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Christianity Oasis has provided you with this Daily Bread Daily Devotional study. This is the optimization paragraph section. This SON-derful study brings forth understanding.

Daily Bread Devotional Bible Study
The Book of Judges
Chapter 12

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.

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 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.

Joshua 17:1

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 and Bashan.

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:

Judges 10:17

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 ...

Joshua 17:2

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 quite insulting.

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.

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