Judges 12:5 MEANING

Judges 12:5
(5) Took the passages of Jordan.--Only through these fords could the Ephraimites escape to their own tribe. (Comp. Judges 3:28; Judges 7:24.) But while it was excusable to cut off all escape from a dangerous foreign invader, it showed a terrible exasperation to leave no chance of flight to Israelites in a civil war.

Before the Ephraimites.--Literally, to Ephraim, which perhaps means "towards, or in the direction of, Ephraim" (per qu? Ephraim, reversurus erat, Vulg.).

When those Ephraimites which were escaped.--The fact that the Hebrew phrase is exactly the same as in Judges 12:4, "fugitives of Ephraim," adds. great additional force to the view which we have adopted. If the rendering of the English Version be adopted in Judges 12:4, we can only suppose that there is a bitter retribution implied in the words. The Ephraimites had taunted the Eastern Manassites with being "fugitives of Ephraim," and in the next verse they themselves appear to be in another, but fatal, sense "fugitives of Ephraim."

Art thou an Ephraimite?--There must have been considerable traffic across the Jordan fords, and the object was to distinguish between Ephraimite fugitives and harmless travellers and merchants.

12:1-7 The Ephraimites had the same quarrel with Jephthah as with Gideon. Pride was at the bottom of the quarrel; only by that comes contention. It is ill to fasten names of reproach upon persons or countries, as is common, especially upon those under outward disadvantages. It often occasions quarrels that prove of ill consequence, as it did here. No contentions are so bitter as those between brethren or rivals for honour. What need we have to watch and pray against evil tempers! May the Lord incline all his people to follow after things which make for peace!And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites,.... Being either swifter of foot, or going a nearer and shorter way, being better acquainted with their own country:

and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, let me go over; the fugitives of Ephraim, as before called, who ran away from the battle, made their escape, and the best of their way to the passages of Jordan, to get over there to their own country:

that the men of Gilead said unto him; to everyone of them, as they came up:

art thou an Ephraimite? or an Ephrathite; for so it seems those of the tribe of Ephraim were called, as Jeroboam, 1 Kings 11:26.

if he said, nay; that he was not an Ephraimite;

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