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Judges 11:6

ESV And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.”
NIV Come,' they said, 'be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.'
NASB and they said to Jephthah, 'Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.'
CSB They said to him, "Come, be our commander, and let's fight the Ammonites."
NLT The elders said, 'Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!'
KJV And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.

What does Judges 11:6 mean?

The leaders of Gilead have left their territory on a recruiting mission. They need an experienced military leader to direct their people in the fight against invading Ammonites. They've come to the region of Tob, perhaps not far from Gilead, to ask an unlikely candidate to take that role. Both the trip and their intended target are signs of desperation. With the Ammonites beginning to attack (Judges 11:4), they seem to have no choice but to beg an exiled bandit leader for help.

Jephthah's experience is as the leader of a band of "worthless" men who likely rob and pillage for a living (Judges 9:4; 11:3). Further, the leaders of Gilead were complicit in chasing Jephthah out of Gilead in the first place, along with his own brothers (Judges 11:1–2). Jephthah's initial response will show he has not forgotten this fact (Judges 11:7).
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