Judges Chapter 12 (Original 1611 KJV Bible)
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1 The Ephraimites quarrelling with Iephthah, and discerned by Shibboleth, are slaine by the Gileadites. 7 Iephthah dieth. 8 Ibzan, who had thirtie sonnes and thirtie daughters, 11 and Elon, 13 and Abdon who had fourtie sonnes, and thirtie nephewes, iudged Israel.
1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselues together, and went Northward, & said vnto Iephthah, Wherefore passedst thou ouer to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call vs to goe with thee? Wee will burne thine house vpon thee with fire.1
3 And when I sawe that ye deliuered me not, I put my life in my handes, and passed ouer against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliuered them into my hand: Wherfore then are ye come vp vnto me this day, to fight against me?
4 Then Iephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Yee Gileadites are fugitiues of Ephraim, among the Ephraimites and among the Manassites.
5 And the Gileadites tooke the passages of Iordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so that when those Ephraimites which were escaped saide, Let me go ouer, that the men of Gilead said vnto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay:
6 Then said they vnto him, Say now, Shibboleth: and he said, Sibboleth: for hee could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they tooke him, and slewe him at the passages of Iordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites, fourtie & two thousand.
View Wesley's Notes for Judges Chapter 12
12:1 Northward - Over Jordan, where Jephthah was, in the northern part of the land beyond Jordan. And said - Through pride and envy, contending with him as they did before with Gideon. Over - Not over Jordan, for there he was already; but over the borders of the Israelites land beyond Jordan.
12:2 When I called - Hence it appears, that he had craved their assistance, which they had denied; though that be not elsewhere expressed.
12:3 Put my life - That is, I exposed myself to the utmost danger; as a man that carries a brittle and precious thing in his hand, which may easily either fall to the ground, or be snatched from him. Wherefore - Why do you thus requite my kindness in running such hazards to preserve you and yours?
12:4 Ye Gileadites - These words are a contemptuous expression of the Ephraimites concerning the Gileadites, whom they call fugitives of Ephraim; the word Ephraim being here taken largely, as it comprehends the other neighbouring tribes, of which Ephraim was the chief; and especially their brethren of Manasseh, who lived next to them, and were descended from the same father, Joseph. By Gileadites here they seem principally to mean the Manassites beyond Jordan, who dwelt in Gilead. And although other Gileadites were joined with them, yet they vent their passion against these; principally, because they envied them most; as having had a chief hand in the victory. These they opprobriously call fugitives, that is, such as had deserted their brethren of Ephraim and Manasseh, planted themselves beyond Jordan, at a distance from their brethren, and were alienated in affection from them.
12:5 Said Nay - To avoid the present danger.
12:6 Shibboleth - Which signifies a stream or river, which they desired to pass over: so it was a word proper for the occasion, and gave them no cause to suspect the design, because they were required only to express their desire to go over the Shibboleth or river. Sibboleth - It is well known, that not only divers nations, but divers provinces, or parts of the same nation who use the same language, differ in their manner of pronunciation. Could not frame - Or rather, he did not frame to speak right; so as he was required to do it. The Hebrew text doth not say, that he could not do it, but that he did it not, because suspecting not the design he uttered it speedily according to his manner of expression. There fell - Not in that place, but in that expedition, being slain either in the battle, or in the pursuit, or at Jordan. See the justice of God! They had gloried, that they were Ephraimites: But how soon are they afraid to own their country? They had called the Gileadites, fugitives: And now they are in good earnest become fugitives themselves. It is the same word, ver.#5|, used of the Ephraimites that fled, which they had used in scorn of the Gileadites. He that rolls the stone, or reproach unjustly on another, it may justly return upon himself.
12:9 Took in - That is, took them home for wives to his sons. What a difference between his and his predecessor's family! Ibzan had sixty children, and all married: Jephthah but one, and she dies unmarried. Some are increased, others diminished: all is the Lord's doing.
12:15 Mount of the Amalekites - So called from some remarkable exploit, done by, or upon the Amalekites in that place. It is strange, that in the history of all these judges, there is not so much as once mention of the high - priest, or of any other priest or Levite, appearing either for council or action in any public affair, from Phinehas to Eli, which may well be computed two hundred and fifty years! Surely this intimates, that the institution was chiefly intended to be typical, and that the benefits which were promised by it, were to be chiefly looked for in its anti - type, the everlasting priesthood of Christ, in comparison of which that priesthood had no glory.
* Courtesy of Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
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