Judges 12:1: Ephraim's Unreasonable Displeasure with Jephthah

Verse 1:[1] And (see Judg. 8:1) the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together (Heb. were called[2]), 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.


[In Ephraim a sedition arose, וַיִּצָּעֵק֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֶפְרַ֔יִם] And was summoned (was assembled [Jonathan], called, that is, brought together by proclamation [Piscator]; he cried out [Septuagint]) a man of Ephraim (Montanus). Shouting aloud (crying out [Arabic]) they passed over (Syriac, Arabic), they were assembled (Munster, Pagnine), called together (Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius). Either, having been summoned by Jephthah (see verse 2), they arrived later; or, by determinate counsel being about to attack Jephthah, they assembled on their own (Malvenda out of Junius). Crying, understanding, to arms (Osiander). By mutual shouts they stirred each other to rebellion (Bonfrerius).


[Passing over northward] Toward the Trans-jordanian Manassites, who were dwelling toward Libanus and Hermon, so that they might expostulate with Jephthah, dwelling in there in Mizpeh (Lapide). It is necessary that they assembled in a vast number, since of them forty-two thousand were killed[3] (Serarius). They passed over, namely, the Jordan (Vatablus).


Northward; over Jordan, so northward towards Mizpeh, where Jephthah was, Judges 11:34, and which was in the northern part of the land beyond Jordan. Said unto Jephthah, through pride and envy, contending with him as they did before with Gideon, Judges 8:1. Wherefore passedst thou over? not over Jordan, for there he was already; but over the borders of the Israelites’ land beyond Jordan, as appears by comparing this with Judges 11:29, where the same phrase is used.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּצָּעֵק֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֶפְרַ֔יִם וַֽיַּעֲבֹ֖ר צָפ֑וֹנָה וַיֹּאמְר֙וּ לְיִפְתָּ֜ח מַדּ֣וּעַ׀ עָבַ֣רְתָּ׀ לְהִלָּחֵ֣ם בִּבְנֵי־עַמּ֗וֹן וְלָ֙נוּ֙ לֹ֤א קָרָ֙אתָ֙ לָלֶ֣כֶת עִמָּ֔ךְ בֵּיתְךָ֕ נִשְׂרֹ֥ף עָלֶ֖יךָ בָּאֵֽשׁ׃


[2] Hebrew: וַיִּצָּעֵק.


[3] Verse 6.

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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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