/jef"theuh/, n.
a judge of Israel. Judges 11, 12.

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▪ Hebrew leader
      a judge or regent (often a hero figure) of Israel who dominates a narrative in the Book of Judges, where he is presented as an exemplar of faith for Israel in its monotheistic commitment to Yahweh. Of the Israelite tribe in Gilead (present northwest Jordan), he was banished from his home and became the head of a powerful band of brigands. Oppressed by the rapacity of the non-Israelite peoples of Hauran and Ammon, the Gileadites implored Jephthah to avenge the injustice. He successfully overcame the enemy but at the cost, according to the story, of having to sacrifice his daughter to Yahweh in fulfillment of a vow setting the price of victory, a possible mythological basis for dedicating certain Israelite women to virginity. An incident in which Jephthah led the slaughter of the aggressor Israelite tribe of Ephraim (who were detected by their inability to pronounce the sound sh in the Hebrew word shibboleth) rests on weak historical grounds. Biblical scholars interpret the story of Jephthah as an expression of the Book of Judges' theological significance; viz., Israel's fortunes fluctuated depending on the degree of their fidelity to Yahweh.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • JEPHTHAH — (Heb. חָתְפִיּ), judge of Israel for six years and victor over the Ammonites (Judg. 11:1–12:7). According to Judges, Jephthah was the son of a harlot, and his father s name is given as Gilead. Jephthah is described as a Gileadite warrior. After… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Jephthah — (also spelled Jephtha; from Hebrew יפתח Yiftach / YipthaIPA|χ) is a character in the Hebrew Bible s Book of Judges, serving as a judge over Israel for a period of six years ( Judges 12:7). He lived in Gilead and was a member of the Tribe of… …   Wikipedia

  • Jephthah — biblical judge of Israel, from Gk. Iephthae, from Heb. Yiphtah, lit. God opens, imperf. of pathah he opened (Cf. pethah opening, entrance ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Jephthah — [jef′thə] n. [Heb Yiphtáh, lit., God opens] Bible a judge who sacrificed his daughter in fulfillment of a vow: Judg. 11:30 40 …   English World dictionary

  • Jephthah —    Whom God sets free, or the breaker through, a mighty man of valour who delivered Israel from the oppression of the Ammonites (Judg. 11:1 33), and judged Israel six years (12:7). He has been described as a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, a… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Jephthah — An Israelite ‘Judge’ for six years, probably in the century before the establishment of the monarchy of Saul (c.1050 BCE). After a period of exile, Jephthah was recalled to Gilead by the elders and persuaded to lead an expedition against the… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • Jephthah's vow —    (Judg. 11:30, 31). After a crushing defeat of the Ammonites, Jephthah returned to his own house, and the first to welcome him was his own daughter. This was a terrible blow to the victor, and in his despair he cried out, Alas, my daughter!… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Jephthah — (fl. c. 12th cent, BCE)    Israelite judge. When Gilead was threatened by the Ammonites, he went to war against them. Before he engaged in battle, he vowed to sacrifice to God whatever came first from his house should he return safely. To his… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • JEPHTHAH —    one of the Judges of Israel, famed for his rash vow in the event of victory to offer in sacrifice the first object that came out of his house on his return, and which happened to be his daughter and only child, and whom it would seem he… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Jephthah — /ˈdʒɛfθə/ (say jefthuh) noun Bible a judge of Israel. Judges 11–14 …  

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