The Man Jephthah [Judges 11.1-11.3]
Scripture: Judges 11.1-11.3(KJV)
1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
2 And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.
3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.
This chapter gives us the history of Jephthah, another of Israel's judges, and numbered among the best men of the Old Testament. In fact, his name is listed along with the Great Heroes of Faith recorded in Chapter 11 of Hebrews: “How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets” (Heb. 11:32; NLT). The verses that follow tell of the exploits of these men that were accomplished by faith. “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight” (Heb 11:33-34; NLT).
Jephthah did some great things, although his call was not as extraordinary as the others mentioned in verse 32. This chapter (ch. 11) can be outlined as follows:
I. The disadvantages of his origin, Judges 11:1-3.
II. The Gileadites' choice of him to be commander-in-chief against the Ammonites, and the terms he made with them, Judges 11:4-11.
III. His treaty with the king of Ammon about the rights of the two nations, that the matter might be determined, if possible, without bloodshed, Judges 11:12-28.
IV. His war with the Ammonites, which he enters upon with a solemn vow (Judges 11:29-31), prosecutes with bravery (Judges 11:32), and ends with a glorious victory, Judges 11:33.
V. The straits he was brought into at his return to his own house by the vow he had made, Judges 11:34-40.
The history of Jephthah appears to be an independent history inserted by the person who compiled the Book of Judges (believed to be Solomon).
1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.—Judges 11:1(KJV)
1 Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute.—Judges 11:1(NLT)
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour,
Jephthah got his name, “the Gileadite”, either from his father, whose name was Gilead, or from the city and country in which he was born, which is most likely what happened, and so we find that he was from the same country as the preceding judge, Jair; and he was a man of great strength and courage. It is probably the case that Jephthah became well known because of his successful clashes with bands of the enemies of Israel, the Ammonites. He was the head of a band of men, who lived off the booty they got from the Israelites.
The princes and people of Gilead that we left at the close of the preceding chapter, consulted about the choice of a general. After having consulted together, they came to the decision, that whoever would undertake the leadership of their forces against the children of Ammon should by common consent be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. The enterprise was difficult, and it was fitting that such a great complement as this should be paid to the one that would undertake it. Now all agreed that Jephthah, the Gileadite, was a mighty man of valor, and that he was the right person for the job; but, he had several disadvantages, as we shall see.
Jephthah was judge in Israel for 6 years, but he appears only once more in the Scripture narrative. The men of Ephraim, offended because they had had no share in the victory over the Ammonites, made war upon Gilead, but were put to rout by the forces under Jephthah (Judges 12:1-6).
Article 11.1: The Judge Jephthah
Jephthah: jef'-tha (yiphtach, "opened," or "opener," probably signifying "Yahweh will open", or "God opens the womb," which might have been founded upon the fact of his unexpected birth to a harlot.; Iephthae; used as the name of a place, as in Joshua 15:43—“Jiphtah, Ashnah, Nezib”; and Joshua 19:14—“Then the border went around it on the north side of Hannathon, and it ended in the Valley of Jiphthah El”; of a man, Judges 10:6-12:7). Jephthah was the ninth judge of the Israelites, who judged Israel for six years, but his background is obscure. Assuming Gilead to be the actual name of his father, and that his mother was a harlot; he was driven from home on account of his illegitimacy, and went to the land of Tobit in Eastern Syria (Judges 11:2, 3). Here he and his followers lived the life of freebooters. Jephthah has been described as "a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, and a sort of warrior Elijah." In Judges 11.1, he is called “a mighty man of valor.” In a military situation, this means a strong, adept warrior, such as Gideon (6.12). In response to their repentance, God raised up Jephthah to lead the Israelites to freedom from the eighteen years of oppression (v.8).
After forty-five years of comparative quiet Israel again apostatized, and in "process of time the children of Ammon became a threat to Israel" (11:5). The Israelites who lived beyond the Jordan were in danger of an invasion by the Ammonites; therefore, Jephthah was invited by the elders of Gilead to be their leader (Judges 11:5, 6). Remembering how they had expelled him from their territory and denied him his heritage, Jephthah demanded of them that in the event of success in the struggle with the Ammonites, he was to continue as leader. They accepted this condition, and he returned to Gilead (Judges 11:7-11). Twice he sent an emissary 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." The account of the diplomacy used by Jephthah to prevent the Ammonites from invading Gilead is possibly an interpolation, and is thought by many interpreters to be a compilation from Numbers 20-21. It is of great interest, however, not only because of the fairness of the argument used (Judges 11:12-28), but also by virtue of the fact that it contains a history of the journey of the Israelites from Lower Egypt to the banks of the Jordan. This history is distinguished from that of the Pentateuch (first five books of the OT) chiefly by the things that have been omitted. If diplomacy was tried, it failed to dissuade the Ammonites from seeking to invade Israel. Jephthah prepared for battle, but before taking the field he paused at Mizpeh of Gilead, and registered a vow that if he were successful in battle, he would offer as a burnt offering to Yahweh whatsoever was first to come through the doors of his home to greet him upon his return (Judges 11:29-31).
