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Now, remember the men of Ephraim when Gideon came back having, you know, gotten the victory and they said, "Why didn't you call us?" Well here they are again, chapter twelve.
AND the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Why did you pass over to fight against the children Ammon, and you didn't call us to go with you? We're gonna burn you and your house with fire ( Judges 12:1 ).
Well, they got by with this kind of stuff with Gideon. Gideon was just a very, you know, diplomatic, mild-mannered fellow, but not so Jephthah. He was the son of a harlot, tough cookie. He grew up with a tough crowd and you don't mess with Jephthah like you would with Gideon. And so they came to Jephthah throwing on in the same trip that they threw on Gideon years earlier.
And Jephthah said, I and my people ( Judges 12:2 )
Now look, notice, Jephthah was a very egocentric person. Notice all the I's and the my's and so forth in these next few verses. It demonstrates the guy's egocentricities.
And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and I called you, and you delivered me not out of their hands. And when I saw that you daily delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are you come up against me, me this day, to fight against me? ( Judges 12:2-7.12.3 )
So notice all these personal pronouns the guy's using. He's very egocentric.
And Jephthah gathered together all of the men of Gilead, and they fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim and among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites. And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites ( Judges 12:4-7.12.5 ):
They come over against them into the land of Gilead, cross Jordan coming over against them. And so the men of Jephthah took the forts where they cross the Jordan River. And as the Ephraimites were trying to sneak back into their own land they'd stop them and they'd say, "Say Shibboleth: and say are you an Ephraimite?"
"Oh no, we're not Ephraimites."
They'd say, "Say Shibboleth" and the guys from Ephraim couldn't pronounce, couldn't pronounce the "sh" sound and they'd say, "Sibboleth" and they knew that they were then Ephraimites and so they'd wipe them out. And some forty-five, forty-six thousand Ephraimites bit the dust: forty-two.
And Jephthah judged Israel for six years. And he died, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead ( Judges 12:7 ).
So really he didn't reign too long, just six years. And then the tenth judge was this guy Ibzan from Bethlehem and his claim to fame was he had thirty sons and thirty daughters who he sent abroad to marry with the kings from other nations and he took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. So he shipped his daughters out and then took thirty daughters from other kingdoms for his sons. He judged Israel for seven years. He was buried in Bethlehem. Then Elon became the eleventh judge. He was from the tribe of Zebulon. He judged Israel for the years and he was buried at a high or rather Ajalon or Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.
Then Abdon became [the twelfth] judge, [the son of Hillel] and he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on seventy donkeys: and he judged Israel for eight years ( Judges 12:13-7.12.14 ).
These guys really didn't do very much. Not much is told about them. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Judges 12". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany