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Judges: Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon

Jephthah becomes a judge and makes a vow.
Contributed by Wong Chim Yuen
After Abimelech died, Tola was the next person to rescue Israel and he judged them for twenty-three years.  <br/>After Tola died, Jair from Gilead judged Israel for twenty-two years. His thirty sons rode around on thirty donkeys, and they owned thirty towns in the land of Gilead, which are still called the Towns of Jair. When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon. – Slide 1
Once more the Israelites abandoned the Lord to serve Baal and Ashtoreth. As a result they were oppressed by the Philistines and the Ammonites for eighteen years.  <br/>Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help. God replied, ‘Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!’ <br/>The Israelites then put away their idols and begged God to help them again. <br/>The armies of Ammon had gathered for war and were camped in Gilead. The people were camped at Mizpah. The leaders of Gilead said, ‘Whoever attacks the Ammonites first will become ruler over all the people of Gilead.’ – Slide 2
Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s sons by his wife threw Jephthah out of the family and he fled to the land of Tob. <br/>The elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah saying, ‘Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!’ And they promised they would make him their leader. <br/>So Jephthah became their ruler and commander of the army. – Slide 3
Jephthah sent messengers to the king of Ammon, asking, ‘Why have you come out to fight against my land?’ <br/>‘When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they stole my land,’ the king of Ammon replied. <br/>Jephthah replied, ‘It was the the God of Israel, who took away the land from the Amorites and gave it to Israel. Israel has been living here for 300 years. You keep whatever your god Chemosh gives you, and we will keep whatever, the Lord our God gives us.’ <br/>But the king of Ammon paid no attention to Jephthah’s message. – Slide 4
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, to gather an army to fight the Ammonites. <br/>Jephthah made a vow to the Lord saying, ‘If you give me victory over the Ammonites, whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph will be sacrificed as a burnt offering.’ <br/>Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the Lord gave him victory. He crushed the Ammonites, devastating twenty of their towns. – Slide 5
When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child. <br/>When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. ‘Oh, my daughter!’ he cried out. ‘You have completely destroyed me! For I have made a vow to the Lord, and I cannot take it back.’ <br/>His daughter said, ‘Father, if you have made a vow to the Lord you must do to me what you have vowed, but first let me spend two months with my friends in the hills so I can mourn that I will never have children.’  <br/>When she returned home, her father kept the vow he had made. So it has became a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. – Slide 6
The people of Ephraim mobilized an army and sent this message to Jephthah: ‘Why didn’t you call for us to help you fight against the Ammonites? We are going to burn down your house with you in it!’ <br/>Jephthah replied, ‘I summoned you at the beginning of the dispute, but you refused to come!’ <br/>So Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and attacked the men of Ephraim and defeated them. <br/>Jephthah captured the shallow crossings of the Jordan River, and whenever a fugitive from Ephraim tried to go back across, the men of Gilead would challenge him. They would ask the fugitive to say ‘Shibboleth.’ If he was from Ephraim, he would say ‘Sibboleth,’ because people from Ephraim cannot pronounce the word correctly. 42,000 Ephraimites were killed at that time. <br/>Jephthah judged Israel for six years and then died. – Slide 7
After Jephthah died, Ibzan from Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He sent his daughters to marry men outside his clan, and he brought in thirty young women from outside his clan to marry his sons. Ibzan judged Israel for seven years.  <br/>After Ibzan died, Elon from the tribe of Zebulun judged Israel for ten years.  <br/>After Elon died, Abdon judged Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He judged Israel for eight years then died. – Slide 8
Slide 9