The corresponding letter to this chapter is Lamed – teaching and learning.
Shof’tim 12:1-3 Then the men of Efrayim were summoned, and they crossed to Tzafon and said to Yiftach, "Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of ‘Amon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you." And Yiftach said to them, "I and my people were at great strife with the sons of ‘Amon; when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. And when I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the sons of ‘Amon, and the L-RD gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day, to fight against me?"
The men of Efrayim did not want to help initially but now it looks like they want to enjoy the spoils of war.
Shof’tim 12:4-7 Then Yiftach gathered all the men of Gil’ad and fought Efrayim; and the men of Gil’ad defeated Efrayim, because they said, "You are fugitives of Efrayim, O Gil’adites, in the midst of Efrayim and in the midst of Manasseh." And the Gil’adites captured the fords of the Yarden opposite Efrayim. And it happened when any of the fugitives of Efrayim said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gil’ad would say to him, "Are you an Efrayimite?" If he said, "No," then they would say to him, "Say now, 'Shibbolet.'" But he said, "Sibbolet," for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Efrayim. And Yiftach judged Israel six years. Then Yiftach the Gil’adite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gil’ad.
Judgment comes down on Efrayim for not helping and as Yiftach said, “ I called you and you did not deliver me from their hand. This is almost similar to the separation of the goats from the sheep. Both are to eternal destruction. Here with Efrayim there was a test. Shibbolet means flood. If you pronounced it as “S” instead of “SH” it usually meant physical death. In the case of Yeshua the nations will also be judged by a test. It also concerns how you help others. It also concerns water- that is – if one gave water to others to drink. It also concerns if one helped another by feeding or clothing them when they needed it.
Mattityahu 25:44-46 "Then they themselves also will answer, saying, 'L-rd, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Shof’tim 12:8-10 Now Ibzan of Beit-Lechem judged Israel after him. And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters whom he gave in marriage outside the family, and he brought in thirty daughters from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. Then Ibzan died and was buried in Beit-Lechem.
It is interesting that he found marriages for his sons and daughters outside the family. Those that are brought to eternal life are then are married to the Messiah even though they are not of Israel. They still are considered His bride. Interesting how that works out almost the same except on a higher level, isn’t it?
Also with this many children he must have had more than one wife. It was NEVER part of G-d’s plan to have plural wives.
B’resheet (Genesis) 2:24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Shof’tim 12:11-12 Now Elon from Z’vulun judged Israel after him; and he judged Israel ten years. Then Elon from Z’vulun died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Z’vulun.
Shof’tim 12:13-15 Now Avdon the son of Hillel from Pir’aton judged Israel after him. And he had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys; and he judged Israel eight years. Then Avdon the son of Hillel from Pir’aton died and was buried at Pir’aton in the land of Efrayim, in the hill country of the Amalek.
Not much is said about these judges. The next judge will more than make up for it.