Judges 11:23, 23: Jephthah Answers Ammon, Part 4

Verse 23:[1] So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?


[The Lord overthrew the Amorite, הוֹרִישׁ] He cast out (Pagnine, Montanus, Munster, Jonathan, Tigurinus). הוֹרִישׁ in this chapter signifies contrary things, namely, to receive for an inheritance, and, to deprive of inheritance (Munster).


[And are thou now wishing to possess it? וְאַתָּ֖ה תִּירָשֶֽׁנּוּ׃] And shalt thou possess him? (Pagnine, Montanus); art thou endeavoring to possess? (Tigurinus); shalt thou inherit? (Septuagint); shouldest thou be the heir of him? (Junius and Tremellius). Shouldest thou possess him by hereditary right, that is, his land? Thus that verb everywhere governs the accusative of person, by metonymy of subject, that is, to signify the things possessed by that person: as in Genesis 15:3, he shall possess me,[2] that is, my goods; Deuteronomy 9:1, to possess many nations,[3] that is, their territories; Judges 14:15, Have ye invited us to possess us[4] (that is, our goods)? (Piscator). He confirms his right from the victory divinely given (Malvenda out of Junius).


The LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed, etc.: God, the sovereign Lord of all lands, hath given us this land: this he adds, as a further and a convincing reason; because otherwise it might have been alleged against the former argument, that they could gain no more right to that land from Sihon than Sihon himself had, and he had but an unjust claim to it.


Verse 24:[5] Wilt not thou possess that which (Num. 21:29; 1 Kings 11:7; Jer. 48:7) Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever (Deut. 9:4, 5; 18:12; Josh. 3:10) the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.


[Wilt thou not what things Chemosh takes possession of, etc.?הֲלֹ֞א אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁ֧ר יוֹרִֽישְׁךָ֛ כְּמ֥וֹשׁ וגו״] [They render it variously.] Wilt thou not possess that which Chemosh shall cause thee to possess? (Montanus, similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Pagnine, Tigurinus). But, because no other example of that signification occurs (for usually הוֹרִישׁ signifies to cast out of a possession), and the following sentence draws in a different direction, I translate it, Wouldst thou not by hereditary right possess him whom Chemosh drives from before thy face? The יוֹרִישְׁךָ, he possesseth thee, I take as יוֹרִישׁ מִפָּנֶיךָ, he dispossesseth from before thy face; just as in Psalm 5:4, evil is not going to abide before thee, in which יְגֻרְךָ, it is going to abide thee,[6] is in the place of, יָגוּר עִמְּךָ, it is going to abide with thee (Piscator). Wilt thou not receive that people which Chemosh drove out into this possession? (Munster). It is an argument ad hominem (Lapide, Bonfrerius). He speaks according to the opinion of the other: which is to say, Wilt thou not say that whose dominion Chemosh will have given to thee, that is thine? Likewise, whom the Lord has driven out, that is, the country of those that we have driven out with our God as author, that we will possess (Vatablus). It is to be noted here that the Ammonites and the Moabites possessed their lands by the right of war, with the former inhabitants cast out and destroyed, Deuteronomy 2:10, 20; but the glory of that victory, which, having been received from God, they were obliged to refer to Him, they impiously transferred to idols. Moreover, Chemosh everywhere in Scripture is presented as the God of the Moabites, Numbers 21:29; 1 Kings 11:7, 33; 2 Kings 23:13; Jeremiah 48:13, 46, as Molech, or Milcom, is of the Ammonites, 1 Kings 11:5, 7, 33; 2 Kings 23:13. We said that thence it is with probability gathered that the same was the King both of the Ammonites and of the Moabites (Bonfrerius). These things were said συγχωρητικῶς, or by concession; which is to say, granting that I allow that that was able to be done by Chemosh, etc. (Junius).


That which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess: He speaks according to their fond and absurd opinion. The Ammonites and Moabites got their land by right of war, and conquest of the old inhabitants, whom they cast out; and this success, though given them by the true God, for Lot’s sake, Deuteronomy 2:19, they impiously and ridiculously ascribe to their god Chemosh, whose gift they owned to be a firm and sufficient title.

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֞ה יְהוָ֣ה׀ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל הוֹרִישׁ֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱמֹרִ֔י מִפְּנֵ֖י עַמּ֣וֹ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְאַתָּ֖ה תִּירָשֶֽׁנּוּ׃


[2] Genesis 15:3: “And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir (יוֹרֵ֥שׁ אֹתִֽי׃, shall possess me).”


[3] Deuteronomy 9:1: “Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations (לָרֶ֣שֶׁת גּוֹיִ֔ם) greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven…”


[4] Judges 14:15b: “Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have (הַלְיָרְשֵׁנוּ, to possess us)? is it not so?”


[5] Hebrew: הֲלֹ֞א אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁ֧ר יוֹרִֽישְׁךָ֛ כְּמ֥וֹשׁ אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ אוֹת֥וֹ תִירָ֑שׁ וְאֵת֩ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֙ר הוֹרִ֜ישׁ יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֵ֛ינוּ מִפָּנֵ֖ינוּ אוֹת֥וֹ נִירָֽשׁ׃


[6] A woodenly literalistic rendering.

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ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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