Daily Bread Devotional Bible Study
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
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 challenge me?
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 times.
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
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
1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour,
and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
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.
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 families.
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 Manasseh.
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 kindred.
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 Daily Bread.
New Testament Daily Bread
There is a force out there that is attempting to overtake us all; it is Satan. There is another force that is protecting us from him; it is the Holy Spirit. It is a battle for souls. This battle is called Spiritual Warfare, and like it or not, you are right in the middle of it.
How to Prepare for Spiritual Warfare