The defeat of the Ammonites was complete. "He smote them from Aroer to Minnith, twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter" (Judges 11:33). The war is over, Jephthah is the victor, and now his vow returns to him with anguish and sorrow. When he returned to his home, the first to greet him is his daughter and only child. The father's sorrow and the courage of the daughter are the only bright lights on this sordid, cruel conception of God and of the nature of sacrifice. It seems certain from the narrative that the sacrifice was made, although some critics choose to substitute for the actual death of the maiden the setting of the girl apart for a life of perpetual virginity. The Israelite laws concerning sacrifices and the language used in Judges 11:39 are the chief arguments for the latter interpretation. The entire narrative, however, will hardly bear this understanding (11:34-40).
Almost as an appendage to the exploits of Jephthah, 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. "Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead".
and he was the son of an harlot;
The first thing that I would call to your attention is that he is an outstanding leader, but he has this black mark against him: he is illegitimate, the son of a harlot. The Targum says, she was an innkeeper; and, according to Kimchi, she was a concubine, which some deemed to be no better than a harlot, but such persons are not usually called by that disparaging term. Some Jewish writers have claimed that she is from another tribe; a tribe his father should not have married into; and others, Josephus is one, say that she was from another nation, a Gentile: and, according to Patricides, he was the son of a Saracen woman; but neither of these are sufficient to label her as something other than a harlot. Note that in verse 2, he is called the son of a strange woman, one that was neither a wife nor a concubine; Josephus calls him a stranger by the mother's side. The Jews say she was an Ishmaelite.
If his mother was a harlot, that was not his fault, however; it was his disgrace, and he had to live with it; and that meant he could not have a right to a portion of the inheritance, since his mother was not an Israelite. Men should not be held responsible for the bad behavior of either of their parents, so long as they are doing their best to make a life for themselves that is better than their parents. The son of a harlot, if born again, born from above, shall be accepted by God, and be as welcome as any other believer to the glorious liberties of his children. Jephthah was probably not aware of Deuteronomy 23:2, 3; “One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD."An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever.” The Law states that the Ammonites, the enemies he was to grapple with, would not enter into the congregation of the Lord, but in the same paragraph it says that a bastard would in like manner be excluded. Adam Clarke's Commentary explains these verses as follows.
1. Shall not enter into the congregation, etc.—If by entering the congregation, it is meant that bearing a civil office among the people, such as magistrate, judge, etc., then the reason of the law is very plain; no man with any such personal defect as might render him contemptible in the sight of others should bear rule among the people, lest the contempt felt for his personal defects might be transferred to his important office, and thus his authority be disregarded. The general meaning of these words is, simply, that the persons here designated should not be so incorporated with the Jews as to partake of their civil privileges.
2. A bastard shall not enter—mamzer, which is here rendered bastard, should be understood as implying the offspring of an illegitimate or incestuous mixture. His mother was a concubine, or foreigner; implying an inferior sort of marriage which was prevalent in Eastern countries. Whatever dishonor might be attached to his birth, his own high and energetic character rendered him early-on as a person of note.
3. An Ammonite or Moabite—these nations were subjected for their impiety and wickedness, (see verses 4 and 5), to peculiar disgrace, and on this account were not permitted to hold any office among the Israelites. But this did not disqualify them from being proselytes: Ruth, who was a Moabitess, was married to Boaz, and she became one of the ancestors of our Lord. Another well-known harlot was Rahab: “Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there” (Josh 2:1; NKJV). She hid the spies and sidetracked the king’s soldiers who were looking for them. God saved her and her family when her city was destroyed by the Israelites. A genealogy of Manasseh gives the families which sprang from Gilead, and among them mention is made of an "Aramitess" concubine as the mother of one family. “The descendants of Manasseh: his Syrian concubine bore him Machir the father of Gilead, the father of Asriel” (1 Chron 7:14; NKJV).
