they had insulted the men of Gilead. They had said, “You men of Gilead are nothing but survivors of the men of Ephraim. Part of you belongs to Ephraim, and part of you belongs to Manasseh.” The men of Gilead defeated the men of Ephraim.
5 The men of Gilead captured the places where people cross the Jordan River. Those places led to the country of Ephraim. Any time a survivor from Ephraim came to the river and said, “Let me cross,” the men of Gilead would ask him, “Are you from Ephraim?” If he said, “No,” 6 they would say, “Say the word ‘Shibboleth.’ ” The men of Ephraim could not say that word correctly. They pronounced the word “Sibboleth.” So if the man said, “Sibboleth,” then the men of Gilead knew he was from Ephraim. So they would kill him at the crossing place. They killed 42,000 men from Ephraim.
7 Jephthah was a judge for the Israelites for six years. Then Jephthah from Gilead died and was buried in his town in Gilead.
Ibzan, the Judge
8 After Jephthah, a man named Ibzan was a judge for the Israelites. Ibzan was from the city of Bethlehem. 9 Ibzan had 30 sons and 30 daughters. He told his 30 daughters to marry men who were not his relatives. And he found 30 women who were not his relatives, and his sons married these women. Ibzan was a judge for the Israelites for seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in the city of Bethlehem.
Elon, the Judge
11 After Ibzan, a man named Elon was a judge for the Israelites. Elon was from the tribe of Zebulun. He was a judge for the Israelites for ten years. 12 Then Elon from the tribe of Zebulun died and was buried in the city of Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
Abdon, the Judge
13 After Elon died, a man named Abdon son of Hillel was a judge for the Israelites. Abdon was from the city of Pirathon. 14 Abdon had 40 sons and 30 grandsons. They rode on 70 donkeys.* They rode on 70 donkeys This showed that they were important leaders, possibly mayors of their towns. Abdon was a judge for the Israelites for eight years. 15 Then Abdon son of Hillel died and was buried in the city of Pirathon. Pirathon is in the land of Ephraim in the hill country where the Amalekites lived.
*12:14 They rode on 70 donkeys This showed that they were important leaders, possibly mayors of their towns.