Judges – Chapter 12

Yiftach Messes Up - Part II

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

The warriors of Ephraim were once again upset about not being called to battle. They threatened to burn down Yiftach’s house, with him in it. While almost a century earlier, Gidon was able to appease them with words, Yiftach got into a chest-thumping contest with them. The people of Gilad, Yiftach’s home, warred with Ephraim. They blocked the crossings of the Jordan and whenever someone attempted to cross, they instructed the traveler to say “Shibboleth.” If the traveler said “Sibboleth” in the dialect of Ephraim, they would capture and kill him. 42,000 Ephramites were dispatched this way.

Yiftach ruled for six years. He was followed by Ivtzan, who is identified with Boaz from the Book of Ruth. Ivtzan judged for seven years and was succeeded by Elon. Elon ruled for ten years and was succeeded by Avdon, who ruled for eight years.

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