4. Even to their tenth generation—That is, for ever, as the next clause explains;—But if that law means, as it probably does, that only those that are born of incest, not of fornication, he was within the reach of it.
and Gilead begat Jephthah;
He was his son; a descendant of Gilead the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, called after the name of his great ancestor. "The word `Gilead' has two meanings: (1) the name of the country, and (2) the name of an individual." However, this presents no problem to this writer, since he has never heard of "a country" begetting a son. Gilead is here, of course, the name of an individual. As Keil noted, "We are forced to this conclusion by the fact that the wife of Gilead and his other sons are mentioned in Judg. 11:2."
Gilead begat Jephthah--His father seems to have belonged to the tribe of Manasseh: “These were the descendants of Gilead the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh” (1 Chron 7:17; NKJV).
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(believed to be Solomon). All that can be determined with certainty as regards the nature of the sources from which the author came by this somewhat elaborate history of Jephthah, is, that they sprang from some contemporary of this judge, since they provide such a clear and striking picture of his life and undertakings. Bertheau's hypothesis, that the section extending from Judges 11:12 to Judges 11:28 is founded upon some historical work, which is also employed in Numbers 21; Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29, and here and there in the book of Joshua, has really no other basis than the unproved assumption that the Pentateuch and the book of Joshua were written towards the close of the period of the kings. For the marked agreement between Jephthah's negotiations with the king of the Ammonites concerning the possession of the land to the east of the Jordan, and the account given in the Pentateuch, especially in Numbers 20-21, may be explained very simply and very completely, by the supposition that the author possessed the Pentateuch itself. And the account which is omitted in the Pentateuch, namely, that Israel petitioned the king of Moab also for permission to go through his land (Judges 11:17), may have been added from oral tradition, as those glorious victories gained by Israel under Moses were celebrated in verse by contemporaneous poets (see Numbers 21:14, Numbers 21:17, Numbers 21:27); and this certainly contributed quite a lot to keeping alive the memory of those events in the nation for centuries to come.
the Gileadite. gil'-e-ad-its:
(1) A branch of the tribe of Manasseh, descended from Gilead.
(2) Natives of the district of Gilead: “After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years.” (Judges 10:3; NKJV); “Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. And the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, "You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites and among the Manassites." The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gilead would say to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, "No," then they would say to him, "Then say, 'Shibboleth'!" And he would say, "Sibboleth," for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites. (Judges 12:4-6; NKJV).
mighty man of valor. Gideon was also called “a Mighty man of valor:" “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!" (Judges 6:12; NKJV). And Naaman, the Syrian general, was another: “Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” (2 Kings 5:1; NKJV).
(Judges 12:1-6; NKJV). 1 Then the men of Ephraim gathered together, crossed over toward Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, "Why did you cross over to fight against the people of Ammon, and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you with fire!" 2 And Jephthah said to them, "My people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Ammon; and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. 3 So when I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the people of Ammon; and the LORD delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?" 4 Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. And the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, "You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites and among the Manassites." 5 The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gilead would say to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, "No," 6 then they would say to him, "Then say, 'Shibboleth'!" And he would say, "Sibboleth," for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.
2 And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.—Judges 11:2 (KJV)
2 Gilead’s wife also had several sons, and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. “You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, “for you are the son of a prostitute.”—Judges 11:2 (NLT)
And Gilead's wife bare him sons…
It seems that, after the birth of Jephthah, Gilead took a lawful wife, who bore him sons:
and his wife's sons grew up;
to the status of men.
and they thrust out Jephthah:
He had been driven from his country by his brethren; little did they know that they were forcing the future judge of Israel out of his home. His father's legitimate children, insisting upon the severity of the law, thrust him out and refused to give him any inheritance; his father in all likelihood was dead by this time, or he would not have allowed it, and what follows confirms that he was dead. Jephthah was not given any consideration for his extraordinary qualifications, which merited a share of his father’s legacy. If only they had overlooked his being illegitimate and permitted him to have a child's part. But they refused to accept him as an equal, because Jephthah was, "a half-Canaanite and was not acknowledged by his father's clan." In Judg. 11:7, it is learned that the expulsion of Jephthah from his father's house by his brothers was backed up and enforced by all the Gileadites: “But Jephthah said to them, “Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?” (Judges 11:7; NLT).
One would not have thought this abandoned youth was intended to be Israel's deliverer and judge, but God often humbles those whom he intends to exalt, and makes that stone the head of the corner which the builders refused; so Joseph, Moses, and David, the three most eminent of the shepherds of Israel, were all thrust out by men, before they were called of God to their great offices
The justice and loving kindness of God appears in contrast to Abimelech (Judg. 10) and Jephthah here. Even the son of a harlot became the charismatic leader of Israel in a time of danger, when the Spirit of God came upon him.
and said unto him, thou shalt not inherit in our father's house:
He might not, if he was the son of a harlot, or of a woman from another tribe, or a concubine; though Kimchi, observes that the son of such a woman might receive an inheritance, provided his mother was not a handmaid (slave) or a stranger (foreigner). And it looks as if this was not done correctly, but that Jephthah was callously dealt with by his brethren, when they complained: Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house—since there were children by the legitimate wife, the son of the secondary one was not entitled to any share of the estate, and the prior claim of the others was indisputable. Hence, as the brothers of Jephthah seem to have resorted to rude and violent treatment, they must have been influenced by some secret ill-will.
