Jephthah Keeps the Vow but kills his daughter or break it to save? Judges 11
Read Judges 11 and it breaks my heart, especially so, since we just discussed the stupid vow taken by Jephthah and his refusal to break the vow. His keeping the vow to sacrifice a child, even his own daughter, in the name of keeping the so called vow before the Lord, does not make any theological or even rational grounds to justify that. In today’s Court, he will be convicted as murderer for sure.
Judges 11 29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 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.”
Jephthah in his zeal, or being manipulative, made a vow to God that if God gave him the victory in this battle, he would sacrifice whatever comes out of his house to meet him upon his return in triumph? Guess what?
34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! 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 no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”
Selfish self centered father who is concerned about himself at the expense of others
His only daughter, only a child, came out dancing with tambourines to greet her dad from the house, and she became the victim of child sacrifice!! And he blamed his daughter! What an insidious and dark coward to proceed to sacrifice his daughter in the name of keeping his vow! I suggest he should sacrifice himself and pleaded for mercy and understanding for forgiveness of his foolish vow, rash and stupid. Some theologians have argued that it was not a rash vow, though it may be a foolish one, arguing from the fact that Jephthah does come across as someone who speaks with calculated words in the passage prior. Regardless, there is a clear lesson to learn.
Which is more precious and important in the sight of God, vow or life?
In the OT, very often, things are taken at the face value of vow for the Lord, without questioning the integrity, righteousness of the vow itself before the holy and righteous God. What annoys me is, how can anyone justify his vow of killing a totally innocent person, because of a vow before a holy & righteous God? Does he not think that God will not approve him to ‘keep’ the vow, albeit a really stupid nonsensical vow, in order to execute the life of some innocent child? My question is which is more precious and important in the sight of God, vow or life? How would God approve him to kill his daughter as a sacrifice just to keep his vow? These are moral contradictions in point. God will be complicit in such murder, if that’s the case, if God allows that or approves that. Throughout the whole process, what intrigues me, and upsets me , is the complete silence from God in the entire process. I mean why didn’t God stop that jerk? Or at least send a prophet to tell that ego maniac off?? Is life that cheap in the OT? The sovereignty of God is a mystery. We know He knows best.
Child sacrifice happened because someone made a foolish vow, and dare not break it, because it’s before the Lord. The better question is how does one ‘keep’ the vow before the Lord, when it involves killing a child?? I think Jephthah is heading straight to hell. Judges is just dark.
God desires a sacrifice of life-style and not physical child sacrifice
We should never use the excuse of ministering before the Lord to cause damage to our families, wives, children or anything. The Lord desires a complete sacrifice of lifestyle, and not sacrifice of physical life! And definitely not some macho showing off at the expense of others. I believe the alternative for Jephthah is to repent before the Lord and ask for forgiveness in breaking the vow which should never have been there on the first place. Just exactly how that vow can help him to win battle? Was he trying to manipulate God? Won’t work with God!