Dave Burnette's Commentary

Judges Chapter 12

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel 
Date Penned: (550 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Compromise in the Promised Land (c 1-21)
Theme: The Rescue of Israel by the Judges (c 3-16)
Message: Jephthah Attacks the Tribe of Ephraim (v 1-15)

Judges 12 Commentary

(12:1-7) Jephthah's Revenge - Israel had just won a great battle, but instead of joy, there was pettiness and quarreling. The tribe of Ephraim was angry and jealous that they had not been invited to join in the fighting (although Jephthah said that he had invited them. The insults of the Ephraimites enraged Jephthah, who called out his troops and killed 42,000 men from Ephraim. Jephthah usually spoke before he acted, but this time his revenge was swift. It cost Israel dearly and could have been avoided. Insulting others and being jealous are not the right responses when we feel left out. But seeking revenge for an insult is just as wrong and very costly. If you have a tendency toward acting rashly, build a buffer between your reactions and your actions. Don't forget to think first of possible negative outcomes.

(12:4-7) . The Ephraimites caused Jephthah trouble just as they had Gideon (8:1-3). Jephthah captured the fords of the Jordan, the boundary of Ephraim, and he was able to defeat his countrymen as they crossed the river. To do this, he used a pronunciation test. Shibboleth is the word for "stream." The Ephraimites pronounced sh-as-s, so Jephthah's army could easily identify them.

(12:8-15) The 5th Judges - Little else is known about these three judges or their importance. The large number of children and donkeys are an indication of the wealth and influence of these men.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Quick Temper


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Judges with Chapter 12 and we see the end of the life of Jephthah. He judged Israel for 8 years and he was used of the Lord. His only setback was a quick temper as he acted before he reasoned to the tribe of Ephraim acting upon an insult. In making application we see the danger in having a quick temper. If we take a moment to reason before lashing out many heart aches could be avoided. It reminds me of a TV show I watched as a person was on death row for killing a man for an insult made to him. He wished he had just ignored it or walked away but his "loss of temper" affected so many lives. When placed in a situation of conflict is always best to walk away or calm down before we act. How about you? Do you have a quick temper. Let us learn form the mistakes of Jephthah in our text today and have a plan walk away from a quick temper.


Judges 12

Judges 12

 1And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.

 2And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands.

 3And when I saw that ye 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 ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?

 4Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.

 5And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;

 6Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

 7And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

 8And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.

 9And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.

 10Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem.

 11And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.

 12And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.

 13And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.

 14And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.

 15And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.