The Law that applied to this situation was Deuteronomy 23:2 (NKJV): "One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD.” The following parties were excluded from the full rights and privileges of citizenship:
(1) Eunuchs -- It was a very ancient practice for parents in the East by various arts to mutilate their children, with a view to training them for service in the houses of the great.
(2) Bastards -- Such an indelible stigma was designed as a discouragement to practices that were disgraceful, but too common; intercourse with foreigners.
(3) Ammonites and Moabites -- Without provocation they had combined to engage a mystic to curse the Israelites; and had further endeavored, by ensnaring them into the guilt and immoral atrocity of idolatry, to seduce them from their allegiance to God.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
for thou art the son of a strange woman:
or of another "woman", that was not their father's lawful wife; or of a woman of another tribe, as the Targum states it; or of another nation, as others see it, prostitutes being used to go into foreign countries to get a livelihood, and hide the shame of their families; hence a strange woman, and a harlot, signified one and the same.
Proverbs 2:16 speaks of “the strange woman” whom the son should beware because harlots were strangers—that is, foreigners. Josephus tells us that Gilead’s wife was a Gentile. Jewish writings have called her an Ishmaelite. So Jephthah was the son of a common heathen prostitute. Illegitimacy is a stigma that brands a person from birth, regardless of who he is; however, today this is not as damaging to one as it used to be.
This man Jephthah was exiled. He was excommunicated and ostracized. According to Deuteronomy 23:2, the Law of Moses would also bar him from the congregation of the Lord.
Being an illegitimate child is a handicap, to be sure, but many men have overcome it. There are kings, emperors, generals, poets, and popes who have been illegitimate children. William the Conqueror, for example, signed his name “William the Bastard,” for that is what he was. That is what Jephthah was also, and he overcame this handicap, as we shall see.
3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.—Judges 11:3 (KJV)
3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him.—Judges 11:3 (NLT)
Then Jephthah fled from his brethren…
Being mistreated by his half-brothers, and being a man of spirit and courage, and because he could not bear to be treated with contempt, or to depend upon others for his livelihood, he fled from his brethren and sought to make a better life for himself.
and dwelt in the land of Tob (see Article 11.2. below);
which Kimchi and Ben Gersom think was the name of the lord and owner of the land; Abarbinel and the Targum interprets it, a good land, as Tob denotes; but others suggest it is the name of a city or country, and conjecture says it may be the same as Ishtob, which was not far from the children of Ammon, since they sent there for assistance; “When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men” (2 Sam 10:6; NKJV). Jerom takes it for a country, in which Jephthah dwelt, but that is all he says about it. Junius says it was on the entrance of Arabia Deserta, in the Apocrypha. “Yea, all our brethren that were in the places of Tobie are put to death: their wives and their children also they have carried away captives, and borne away their stuff; and they have destroyed there about a thousand men” (1 Maccabees 5:13). “Then departed they from thence seven hundred and fifty furlongs, and came to Characa unto the Jews that are called Tubieni” (2 Maccabees 12:17), where the inhabitants of it are called Tobienians or Tubienians. Finally, it has been proposed that the governor of the country was called Tob; and Tob may be identified as et-Taiyibeh, some fifteen miles east of Ramoth-Gilead; and it may be a district in the north-east part of Perea, on the border of Syria, or between Syria and the Ammonites. As far as what is the correct location of Tob, your guess would be as good as mine.
It is also unclear why Jephthah chose to flee to the land of Tob. We can only speculate, but presumably it was the land of his maternal ancestors and an "Aramean" settlement.
and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah;
not wicked men, but empty men, whose pockets were empty. Abarbinel interprets it to mean men without money; they had nothing to live on, no more than Jephthah; but, they joined him because he was a valiant man, who offered the possibility of a better life.
Jephthah had become the leader of a band of desperados. Here is this man with three hurdles to surmount before he can become a leader for his country: he is the son of a harlot; he has been exiled by his brethren; and he is the leader of a despised, rejected group. He is not a very likely man to be used; but, you see, God uses men like this. God moves in mysterious ways, and He chooses men that are despised in this world. God also humbles those whom He intends to use. He humbled Joseph, He humbled Moses, and He humbled David. Our Lord humbled Himself. He is “despised and rejected of men.” He is the “Stone which the builders rejected,” but which was made the head of the corner. His enemies said, “We will not have this Man reign over us.” Yet God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name.
