Scripture references: Judges 10; 11
Date: About 1250 b.c.
Main contribution: Jephthah’s daughter illustrates the limitations on women’s freedom of self-determination.
Jephthah was the illegitimate son of an Israelite who was expelled by his family and clan after his father’s death. But Jephthah was an exceptional leader, and when the Ammonites attacked the Israelites, Jephthah was recalled to lead them in battle.
When Jephthah was about to lead the attack on the enemy forces he made a vow to the Lord, that “whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering” (Judg. 11:31 niv).
To Jephthah’s dismay, his only child, a daughter, was the first to come out to meet him! Crushed and miserable, Jephthah told her of the vow “that I cannot break” (Judg. 11:35 niv).
Many have concluded from this dialog that Jephthah did kill and burn his daughter as a sacrifice. However, this is unlikely, in view of the wider context of Scripture. What actually did happen is suggested in the following: Continue Reading Here