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  1  definition  found 
  From  Easton's  1897  Bible  Dictionary  [easton]: 
  whom  God  sets  free  or  the  breaker  through  a  "mighty  man  of 
  valour"  who  delivered  Israel  from  the  oppression  of  the 
  Ammonites  (Judg.  11:1-33),  and  judged  Israel  six  years  (12:7). 
  He  has  been  described  as  "a  wild,  daring,  Gilead  mountaineer,  a 
  sort  of  warrior  Elijah."  After  forty-five  years  of  comparative 
  quiet  Israel  again  apostatized,  and  in  "process  of  time  the 
  children  of  Ammon  made  war  against  Israel"  (11:5).  In  their 
  distress  the  elders  of  Gilead  went  to  fetch  Jephthah  out  of  the 
  land  of  Tob,  to  which  he  had  fled  when  driven  out  wrongfully  by 
  his  brothers  from  his  father's  inheritance  (2),  and  the  people 
  made  him  their  head  and  captain.  The  "elders  of  Gilead"  in  their 
  extremity  summoned  him  to  their  aid,  and  he  at  once  undertook 
  the  conduct  of  the  war  against  Ammon.  Twice  he  sent  an  embassy 
  to  the  king  of  Ammon,  but  in  vain.  War  was  inevitable.  The 
  people  obeyed  his  summons,  and  "the  spirit  of  the  Lord  came  upon 
  him."  Before  engaging  in  war  he  vowed  that  if  successful  he 
  would  offer  as  a  "burnt-offering"  whatever  would  come  out  of  the 
  door  of  his  house  first  to  meet  him  on  his  return.  The  defeat  of 
  the  Ammonites  was  complete.  "He  smote  them  from  Aroer,  even  till 
  thou  come  to  Minnith,  even  twenty  cities,  and  unto  the  plain  of 
  the  vineyards  [Heb.  'Abel  Keramim],  with  a  very  great  slaughter" 
  (Judg.  11:33).  The  men  of  Ephraim  regarded  themselves  as 
  insulted  in  not  having  been  called  by  Jephthah  to  go  with  him  to 
  war  against  Ammon.  This  led  to  a  war  between  the  men  of  Gilead 
  and  Ephraim  (12:4),  in  which  many  of  the  Ephraimites  perished. 
  (See  {SHIBBOLETH}.)  "Then  died  Jephthah  the  Gileadite 
  and  was  buried  in  one  of  the  cities  of  Gilead"  (7).