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Judges 11:7: Jephthah's Complaint

Verse 7:[1] And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, (Gen. 26:27) Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?

[Did not ye hate and expel me?] That is, out of hatred and unjustly ye expelled me (Vatablus). But his brethren had done this, verse 2; why then does he speak thus to the Elders (Drusius)? Responses: 1. Perhaps among those that had come were his brothers (Lyra, Junius). 2. The Elders did this at the instigation of his brethren. For without the Elders, that is, the Magistrate of the city, his brethren had not been able to expel him (Drusius). He says that he was expelled by them, because they connived at the expulsion of the brethren, and they did not protect him from injury, in accordance with their duty (Piscator). Perhaps there were those of the magistrate who deprived Jephthah of the inheritance (Malvenda out of Junius). Question: Whether Jephthah was excluded by right? Responses: 1. He was justly excluded from the inheritance, and so he does not speak of it here. 2. He appears to have been unjustly expelled from the paternal household. It was able to be done, 1. because his father had granted something to him, either for certain years, or for his whole life, on which he might live. For education and maintenance are due even to the illegitimate. 2. Perhaps they cast him out while still quite young, and not sufficiently prepared for life (Serarius).

Did not ye expel me out of my father’s house, and deprive me of all share in my father’s goods, which, though a bastard, was due to me? This expulsion of him was the act of his brethren; but he here ascribes it to the elders of Gilead; either because some of them were among these elders, as is very probable from the dignity of this family; or because this act, though desired and promoted by his brethren, was executed by the decree of the elders, to whom the determination of all controversies about inheritances belonged; and therefore it was their fault that they did not protect him from the injuries of his brethren, as their duty was.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יִפְתָּח֙ לְזִקְנֵ֣י גִלְעָ֔ד הֲלֹ֤א אַתֶּם֙ שְׂנֵאתֶ֣ם אוֹתִ֔י וַתְּגָרְשׁ֖וּנִי מִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑י וּמַדּ֜וּעַ בָּאתֶ֤ם אֵלַי֙ עַ֔תָּה כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר צַ֥ר לָכֶֽם׃

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