THE BOOK OF JUDGES
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE TRUTH
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE EXPLANATION
Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Daily Bread study program. This is our Ephraim in the Bible study taking a look into the Ephraimites and the word Shibboleth Bible story and how it affects your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.
CHECK OUT THE JUDGES STUDY
FROM THE BEGINNING
THE BOOK OF JUDGES
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE STUDY
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE CONCERN
It's wonderful to have you back again with an
appetite for more Daily Bread! Last time we shared the story of Jephthah and
how he delivered Israel from Ammon. As if Jephthah didn't have enough to
deal with already, some of his own people of Israel (the children of
Ephraim, namely), decided they had a grievance against him, accusing him of
not inviting them to go with to fight Ammon.
Jephthah replied to their
argument by saying, Ah, but when I did call you, you didn't come, so I knew
I couldn't depend on you, and I took my life in my own hands, and I pursed
Ammon and the Lord delivered them into my hands, so why do you want to
Let's slow down a little here,
because this kind of situation is where many folks may get confused and
frustrated and give up on Bible study, because it can be complicated at
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE LESSON
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE WARNING
You may be saying, Now wait a
minute, I don't remember anything about Jephthah inviting Ephraim or their
refusing his invitation to fight against Ammon.
If you're reading the text in
your Bible in addition to your Daily Bread, then you may have made some
connections and/or some suppositions about what Jephthah just said.
Now, keep in mind, in some of our
Daily Bread stories, there are certain details that we don't cover because
as I've mentioned before, we're not re-writing the Bible, we're studying it
together so that you gain better understanding and learn how to discern what
the Holy Spirit wants to say to you ... And this is different not only for
each individual who reads it, but the Holy Spirit may have different
messages from the same scripture for you at different study times.
This may seem like an
insignificant event to put so much study effort into, but the purpose is not
so much that you discover something profound from this particular story, but
rather, that you gain incentive to research other stories in the same way,
and seek out the messages that the Holy Spirit has for you, in any
scripture, at any given time ... Now, back to Jephthah.
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE RESEARCH
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE MYSTERY
Who was Jephthah? Well, we know
that he was the son of Gilead, which makes him from the tribe of Manasseh.
There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the
firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the
father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead
Then going back to Judges, we
find that Jephthah was a "mighty man of valor" who had a group of men
"gathered" in Tob.
Judges 11:1, 3
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the
son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
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.
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE FACTS
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE WAR
We also know that the children of
Ammon were "gathered" and "encamped" in Gilead, ready to fight with Israel:
Then the children of
Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children
of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
So, even though your Bible
doesn't come right out and say it, we can pretty safely assume that Jephthah
was the captain of his own "army" in the land of Tob.
The next thing we may want to
consider is that Jephthah may not be speaking for himself personally here,
but rather as the voice of the tribe of Manasseh. If you recall, Gideon (the
son of Joash the Abiezrite) was also from the tribe of Manasseh ...
There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their
families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek,
and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and
for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these
were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE DANGER
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE MESSAGE
And Ephraim also accused
Gideon (Manasseh) of not inviting them to fight against Midian. Now, we
still haven't found any solid evidence that Jephthah did indeed ask Ephraim
for assistance in fighting Ammon, so we may have to assume he did and this
is the way the author chose to inform us.
Here's another possibility:
Remember that Manasseh and Ephraim are not sons of Israel, but grandsons.
They are the two sons of Joseph. And remember that when Israel was giving
his blessing to them, Manasseh, being the eldest, would normally have
received the blessing of a firstborn, but Israel put his right hand on the
head of Ephraim and said that the younger would be greater than the older.
So, maybe this whole thing is
sibling rivalry and Ephraim's jealousy was that Manasseh (Gideon and Jephthah)
was enjoying the glory of victory over the enemies of Israel, and Ephraim
perhaps felt that this honor was due him.
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE RIVALRY
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE DEATH
Now in the earlier story of
Gideon, when Ephraim fussed about not being included in the thrill of the
victory, Gideon pacified Ephraim with wise words to avoid strife among their
own people who had just been delivered from strife enough. But when Jephthah
reasoned with Ephraim, pointing out that Ephraim seemed more willing to
fight with his own people than with the enemies, they replied with insults,
saying that the men of Gilead were fugitives (estranged) among Ephraim and
Let's think about this for a
minute. The inheritances of Manasseh and Ephraim were adjacent to one
another. And even though they may have had the sibling rivalry issue between
them, you've got to imagine that they also had a sort of special bond to
each other, being that they were two tribes considered to be of the
children of Israel, when in fact they were GRAND-children of Israel. So for
Ephraim to tell Manasseh that Gilead (of the children of Manasseh) didn't
belong in either Ephraim OR Manasseh, as if to disown them, must have been
And indeed it was ... So Jephthah
and the men of Gilead fought against Ephraim victoriously and took control
over the passageways over the Jordan. Then, whenever a man of Ephraim who
had escaped, wanted to go over the river, the men of Gilead would ask, Are
you an Ephraimite? If the man answered, No, they said to him, Say:
Shibboleth (which means "stream"). And if he said Sibboleth (because the men
of Ephraim couldn't properly pronounce that word), they killed him. Forty
two thousand Ephraimites died in that conflict in Israel, among their own
EPHRAIM IN THE BIBLE CONCLUSION
EPHRAIMITES AND THE WORD SHIBBOLETH BIBLE SUMMARY
Jephthah judged Israel for 6
years, then died, and after him Ibzan of Bethlemhem judged for 7 years and
died, then Elon from the tribe of Zebulon judged for 10 years and died.
After Elon, Abdon judged for 8 years and died. None of the last three judges
mentioned had a story of any spectacular nature that the writer of the book
of judges cared to mention. And that was the end of the 6th cycle of sin to
deliverance for Israel.
Come on back again real soon and
we'll look at the story of Samson and how he delivered Israel, right here at
CONTINUE TO THE NEXT STUDY
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