HUMAN SACRIFICE IN O. T? : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Was Jefte's daughter sacrficed to God? Please esplain this disturbing passage, please.

"34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break." 36 "My father," she replied, "you have given your word to the LORD . Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry." 38 "You may go," he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite custom 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite." Judges ll

-- Alberto Flores (, July 27, 2003


Thank you

-- Alberto Flores (, July 27, 2003.

The traditional view is that Jephthah indeed sacrificed the life of his daughter, in the response to a vow to the Lord. This would be against Mosaic Law, but a common practice of Jephthah's pagan neighbors. It is obvious from the text that Jephthah, when he made the vow, expected either an animal or a slave to appear from his home first, not his daughter. Some theologians have proposed that the sacrifice was that of a vow to celibacy, that is, his daughter was dedicated to the Lord and therefore never knew man. This is not unheard of in Christian times, but I don't see the evidence of it in this instance.

I would look at it this way: Jephthah made an immoral vow. He thought he needed to bribe God in order to win a victory in battle instead of trusting in God to help Him win. He should not have made the vow, and once he made it, he should never have kept it. We are under no obligation to keep immoral vows; in fact we have a moral obligation not to keep an immoral vow. Realize that the biblical author of Judges documented the fact but did not approve of it. The lesson is that we should not make rash vows that we know we should not keep, to the Lord. Instead we should keep the commandment against making such vows.

At any rate, there is an excellent summary of this situation in the Catholic encyclopedia, found at:

Yours in Christ, Bill Nelson

-- Bill Nelson (, July 27, 2003.

Thank you, Bill, for your illuminating answer. BTH Irecieved in my personal e-mail some posts supposedly from Paul and other people, but of course that was faked mails. I wonder how people are so idle and useless as to waste their time and try to make other people waste theirs with such stupid way of doing things.

May the Lord have mercy on them. Alberto

-- Alberto Flores (, July 30, 2003.

Reading this passage disturbed me too. I think God knows what is in our hearts. When Jephthah made this vow to sacrifice the first creature, he never imagined that it would be a human, let alone his daughter. Even though he said first creature, God knows he meant an animal not his daughter. I think he was stupid to follow through on the sacrifice of his daughter, I would think that God was upset that he followed through and killed his daughter. I think he should have told God he was sorry, that he didn't mean his daughter when he made that vow, and should have waited for an animal. The most stupid award goes to---Jepthah.

-- Sharon (, August 02, 2003.

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