2 but Gilad also had sons by his wife, and when the wife’s sons grew up, they drove Yiftach out. They said to him, “You shall have no share in our father’s property, for you are the son of an outsider.”
ב וַתֵּלֶד אֵשֶׁת־גִּלְעָד לוֹ בָּנִים וַיִּגְדְּלוּ בְנֵי־הָאִשָּׁה וַיְגָרְשׁוּ אֶת־יִפְתָּח וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ לֹא־תִנְחַל בְּבֵית־אָבִינוּ כִּי בֶּן־אִשָּׁה אַחֶרֶת אָתָּה׃
4 Some time later, the Ammonites went to war against Yisrael.
6 They said to Yiftach, “Come be our chief, so that we can fight the Ammonites.”
10 And the elders of Gilad answered Jepthah, “Hashem Himself shall be witness between us: we will do just as you have said.”
12 Yiftach then sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, saying, “What have you against me that you have come to make war on my country?”
va-yish-LAKH yif-TAKH mal-a-KHEEM el ME-lekh b’-nay a-MON lay-MOR mah LEE va-LAKH kee VA-ta ay-LAI l’-hi-la-KHAYM b’-ar-TZEE
11:12 Yiftach then sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites
As Moshe and Yehoshua did before him, Yiftach tries to avoid war by sending a message to the enemy. The Children of Israel always offer their adversaries a choice between three options: make peace, flee the land, or fight. Although war is the least desirable choice, peace is not to be obtained at any price. In his message to the Ammonites, Yiftach emphasized that they were seeking to make war b’artzee (בארצי), meaning ‘on my country’ or, more literally, ‘in my land.’ Hashem has given the Land of Israel to the Children of Israel, and therefore their struggle to possess it is by divine right.1 comment
13 The king of the Ammonites replied to Yiftach‘s messengers, “When Yisrael came from Egypt, they seized the land which is mine, from the Arnon to the Jabbok as far as the Yarden. Now, then, restore it peaceably.”
14 Yiftach again sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites.
17 Yisrael then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Allow us to cross your country.’ But the king of Edom would not consent. They also sent a mission to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Yisrael, after staying at Kadesh,
18 traveled on through the wilderness, skirting the land of Edom and the land of Moab. They kept to the east of the land of Moab until they encamped on the other side of the Arnon; and, since Moab ends at the Arnon, they never entered Moabite territory.
21 But Hashem, the God of Yisrael, delivered Sihon and all his troops into Yisrael‘s hands, and they defeated them; and Yisrael took possession of all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that land.
כב וַיִּירְשׁוּ אֵת כָּל־גְּבוּל הָאֱמֹרִי מֵאַרְנוֹן וְעַד־הַיַּבֹּק וּמִן־הַמִּדְבָּר וְעַד־הַיַּרְדֵּן׃
24 Do you not hold what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So we will hold on to everything that Hashem our God has given us to possess.
כד הֲלֹא אֵת אֲשֶׁר יוֹרִישְׁךָ כְּמוֹשׁ אֱלֹהֶיךָ אוֹתוֹ תִירָשׁ וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר הוֹרִישׁ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מִפָּנֵינוּ אוֹתוֹ נִירָשׁ׃
26 “While Yisrael has been inhabiting Heshbon and its dependencies, and Aroer and its dependencies, and all the towns along the Arnon for three hundred years, why have you not tried to recover them all this time?
27 I have done you no wrong; yet you are doing me harm and making war on me. May Hashem, who judges, decide today between the Israelites and the Ammonites!”
28 But the king of the Ammonites paid no heed to the message that Yiftach sent him.
30 And Yiftach made the following vow to Hashem: “If you deliver the Ammonites into my hands,
31 then whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me on my safe return from the Ammonites shall be Hashem‘s and shall be offered by me as a burnt offering.”
לא וְהָיָה הַיּוֹצֵא אֲשֶׁר יֵצֵא מִדַּלְתֵי בֵיתִי לִקְרָאתִי בְּשׁוּבִי בְשָׁלוֹם מִבְּנֵי עַמּוֹן וְהָיָה לַיהֹוָה וְהַעֲלִיתִהוּ עוֹלָה׃
32 Yiftach crossed over to the Ammonites and attacked them, and Hashem delivered them into his hands.
לד וַיָּבֹא יִפְתָּח הַמִּצְפָּה אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ וְהִנֵּה בִתּוֹ יֹצֵאת לִקְרָאתוֹ בְתֻפִּים וּבִמְחֹלוֹת וְרַק הִיא יְחִידָה אֵין־לוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בֵּן אוֹ־בַת׃
35 On seeing her, he rent his clothes and said, “Alas, daughter! You have brought me low; you have become my troubler! For I have uttered a vow to Hashem and I cannot retract.”
לה וַיְהִי כִרְאוֹתוֹ אוֹתָהּ וַיִּקְרַע אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וַיֹּאמֶר אֲהָהּ בִּתִּי הַכְרֵעַ הִכְרַעְתִּנִי וְאַתְּ הָיִיתְ בְּעֹכְרָי וְאָנֹכִי פָּצִיתִי־פִי אֶל־יְהֹוָה וְלֹא אוּכַל לָשׁוּב׃
36 “Father,” she said, “you have uttered a vow to Hashem; do to me as you have vowed, seeing that Hashem has vindicated you against your enemies, the Ammonites.”
לו וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אָבִי פָּצִיתָה אֶת־פִּיךָ אֶל־יְהֹוָה עֲשֵׂה לִי כַּאֲשֶׁר יָצָא מִפִּיךָ אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְךָ יְהֹוָה נְקָמוֹת מֵאֹיְבֶיךָ מִבְּנֵי עַמּוֹן׃
37 She further said to her father, “Let this be done for me: let me be for two months, and I will go with my companions and lament upon the hills and there bewail my maidenhood.”
לז וַתֹּאמֶר אֶל־אָבִיהָ יֵעָשֶׂה לִּי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה הַרְפֵּה מִמֶּנִּי שְׁנַיִם חֳדָשִׁים וְאֵלְכָה וְיָרַדְתִּי עַל־הֶהָרִים וְאֶבְכֶּה עַל־בְּתוּלַי אָנֹכִי ורעיתי [וְרֵעוֹתָי׃]
38 “Go,” he replied. He let her go for two months, and she and her companions went and bewailed her maidenhood upon the hills.
לח וַיֹּאמֶר לֵכִי וַיִּשְׁלַח אוֹתָהּ שְׁנֵי חֳדָשִׁים וַתֵּלֶךְ הִיא וְרֵעוֹתֶיהָ וַתֵּבְךְּ עַל־בְּתוּלֶיהָ עַל־הֶהָרִים׃
39 After two months’ time, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. She had never known a man. So it became a custom in Yisrael
לט וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ שְׁנַיִם חֳדָשִׁים וַתָּשָׁב אֶל־אָבִיהָ וַיַּעַשׂ לָהּ אֶת־נִדְרוֹ אֲשֶׁר נָדָר וְהִיא לֹא־יָדְעָה אִישׁ וַתְּהִי־חֹק בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