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Did Jephthah's Daughter Burn?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Aaron, May 5, 2021.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Judges 11:29-40 NET - The LORD's spirit empowered Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and Manasseh and went to Mizpah in Gilead. From there he approached the Ammonites.

    Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, saying, "If you really do hand the Ammonites over to me, then whoever is the first to come through the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from fighting the Ammonites - he will belong to the LORD and I will offer him up as a burnt sacrifice."

    Jephthah approached the Ammonites to fight with them, and the LORD handed them over to him. He defeated them from Aroer all the way to Minnith - twenty cities in all, even as far as Abel Keramim! He wiped them out! The Israelites humiliated the Ammonites.

    When Jephthah came home to Mizpah, there was his daughter hurrying out to meet him, dancing to the rhythm of tambourines. She was his only child; except for her he had no son or daughter. When he saw her, he ripped his clothes and said, "Oh no! My daughter! You have completely ruined me! You have brought me disaster! I made an oath to the LORD, and I cannot break it."

    She said to him, "My father, since you made an oath to the LORD, do to me as you promised. After all, the LORD vindicated you before your enemies, the Ammonites." She then said to her father, "Please grant me this one wish. For two months allow me to walk through the hills with my friends and mourn my virginity."

    He said, "You may go."

    He permitted her to leave for two months. She went with her friends and mourned her virginity as she walked through the hills. After two months she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. She died a virgin. Her tragic death gave rise to a custom in Israel. Every year Israelite women commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days.
     
  2. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Oops. Will someone correct the spelling in the thread title?
     
  3. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    I think you misunderstand "offer him up as a burnt sacrifice" to me burning a human in the fire. No Israelite would do such a thing for YHWH.

    What Jephthah did was to commit this person solely to God and offer a burnt offering vow to God dedicating that person to YHWH. Therefore, Jephthah's daughter would never marry nor provide him offspring. This was a mark on her that set her apart from all the other daughters of Israel.

    So...no human sacrifice in this passage.
     
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  4. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    It is a matter of understanding the Law as found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deutronomy and interpertation of it.
     
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  5. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Think that he forced her to be like a Catholic nun, and so remained a Virgin, and that ended his line!
     
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  6. Paul from Antioch

    Paul from Antioch Active Member

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    Seems to me that in Jephthah's specific case that particular incident doesn't explain what exactly happened to his daughter. OTOH, it is a basic tenet of Biblical interpretation to see what other (in this case OT) passages have to say about this subject. While I could be wrong, but as USAF enlisted person indicated, it would seem that he only committed her solely to God. Hannah did the same when God gave her a son, so we seem to have that as a precedent. Here again, I'm no OT scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but that's how I'd view this.
     
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  7. BroTom64

    BroTom64 Active Member
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    Hannah's son Samuel later had son's. I presume Samuel married. Would Jephthah's daughter be free from his vow after his death?
    My thoughts are with the other responders. She was wholly given to the Lord to be a virgin.
     
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  8. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Then what is to be said of the phrase "burnt offering," in this narrative?
     
  9. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    While I would like to believe his daughter was allowed to live out her life as a virgin.
    I do believe she was not made to be a burn offering.
    I think she was put to death according to Leviticus 27:28-29.
     
  10. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    One can desire that the daughter might have lived
    but the biblical text (Judges 11) is silent
    ...that in itself is foreboding.
    Perhaps the author didn’t want to express the outcome because it was so abhorrent... it shamed Israel greatly.

    The episode is in the climatic midst of increasingly sinful behavior within Israel.

    everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6)

    I’d say it would be out of the character of the book of Judges for someone one to act righteously out of respect for the LORD: a person’s righteous acts would not express the purpose of the book.

    Rob
     
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