Civil Strife Mars the Victory
1 The Ephraimites assembled and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go and fight with the Ammonites without asking us to go with you? We will burn your house down right over you!”
2 Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were entangled in controversy with the Ammonites. I asked for your help, but you did not deliver me from their power. 3 When I saw that you were not going to help, I risked my life and advanced against the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to me. Why have you come up to fight with me today?” 4 Jephthah assembled all the men of Gilead and they fought with Ephraim. The men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because the Ephraimites insulted them, saying, “You Gileadites are refugees in Ephraim, living within Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s territory.” 5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan River opposite Ephraim. Whenever an Ephraimite fugitive said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6 then they said to him, “Say ‘Shibboleth!’” If he said, “Sibboleth” (and could not pronounce the word correctly), they grabbed him and executed him right there at the fords of the Jordan. On that day forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell dead. 7 Jephthah led Israel for six years; then he died and was buried in his city in Gilead.
8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel. 9 He had thirty sons. He arranged for thirty of his daughters to be married outside his extended family, and he arranged for thirty young women to be brought from outside as wives for his sons. Ibzan led Israel for seven years; 10 then he died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After him Elon the Zebulunite led Israel for ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite led Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel for eight years. 15 Then Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.