There are those today, friends, who claim to be sons of God, but they are not. They are illegitimate in that they have not been born again. You can only become a legitimate son of God by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ.
Abimelech enlisted the same type of men as Jephthah did, or at least they were considered to be; “So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men; and they followed him” (Judges 9:4; NKJV). We should not think of Jephthah as the leader of a band of criminals; Clarke calls them worthless men: "The word as it is used here may mean poor persons, without property, and without employment." He and his band probably operated more in the manner of David and his group years later (1 Samuel 25:4-8), protecting cities and settlements from marauders, and receiving pay from those whom they helped
and went out with him;
not because they planned to do anything bad, illegal or immoral, such as to rob and plunder, but to make their living by hunting; or rather by making excursions into the enemy's country, and carrying off booty, on which they lived. Josephus says he maintained them at his own expense, and paid them wages. They followed him as if he was a military chief. They led a freebooting life, sustaining themselves by frequent incursions into the Ammonites territory and other neighboring people, in the style of Robin Hood. The same kind of life is led by many Arabs, Bedouins and Tartars still today, and the leader of one of these bands, acquires fame by his stirring or gallant adventures. It is not deemed dishonorable when the expeditions are directed against those from his own tribe or nation. Jephthah's mode of life was similar to that of David when driven from the court of Saul. He had, while in his exile, headed a rabble. Being driven out by his brethren, his great pride would not let him either dig or beg; however, he must live by his sword; and, he was noted for his fighting skill and his bravery. Those that were reduced to such straits, and animated by such a spirit, enlisted themselves under him. Here they are called Vain men, that is, men that had run through their estates and had to seek for a livelihood.
“Went out” was a well-understood term meaning, ‘went out on raids.’” However, "It seems improper, in view of what we later learn of Jephthah's character, to ascribe to him and his men the lawless plundering of villages. More than likely, he, like David, protected settlements from marauders. These “vain men” went out with him, not to rob or plunder, but to hunt wild beasts, and perhaps to make incursions upon those countries which Israel was entitled to, but had not as of yet been able to possess. This is the man that must save Israel, whose people had by their idolatry made themselves children of whoredoms, and aliens from God and his covenant, and therefore, though God upon their repentance will deliver them, yet, to mortify them and remind them of their sin, he chooses to do it by a bastard and an exile.
Article 11.2:The Land of Tob
Tob ("good")—A district on the east side of the Jordan River, about 13 miles south-east of the Sea of Galilee, to which Jephthah fled from his brethren (Judges 11:3,5). It was on the northern boundary of Perea, between Syria and the land of Ammon. Tob is perhaps identical with Tabeel (Isaiah 7:6). The site is perhaps et-Taiyibeh about twelve miles east of Ramoth-gilead near the source of the Yarmuk River. Its modern name is Taiyibeh.
Tob was a kind of frontier district where men like Jephthah could lead a lawless existence on the edge of society. Here Jephthah gathered to him a band of freebooters. The elders of Gilead brought him from Tob to Gilead to oppose the forces of Ammon. History reveals that the people of Tob supported the Ammonites against David (2 Samuel 10:6; 2 Samuel 10:8).
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Ishtob. It appears to have been a part of Syria, near Zobah, Rehob, and Maachah, east of Jordan, and in the most northern part of the portion of Manasseh and beyond the frontier of the Hebrew territories. Probably the same as Tob. If so, it could not be far from Gilead, the country of Jephthah. This country is called Tobie or Tubin, 1 Mac 5:13; and the Jews who inhabited this district Tubieni, 2 Mac 12:17. 2 Sa 10:6. -on the north of Gilead, (2Sa 10:6, 8).
(1 Samuel 25:4-8; NKJV). “When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: 'Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have! Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.' “David and his men lurked in these deserts, associating with the herdsmen and shepherds of Nabal and others and doing them good offices, probably in return for information and supplies obtained through them. Hence when Nabal held his annual sheep-shearing in Carmel, David felt himself entitled to share in the festival and sent a message, recounting his own services and asking for a present. "In all these particulars we were deeply struck with the truth and strength of the biblical description of manners and customs almost identically the same as they exist at the present day. On such a festive occasion, near a town or village, even in our own time, an Arab sheik of the neighboring desert would hardly fail to put in a word either in person or by message; and his message, both in form and substance, would be only a transcript of that of David" [ROBINSON].—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary