I guess there is nothing like the smell of a young virgin roasting on an open fire. I bet you never forget the first waft.
I think that silence can be interpreted, or misinterpreted for that matter as either approval or disapproval. (Just ask any married couple) The prevailing view is that Jephthah was (pardon the bluntness) a self-righteous idiot, regardless of whether or not the vow was a human sacrifice or as the Rabbi I quoted earlier - could be translated as :
“whatever comes forth . . . shall be given to God,
andor I will offer it up for a burnt-offering,”... indicating a dual intention if it will was a person, then it “shall be [consecrated] to God”; and if it should be an animal, then “I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”
In either case, Jephthah was bargaining with God from a human standpoint, was making it known to others (blowing his own horn) as a show of his contribution; as if God's prior promises to Israel wasn't enough. It seems Jephthah wanted to take some credit for moving the hand of God, by what he was willing to contribute. In other words, his vow revealed a lack of faith in God's prior promises, not more of it.
This kind of emotional mis-interpretation of social interaction with God is not uncommon among religious leaders. It actually seems to attract those prone to mis-interpretation regarding their position with God. I personally believe those that fall somewhere on the Aspergers spectrum are particularly drawn to (false) religious leadership where pride then takes over. (Think CT Russell who believed he was personally named in scripture as THE "faithful and wise servant).
I once had an elder go out of his way to tell me that he had made a vow to God to never drink alcohol again in his life. I had known him since child-hood and knew that he never had a problem with alcohol. He said he was doing it because of what he had seen alcohol do to other people. (Those in his estimation not as strong as him) So, his motivation seemed misplaced to me.
I remained silent after he told me. I neither showed approval or disapproval. Inwardly, I was turned off by this display of self-righteousness. He probably thought I was speechless at the magnitude of his sacrifice. I just decided to not say anything and leave him to his own delusions.
Surely when you were an elder you saw plenty of self-righteous idiocy and likely even experienced it yourself at times during your tenure.
My basic argument is that it is a mistake to assume that silence means approval.
Ps. 50: 16 reads:
But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to declare My statutes,
or take My covenant in your mouth?
You hate instruction,
and cast My words behind you.
When you see a thief, you are pleased,
and have a share in those who commit adultery.
You let loose your mouth to evil,
and your tongue is bound to deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
you accuse your own mother’s son.
These things have you done, and I kept silent;
you thought that I was indeed like you;
but I will reprove you
and make a case before your eyes."
The fact that Jephthah ended up with apparent leprosy, having to be buried in several places because his limbs fell off certainly doesn't play to the narrative that God was pleased.
God knew for a whole two months that Jephthah was going to murder his child in order to pay God back for the victory. He did NOTHING. He could have told his High Priest to intervene, he did not.
Jephthah had good reason to think it was the ultimate way to prove his loyalty. God demanded that Abraham murder his child to prove his loyalty and only let him off with a last minute reprieve.
Murdering children is a speciality of Yahweh - especially if their parents are the wrong nationality.
The fact that Jephthah ended up with apparent leprosy, having to be buried in several places because his limbs fell off
You have a strange definition of the word 'fact'. This post-biblical addition is nothing but a fig-leaf to cover Rabbinical embarrassment.
God knew for a whole two months ..
Cofty, whatever happened, chasity or sacrifice God always knew. Otherwise he wouldn't be God. Sometimes God leaves people to their own lunacy. Other times he intervenes, particularly if the outworking of his long-term purpose is threatened.... Just like we do at times.
He gave us free will. Which he called "good". This requires the possibility of evil. I believe that you are misinterpreting God's silence as approval. Others, with scriptural precedent, can even more easily interpret this as disapproval.
But, of course you are welcome to your opinion.
God demanded Abraham murder his child. God ordered the murder of hundreds of Amalekite infants. God has form.
You say that Free will is the cause of all troubles.
God has Free will and yet he cannot sin. If God created man in his image, he should have created us likewise. How do you explain that