(Judg. 11:33, R.V.; A. V., "plain of the vineyards"), a village
of the Ammonites, whither Jephthah pursued their forces.
Tob, The land of
a district on the east of Jodan, about 13 miles south-east of
the Sea of Galilee, to which Jephthah fled from his brethren
(Judg. 11:3, 5). It was on the northern boundary of Perea,
between Syria and the land of Ammon (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). Its modern
name is Taiyibeh.
In the Old Testament the rendering of the Hebrew word _mamzer'_,
which means "polluted." In Deut. 23:2, it occurs in the ordinary
sense of illegitimate offspring. In Zech. 9:6, the word is used
in the sense of foreigner. From the history of Jephthah we learn
that there were bastard offspring among the Jews (Judg. 11:1-7).
In Heb. 12:8, the word (Gr. nothoi) is used in its ordinary
sense, and denotes those who do not share the privileges of
house of crossing, a place south of the scene of Gideon's
victory (Judg. 7:24). It was probably the chief ford of the
Jordan in that district, and may have been that by which Jacob
crossed when he returned from Mesopotamia, near the Jabbok (Gen.
32:22), and at which Jephthah slew the Ephraimites (Judg. 12:4).
Nothing, however, is certainly known of it. (See BETHABARA
whom God sets free, or the breaker through, a "mighty man of
valour" who delivered Israel from the oppression of the
Ammonites (Judg. 11:1-33), and judged Israel six years (12:7).
He has been described as "a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, a
sort of warrior Elijah." After forty-five years of comparative
quiet Israel again apostatized, and in "process of time the
children of Ammon made war against Israel" (11:5). In their
distress the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the
land of Tob, to which he had fled when driven out wrongfully by
his brothers from his father's inheritance (2), and the people
made him their head and captain. The "elders of Gilead" in their
extremity summoned him to their aid, and he at once undertook
the conduct of the war against Ammon. Twice he sent an embassy
to the king of Ammon, but in vain. War was inevitable. The
people obeyed his summons, and "the spirit of the Lord came upon
him." Before engaging in war he vowed that if successful he
would offer as a "burnt-offering" whatever would come out of the
door of his house first to meet him on his return. The defeat of
the Ammonites was complete. "He smote them from Aroer, even till
thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of
the vineyards [Heb. 'Abel Keramim], with a very great slaughter"
(Judg. 11:33). The men of Ephraim regarded themselves as
insulted in not having been called by Jephthah to go with him to
war against Ammon. This led to a war between the men of Gilead
and Ephraim (12:4), in which many of the Ephraimites perished.
(See SHIBBOLETH ¯T0003366.) "Then died Jephthah the Gileadite,
and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead" (7).
(Judg. 11:30, 31). After a crushing defeat of the Ammonites,
Jephthah returned to his own house, and the first to welcome him
was his own daughter. This was a terrible blow to the victor,
and in his despair he cried out, "Alas, my daughter! thou hast
brought me very low...I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and
cannot go back." With singular nobleness of spirit she answered,
"Do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy
mouth." She only asked two months to bewail her maidenhood with
her companions upon the mountains. She utters no reproach
against her father's rashness, and is content to yield her life
since her father has returned a conqueror. But was it so? Did
Jephthah offer up his daughter as a "burnt-offering"? This
question has been much debated, and there are many able
commentators who argue that such a sacrifice was actually
offered. We are constrained, however, by a consideration of
Jephthah's known piety as a true worshipper of Jehovah, his
evident acquaintance with the law of Moses, to which such
sacrifices were abhorrent (Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut. 12:31), and
the place he holds in the roll of the heroes of the faith in the
Epistle to the Hebrews (11:32), to conclude that she was only
doomed to a life of perpetual celibacy.
ruins. (1.) A town on the north bank of the Arnon (Deut. 4:48;
Judg. 11:26; 2 Kings 10:33), the southern boundary of the
kingdom of Sihon (Josh. 12:2). It is now called Arair, 13 miles
west of the Dead Sea.
(2.) One of the towns built by the tribe of Gad (Num. 32:34)
"before Rabbah" (Josh. 13:25), the Ammonite capital. It was
famous in the history of Jephthah (Judg. 11:33) and of David (2
Sam. 24:5). (Comp. Isa. 17:2; 2 Kings 15:29.)
