Judges 12:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 12:1, NIV: The Ephraimite forces were called out, and they crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, 'Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We're going to burn down your house over your head.'

Judges 12:1, ESV: The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.”

Judges 12:1, KJV: And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.

Judges 12:1, NASB: Now the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they crossed to Zaphon; and they said to Jephthah, 'Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you!'

Judges 12:1, NLT: Then the people of Ephraim mobilized an army and crossed over the Jordan River to Zaphon. They sent this message to Jephthah: 'Why didn't you call for us to help you fight against the Ammonites? We are going to burn down your house with you in it!'

Judges 12:1, CSB: The men of Ephraim were called together and crossed the Jordan to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, "Why have you crossed over to fight against the Ammonites but didn't call us to go with you? We will burn your house with you in it! "

What does Judges 12:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The tribe of Ephraim is ready to fight about not being invited to join the conflict with the Ammonites. A similar confrontation happened with Gideon after the route of the Midianites. The fighting men of Ephraim were called at the last minute to cut off fleeing enemy soldiers (Judges 7:24; 8:1–3). Here, again, the tribe appears more motivated to bicker with their own people than they are to seek out their true enemy.

The war with the Ammonites is over (Judges 11:32–33). Yet the men of Ephraim cross the Jordan River into the territory of Gilead armed and ready for battle. Scholars believe Zaphon was located just east of the Jordan, about halfway between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. There they found and confronted Jephthah.

It's unclear why the men of Ephraim are so upset about being left out of Israel's victory. It may be that their land was also attacked by the Ammonites at one point (Judges 10:8–9), though it was not occupied. It may be that missing the war meant missing the opportunity to partake in the spoils of battle. Or this might simply be another thin excuse (Judges 11:13) from a group eager for conquest. Rather than celebrating the end of Ammonite oppression, Ephraim threatens to burn Jephthah's house down with him in it.