top of page

Judges 12:2, 3: Jephthah's Answer to Ephraim

Verse 2:[1] And 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.

[There was a dispute, אִ֣ישׁ רִ֗יב הָיִ֛יתִי] A man of dispute, or quarrel, was I (Montanus, Drusius, Glassius, Piscator, Pagnine, Malvenda); a man a fighter (Septuagint); a man of controversy (Junius). In controversy was I (Junius and Tremellius). The noun אִישׁ/man, whenever governing another substantive, denotes an efficient with respect to a certain action or effect. Now, this expression in Jeremiah 15:10 is taken passively, in such a way that אִישׁ/man denotes the object of quarrels and contentions; Woe to me, that thou hast borne me, my mother, אִ֥ישׁ רִ֛יב, a man of strife, וְאִ֥ישׁ מָד֖וֹן, and a man of contention, to the whole earth! that is, against whom is raise quarrel and contention by this entire land. And, on the other hand, in Isaiah 41:11 it is taken actively in the plural, אַנְשֵׁ֥י רִיבֶֽךָ׃, men of thy contention; that is, who, as thine adversaries, quarrel with thee (Glassius’ “Grammar” 125). [Others separate the אִישׁ/man from what follows, and thus render it, Behold, men, I was contending, or, I was fighting, etc. (Syriac, Arabic)].

[To me and to my people, etc.] Hebrew: I and my people and the sons of Ammon greatly[2] (Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint, Junius). A grievous dispute was to me and my people with the Ammonites (Tigurinus, similarly Munster). I with my people, etc. (Drusius).

When I called you, etc.: Hence it appears that he craved their assistance, which they denied, though that be not elsewhere expressed.

Verse 3:[3] And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I (1 Sam. 19:5; 28:21; Job 13:14; Ps. 119:109) 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?

[I put my soul in my hands, וָאָשִׂ֙ימָה נַפְשִׁ֤י בְכַפִּי֙] I put (exposed [Junius and Tremellius]) my soul in my hand, or palm (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Arabic, Piscator, Drusius). That is, I hurled myself into mortal danger. It is a most familiar Hebraism: thus 1 Samuel 19:5; 28:21 (Malvenda out of Junius, Drusius). It is taken from this, that a thing precious and fragile (for example, balsam in a glass bottle), which one wants to preserved from a slip or from robbery, he is not wont to place in his hand. Moreover, nothing is more precious, or more fragile, than the soul or life (Bonfrerius).

I put my life in my hands, that is, I exposed myself to utmost danger; as a man that carries a brittle and precious thing in his hand, which may easily either fall to the ground, or be snatched from him. The same phrase is used 1 Samuel 19:5; 28:21; Job 13:14; Psalm 119:109. Wherefore then are ye come up unto me? why do you thus requite my kindness in running into such hazard to preserve you and yours?

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יִפְתָּח֙ אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם אִ֣ישׁ רִ֗יב הָיִ֛יתִי אֲנִ֛י וְעַמִּ֥י וּבְנֵֽי־עַמּ֖וֹן מְאֹ֑ד וָאֶזְעַ֣ק אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְלֹֽא־הוֹשַׁעְתֶּ֥ם אוֹתִ֖י מִיָּדָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: אֲנִ֛י וְעַמִּ֥י וּבְנֵֽי־עַמּ֖וֹן מְאֹ֑ד.

[3] Hebrew: וָֽאֶרְאֶ֞ה כִּֽי־אֵינְךָ֣ מוֹשִׁ֗יעַ וָאָשִׂ֙ימָה נַפְשִׁ֤י בְכַפִּי֙ וָֽאֶעְבְּרָה֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י עַמּ֔וֹן וַיִּתְּנֵ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה בְּיָדִ֑י וְלָמָ֞ה עֲלִיתֶ֥ם אֵלַ֛י הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה לְהִלָּ֥חֶם בִּֽי׃

9 views1 comment
bottom of page