Because the name of his fief was Ji 冀 (near modern Jishan 稷山, Shanxi), he is also known as Ji Que 冀缺. He was a son of Xi Rui 郤芮 and served the dukes Cheng 晉成公 (r. 607-600) and Jing 晉景公 (r. 600-581) of Jin.
His father was executed in 636 because he had rebelled against Duke Wen 晉文公 (r. 636-628), and Xi Que was demoted to commoner (shuren 庶人). Hu Yan 狐偃 felt pity with him and recommended him to the Duke who appointed him grand master in the Lower Army (xiajun dafu 下軍大夫).
In 627, he carriedo out a military campaign against the White Di 白狄 tribes and captured their chieftain. He was rewarded with the title of minister commander (qing 卿) and was given back the fief of his family.
In 615, Xi Que defeated the army of Qin 秦 in the battle of Hequ 河曲 (near modern Yongji 永濟, Shanxi), in 612 he brought down the army of Cai 蔡. He was therefore appointed Counsellor-in-Chief, as successor to Zhao Dun 趙盾 (Zhao Xuanzi 趙宣子).
The chieftain of the Red Di 赤狄 had enslaved several other tribes of the Di (zhong Di 眾狄). Xi Que forced the Di tribes into submission and formally created an alliance with them at Zanhan 欑函.