Jephthah's Daughter

by Sea Breeze 26 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • smiddy3

    Just like what`s in all of the Bible you can choose what you want to believe about it and a scripture is there to provide it .

    That`s why there is more than 40,000 sects of Christendom and the JW`s are one of many.

    On the other hand Jephthah was devoted to the LORD and that`s why he sacrificed his daughter to him.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze
    So was it a human sacrifice, or a devotion to the Lord, like the WT maintains?

    Looks like Jewish scholars are not in agreement on this. They do agree however that Jephthah was a self-righteous idiot...Perfect Watchtower leadership material.

    - "Firstly it is important to emphasize that Judaism has always viewed human sacrifices as a reprehensible abomination. Regarding the Canaanites, Moses says: “For every abomination to G‑d which He hates, they did to their gods; for also their sons and their daughters they would sacrifice in fire to their gods.”3

    Based on this idea, many of the biblical commentators maintain that Jephthah did not offer his daughter as a sacrifice. In fact, his original vow, “whatever comes forth . . . shall be to G‑d, and I will offer it up for a burnt-offering,” had a dual intention: if it will be a person, then it “shall be [consecrated] to G‑d”; and if it should be an animal, then “I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” (The Hebrew prefix ו which precedes the words “I will offer it” can be translated as “and” or “or.”)

    According to this interpretation, Jephthah’s daughter was sent to the mountains to live in seclusion. She never married and dedicated her life to the service of G‑d.

    Other biblical commentators5 disagree. Though Jephthah was one of the Israelite judges, he was chosen for the position because of his bravery and might, not because of his Torah scholarship—indeed, he was woefully ignorant.6 And though he was not bound whatsoever by the vow he made—as it clearly transgressed the rules of the Torah—he ignorantly went ahead and offered his daughter as a sacrifice.

    Had he only consulted with Phinehas, the learned high priest of the time, he would have been informed of his error. But that didn’t happen. Jephthah was too arrogant to travel to Phinehas to receive guidance: “I am the general of the Israelite forces, and I should go to him?!” And Phinehas was too proud to unilaterally go to Jephthah to advise him: “He needs me; why should I make the trip?”

    The hubris demonstrated by these two leaders cost an innocent girl her life. According to the Midrash7 both were punished. Phinehas lost the divine spirit that had hitherto rested upon him. Jephthah became ill, and he lost many of his limbs. Because his limbs were buried in many locations, the Bible says that Jephthah was “buried in the cities of Gilead.”8 "

    - Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

    Apparently Jephthah went to pieces after this..... literally.

  • smiddy3

    You gotta love the Bible you can read into it anything you want .Thanks Sea Breeze .

    Apparently Jephthah went to pieces after this..... literally. LOL

  • cofty
    Source please - Sea Breeze

    If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 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 ... he did to her as he had vowed - Judges 11

    If Jephthah had thought better of his vow and spared the life of his child that would have been the point of the story. Instead the point of the story is Jephthah's willingness to keep his vow and his daughter's acquiescence. The OT is full of examples of Yahweh communicating his wishes to his prophets. On this occasion he remained silent and accepted child sacrifice.

    Everything else is hand waving by embarrassed theologians.

    God could end evil and suffering by tomorrow morning if he wanted. All he has to do is forcibly take away our free will - Sea Breeze

    Countless millions of humans have suffered and died as a result of 'natural evil' that has absolutely nothing to do with free will. Your god does not get to blame the victims. A tsunami proves beyond all doubt that the god of christian theism does not exist.

  • waton

    Human sacrifice is the central theme of the Christian religion. demanded by "the giver" of all laws, gravity included.

    free will? I gladly would give up mine, if it would be mandatory for potential adulterers, child rapists / killers, thieves, mis-"leader" like " der Ver-Fuehrer" ( the seducer)

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Stories including those which later became sacralised in the Bible were all written by humans, there cannot possibly be evidence that it was otherwise.

    The plot line of a story reflects and reveals a society and its values. From reading ancient literature and plays today, we are conscious even now of reacting to the high drama of moral dilemmas, they give the tale its interest and the reason for our emotional engagement. No doubt the silly story of a man who promises his god a sacrifice of the first person who comes to greet him, was a literary chestnut from early times. Only a reckless idiot/murderer would think literally of doing this but set in the context of child sacrifice familiar to the readers (or more likely presented to the audience as a play) it would make for a gripping presentation.

    The Hebrews were part of the Canaanite culture, their language originated with the Phoenicians and its alphabet is shared with early Hebrew and Samaritan. The Israelites also inherited religious cues and values from them.The Phoenicians were famous for their tophets or places for child sacrifice and the inhabitants of the Levant as with many of the those dwelling on the Mediterranean coast, followed the same practice.

    Biblical accounts do naturally reflect the great shifts in religious horizons and as the Hebrews learned from their Egyptian overlords they adopted a form of montheism (actually henotheism) centering on YHVH who was one of the the sons of the Phoenician's God El. Much of the ranting and threats by Jehovah in the OT is about this new concept namely exclusively worshipping only one of the many gods. It was to put an end to polytheism. The story of the human sacrifice of Abraham's son Isaac originally had Isaac killed but the "new light" was that no longer is human sacrifice a good idea, so in the retelling of the ancient story, the one included in the sacred texts, Isaac is spared and the message is that animal sacrifices will do the job.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze
    The OT is full of examples of Yahweh communicating his wishes to his prophets.


    Are you suggesting that since God on occasion communicated his wishes to some people, that this proves he communicated his wish for a child sacrifice to this person (Jephthah) on this occasion ?

    I'm just trying to understand your reasoning here.

  • cofty

    No. Please read my post again.

    I said - 'he remained silent and accepted child sacrifice.'

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    OK, thank you for the clarification. So, in your view because God remained silent, this is proof that he accepted child sacrifice? Is that correct?

  • cofty


    Jephthah was appointed leader of Israel. God heard the vow. God knew of Jephthah's intention to murder his child as an offering to him. God did nothing to prevent a crime being carried out in his name. God is culpable.

    Jephthah had a precedent in God's demand to Abraham to murder his child as a sacrifice. This time there was no last minute intervention.

    Killing people is pretty much Yahweh's job description.

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