Did Jephthah Kill His Daughter?

Have you ever wondered about Jephthah’s oath to sacrifice his daughter in the book of Judges? Author David Ettinger give a clear explanation of this puzzling action!


By David Ettinger

Introduction: Did He or Didn’t He?
If you’re not familiar with the story of Jephthah and his daughter from the Book of Judges, here it is in a nutshell. (I strongly encourage you to read Judges Chapter 11 before proceeding.)

jephthahJephthah became the military leader of Israel and was preparing to lead his army against Ammon. Though an able leader, Jephthah panicked and made a grievous vow. He tells the Lord that, in exchange for victory, he will give Him a burnt offering of the first thing that comes out of his door when he returns home (Judges 11:30-31).

Israel wins the battle. Upon returning home, what – or who – should emerge first from Jephthah’s house but his beloved daughter and only child? Bound by his vow, Jephthah sacrifices her (v. 39). Or does he?

Throughout the centuries Bible readers have debated this question, splitting down…

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