What does Judges 11:29 mean?
ESV: Then the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites.
NIV: Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.
NASB: Now the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon.
CSB: The Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah, who traveled through Gilead and Manasseh, and then through Mizpah of Gilead. He crossed over to the Ammonites from Mizpah of Gilead.
NLT: At that time the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites.
KJV: Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
NKJV: Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon.
Verse Commentary:
This is the text's first indication that God has legitimately endorsed Jephthah as a deliverer of Israel from her enemies. It's also the first indication to the reader that the Lord is responding to Israel's repentance from serving other gods and request for deliverance (Judges 10:10–16).

God sends His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, on Jephthah. This apparently happens as Jephthah seeks to recruit additional fighters to take on the Ammonites. The Holy Spirit also came on Gideon when the time came to recruit fighters and attack Israel's enemies (Judges 6:34). The sense of this passage is that Jephthah is supernaturally empowered to raise and lead an army of God's people into battle.

This verse vaguely describes Jephthah's route as he passes through both Gilead and Manasseh. He returns to Mizpah in Gilead (Judges 11:11) before attacking the Ammonites. Passing "through Manasseh" suggests Jephthah may have raised fighters outside of his region of Gilead, as well as from within.
Verse Context:
Judges 11:29–40 begins with God's Spirit coming on Jephthah and empowering him to raise an army from Gilead and Manasseh. Before attacking the Ammonites, Jephthah makes a vow regarding victory in the war. When Israel wins the victory, Jephthah's vow surprisingly binds him to offer his daughter, his only child, as an offering to the Lord. She agrees that her father must follow through on this sacred promise, but she first spends two months grieving that she will not marry or have children. Jephthah fulfills his vow, though scholars have long debated how, exactly, he did so.
Chapter Summary:
A man named Jephthah is driven away from his home in Gilead by jealous brothers. He settles in Tob, where he becomes warrior chief of a criminal band. Gilead's elders later recruit Jephthah to lead the fight against their Ammonite oppressors. After a failed negotiation attempt, Jephthah vows to make a burnt offering to the Lord of whatever comes to meet him if God gives him victory over the Ammonites. Israel thoroughly defeats Ammon, and Jephthah's daughter, his only child, greets him. Jephthah carries out his vow after his daughter grieves never marrying or having children.
Chapter Context:
Judges 11 answers the question raised at the end of the previous chapter: who could lead Gilead's fight against the Ammonites? The elders recruit Jephthah, a warrior driven away by his family in Gilead. Jephthah agrees to return and is appointed leader of Gilead. Jephthah raises an army and makes a foolish vow to the Lord in exchange for victory. Israel defeats Ammon, but Jephthah's vow costs him his only child, his daughter. His victory also creates civil strife in Israel, leading to a minor civil war.
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
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