(3.) A city in the south of Judah, 12 miles south-east of
Beersheba, to which David sent presents after recovering the
spoil from the Amalekites at Ziklag (1 Sam. 30:26, 28). It was
the native city of two of David's warriors (1 Chr. 11:44). It is
now called Ar'arah.
river, or an ear of corn. The tribes living on the east of
Jordan, separated from their brethren on the west by the deep
ravines and the rapid river, gradually came to adopt peculiar
customs, and from mixing largely with the Moabites, Ishmaelites,
and Ammonites to pronounce certain letters in such a manner as
to distinguish them from the other tribes. Thus when the
Ephraimites from the west invaded Gilead, and were defeated by
the Gileadites under the leadership of Jephthah, and tried to
escape by the "passages of the Jordan," the Gileadites seized
the fords and would allow none to pass who could not pronounce
"shibboleth" with a strong aspirate. This the fugitives were
unable to do. They said "sibboleth," as the word was pronounced
by the tribes on the west, and thus they were detected (Judg.
12:1-6). Forty-two thousand were thus detected, and
"Without reprieve, adjudged to death,
For want of well-pronouncing shibboleth."
the usual name of the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot (Gen.
19:38). From the very beginning (Deut. 2:16-20) of their history
till they are lost sight of (Judg. 5:2), this tribe is closely
associated with the Moabites (Judg. 10:11; 2 Chr. 20:1; Zeph.
2:8). Both of these tribes hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut.
23:4). The Ammonites were probably more of a predatory tribe,
moving from place to place, while the Moabites were more
settled. They inhabited the country east of the Jordan and north
of Moab and the Dead Sea, from which they had expelled the
Zamzummims or Zuzims (Deut. 2:20; Gen. 14:5). They are known as
the Beni-ammi (Gen. 19:38), Ammi or Ammon being worshipped as
their chief god. They were of Semitic origin, and closely
related to the Hebrews in blood and language. They showed no
kindness to the Israelites when passing through their territory,
and therefore they were prohibited from "entering the
congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3).
They afterwards became hostile to Israel (Judg. 3:13). Jephthah
waged war against them, and "took twenty cities with a very
great slaughter" (Judg. 11:33). They were again signally
defeated by Saul (1 Sam. 11:11). David also defeated them and
their allies the Syrians (2 Sam. 10:6-14), and took their chief
city, Rabbah, with much spoil (2 Sam. 10:14; 12:26-31). The
subsequent events of their history are noted in 2 Chr. 20:25;
26:8; Jer. 49:1; Ezek. 25:3, 6. One of Solomon's wives was
Naamah, an Ammonite. She was the mother of Rehoboam (1 Kings
14:31; 2 Chr. 12:13).
The prophets predicted fearful judgments against the Ammonites
because of their hostility to Israel (Zeph. 2:8; Jer. 49:1-6;
Ezek. 25:1-5, 10; Amos 1:13-15).
The national idol worshipped by this people was Molech or
Milcom, at whose altar they offered human sacrifices (1 Kings
11:5, 7). The high places built for this idol by Solomon, at the
instigation of his Ammonitish wives, were not destroyed till the
time of Josiah (2 Kings 23:13).
or Miz'peh, watch-tower; the look-out. (1.) A place in Gilead,
so named by Laban, who overtook Jacob at this spot (Gen. 31:49)
on his return to Israel from Padan-aram. Here Jacob and Laban
set up their memorial cairn of stones. It is the same as
Ramath-mizpeh (Josh. 13:26).
(2.) A town in Gilead, where Jephthah resided, and where he
assumed the command of the Israelites in a time of national
danger. Here he made his rash vow; and here his daughter
submitted to her mysterious fate (Judg. 10:17; 11:11, 34). It
may be the same as Ramoth-Gilead (Josh. 20:8), but it is more
likely that it is identical with the foregoing, the Mizpeh of
Gen. 31:23, 25, 48, 49.
(3.) Another place in Gilead, at the foot of Mount Hermon,
inhabited by Hivites (Josh. 11:3, 8). The name in Hebrew here
has the article before it, "the Mizpeh," "the watch-tower." The
modern village of Metullah, meaning also "the look-out,"
probably occupies the site so called.
(4.) A town of Moab to which David removed his parents for
safety during his persecution by Saul (1 Sam. 22:3). This was
probably the citadel known as Kir-Moab, now Kerak. While David
resided here he was visited by the prophet Gad, here mentioned
for the first time, who was probably sent by Samuel to bid him
leave the land of Moab and betake himself to the land of Judah.
