1 Jephthah of Gilead was a brave soldier. His father's name was Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead's wife also gave birth to sons for him. When they were older, they sent Jephthah away from the family home. They said to him, ‘You will not receive any of our father's things when he dies. You are the son of a prostitute, not our mother.’
3 So Jephthah ran away from his brothers. He went to live in the land of Tob. Other men joined the group that Jephthah led. They did not obey any laws.
4 Some time later, the Ammonite soldiers came to fight against Israel. 5 When the Ammonites attacked, the leaders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 They said to him, ‘Come and lead our army to fight against the Ammonites.’
7 Jephthah said to them, ‘Before this, you hated me. You made me leave my father's house. So why do you come to me for help, now that you are in trouble?’
8 The leaders of Gilead replied, ‘But we really need you to help us. Please join us to fight against the Ammonites. Then we will make you the leader of everyone who lives in Gilead.’
9 Jephthah said to them, ‘So, you are saying that I should come back home to fight with you against the Ammonites. You are saying that if the Lord gives them to me, I will be your leader. Is that really true?’
10 The leaders of Gilead said, ‘We promise to do that. The Lord will judge between us if we do not do what you have said.’ 11 So Jephthah went back with them to Gilead. The people made him their ruler and leader of their army. In Mizpah, Jephthah repeated his promise to the Lord.