Shiboleth or Siboleth?

Judges 12:1-15

In today’s passage, we saw the Ephraimites confront Jephtah the Gileadite questioning why he did not ask them to war when he fought the Ammonites, they threatened to burn him with his house. This bears some similarities with the same thing the Ephraimites did when Gideon went to war without them. At that time Gideon resolved the issue peacefully, however this time around the confrontation had a different outcome.

Jephtah was angry with the Ephraimites for he indeed asked for their help but they refused, and he had to go to battle by himself and his men. He then gathered the Gileadites and fought the Ephraimites. Gilead had the upper hand and took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites. When the Ephraimites who escaped tried to go over the Jordan, they were asked are you an Ephraimte? With a ‘no’ as an answer, the individual would be tested by being asked to pronounce the word “Shiboleth”. Ephraimites were unable to say this word properly, calling it “Siboleth”. Once that test was failed, the Ephraimite would be killed, and up to forty two thousand of them fell.

Jephtah then died after judging Israel for six years. After him was Ibzan from Bethlehem who judged for seven years. After Ibzan was Elon, who judged for ten years, and after Elon was Abdon who also judged Israel for eight years. Not much was said about the three judges than about the number of their sons, daughters and nephews.

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