Judges 12:7: The Death of Jephthah

[circa 1137 BC] Verse 7:[1] And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.


[He was buried in his own city in Gilead (thus the Septuagint); Hebrew, and he was buried בְּעָרֵ֥י גִלְעָֽד׃] In the cities of Gilead (Montanus); in a city of Gilead (Syriac, Arabic); in one, or a certain one, of the cities of Gilead (Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine, Drusius, Malvenda). Similarly, a colt, the son of asses, that is, of an ass:[2] in 1 Samuel 18:21, in twain thou shalt contract affinity with me, that is, in one of the twain.[3] Thus, he went down into the sides of the ship[4] (Drusius). Thus, in Genesis 19:29, Lot is called an inhabitant of the cities,[5] although he was an inhabitant of only one. And Cicero said, I was in these places.[6] Since he does not declare the town by name, he speaks in the plural number (Castalio). Here Gilead is not the name of a city, nor is it used in apposition, in the city, Gilead; but it is the name of a region, and in the Genitive case; that is, in Mizpeh, his city, which was in the region of Gilead (Bonfrerius).


In one of the cities; Hebrew, in the cities; the plural number put for the singular, as Genesis 19:29, where Lot is said to dwell in the cities, that is, one of the cities; and 1 Samuel 18:21, the twain is put for one of the twain; and Judges 18:14, houses for house; and Jonah 1:5, the sides for one of the sides.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט יִפְתָּ֛ח אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שֵׁ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֑ים וַיָּ֗מָת יִפְתָּח֙ הַגִּלְעָדִ֔י וַיִּקָּבֵ֖ר בְּעָרֵ֥י גִלְעָֽד׃


[2] Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass (וְעַל־עַ֖יִר בֶּן־אֲתֹנֽוֹת׃).”


[3] 1 Samuel 18:21: “And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twainבִּשְׁתַּ֛יִם תִּתְחַתֵּ֥ן בִּ֖י) הַיּֽוֹם׃).”


[4] Jonah 1:5: “Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship (אֶל־יַרְכְּתֵ֣י הַסְּפִינָ֔ה); and he lay, and was fast asleep.”


[5] Genesis 19:29: “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt (אֲשֶׁר־יָשַׁ֥ב בָּהֵ֖ן לֽוֹט׃).”


[6] Epistulæ ad Familiares 11:5.

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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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