Judges 11:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 11:7, NIV: Jephthah said to them, 'Didn't you hate me and drive me from my father's house? Why do you come to me now, when you're in trouble?'

Judges 11:7, ESV: But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”

Judges 11:7, KJV: And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?

Judges 11:7, NASB: But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, 'Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?'

Judges 11:7, NLT: But Jephthah said to them, 'Aren't you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father's house? Why do you come to me now when you're in trouble?'

Judges 11:7, CSB: Jephthah replied to the elders of Gilead, "Didn't you hate me and drive me out of my father's family? Why then have you come to me now when you're in trouble? "

What does Judges 11:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jephthah raises an obvious question. The leaders of Gilead have come to him to ask for help. They want him to lead their people in battle against the invading, oppressive Ammonites (Judges 10:17–18, 11:4). Gilead is so desperate for a qualified military leader that they're willing to offer the job to an exile and the leader of a band of criminals (Judges 11:1–3).

As one might expect from an outcast and leader of rough men (Judges 9:4), Jephthah wants to know two things: why and what's in it for him. He asks bluntly if these men forgot that they—likely meaning the leaders of Gilead, in general—hated him and helped drive him out of his father's house. Earlier verses described Jephthah's half-brothers, the sons of his father's wife, running him off to keep the inheritance for themselves. In some way, the elders of Gilead were also involved in Jephthah's removal from his family home. That might have been as simple as doing nothing to stop that injustice from happening; it might have meant they agreed and actively worked to have Jephthah exiled.

Most likely, Jephthah doesn't only want to know why they have tracked him down. It's all but certain he knows what's happening with the Ammonites. Most likely, a question like this has a dual purpose. Stating prior history is a way of starting negotiations with the leaders of Gilead. If they need him so badly, and there's something he can gain by it, he wants to be sure it's worth his while.