He accordingly removed to the forest of Hareth (q.v.), on the
edge of the mountain chain of Hebron.
(5.) A city of Benjamin, "the watch-tower", where the people
were accustomed to meet in great national emergencies (Josh.
18:26; Judg. 20:1, 3; 21:1, 5; 1 Sam. 7:5-16). It has been
supposed to be the same as Nob (1 Sam. 21:1; 22:9-19). It was
some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and was situated on the
loftiest hill in the neighbourhood, some 600 feet above the
plain of Gibeon. This village has the modern name of Neby
Samwil, i.e., the prophet Samuel, from a tradition that Samuel's
tomb is here. (See NOB ¯T0002742.)
Samuel inaugurated the reformation that characterized his time
by convening a great assembly of all Israel at Mizpeh, now the
politico-religious centre of the nation. There, in deep
humiliation on account of their sins, they renewed their vows
and entered again into covenant with the God of their fathers.
It was a period of great religious awakening and of revived
national life. The Philistines heard of this assembly, and came
up against Israel. The Hebrews charged the Philistine host with
great fury, and they were totally routed. Samuel commemorated
this signal victory by erecting a memorial-stone, which he
called "Ebenezer" (q.v.), saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped
us" (1 Sam. 7:7-12).
Judges, Book of
is so called because it contains the history of the deliverance
and government of Israel by the men who bore the title of the
"judges." The book of Ruth originally formed part of this book,
but about A.D. 450 it was separated from it and placed in the
Hebrew scriptures immediately after the Song of Solomon.
The book contains, (1.) An introduction (1-3:6), connecting it
with the previous narrative in Joshua, as a "link in the chain
of books." (2.) The history of the thirteen judges (3:7-16:31)
in the following order:
| FIRST PERIOD (3:7-ch. 5)
| I. Servitude under Chushan-rishathaim of
| Mesopotamia 8
| 1. OTHNIEL delivers Israel, rest 40
| II. Servitude under Eglon of Moab:
| Ammon, Amalek 18
| 2. EHUD'S deliverance, rest 80
| 3. SHAMGAR Unknown.
| III. Servitude under Jabin of Hazor in
| Canaan 20
| 4. DEBORAH and,
| 5. BARAK 40
| SECOND PERIOD (6-10:5)
| IV. Servitude under Midian, Amalek, and
| children of the east 7
| 6. GIDEON 40
| ABIMELECH, Gideon's son, reigns as
| king over Israel 3
| 7. TOLA 23
| 8. JAIR 22
| THIRD PERIOD (10:6-ch. 12)
| V. Servitude under Ammonites with the
| Philistines 18
| 9. JEPHTHAH 6
| 10. IBZAN 7
| 11. ELON 10
| 12. ABDON 8
| FOURTH PERIOD (13-16)
| VI. Seritude under Philistines 40
| 13. SAMSON 20
| In all 410
Samson's exploits probably synchronize with the period
immediately preceding the national repentance and reformation
under Samuel (1 Sam. 7:2-6).
After Samson came Eli, who was both high priest and judge. He
directed the civil and religious affairs of the people for forty
years, at the close of which the Philistines again invaded the
land and oppressed it for twenty years. Samuel was raised up to
deliver the people from this oppression, and he judged Israel
for some twelve years, when the direction of affairs fell into
the hands of Saul, who was anointed king. If Eli and Samuel are
included, there were then fifteen judges. But the chronology of
this whole period is uncertain.
(3.) The historic section of the book is followed by an
appendix (17-21), which has no formal connection with that which
goes before. It records (a) the conquest (17, 18) of Laish by a
portion of the tribe of Dan; and (b) the almost total extinction
of the tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes, in consequence of
their assisting the men of Gibeah (19-21). This section properly
belongs to the period only a few years after the death of
Joshua. It shows the religious and moral degeneracy of the
The author of this book was most probably Samuel. The internal
evidence both of the first sixteen chapters and of the appendix
warrants this conclusion. It was probably composed during Saul's
reign, or at the very beginning of David's. The words in
18:30,31, imply that it was written after the taking of the ark
by the Philistines, and after it was set up at Nob (1 Sam. 21).
In David's reign the ark was at Gibeon (1 Chr. 16:39)