Gilbert House Fellowship #340: Judges 11–13

JUDGES 11 describes an event in Israel’s history that is difficult to reconcile with a loving God.

Jephthah, the son of man of the tribe of Manasseh by a prostitute, is called upon by the people of Gilead to lead them into battle against the kingdom of Ammon, which had invaded their territory. Jephthah, described as “a mighty warrior,” vowed to God that he would sacrifice as a burnt offering “whatever [or “whoever”] comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return.” (Judges 11:30–31).

Click to enlarge (courtesy BibleMapper.com)

This illustrates the foolishness of swearing a rash vow to God. It is also evidence that the Bible has not been edited over the centuries, for surely an event like this would have been deleted to remove any hint that Jephthah’s vow and subsequent sacrifice was acceptable to God.

However, not all scholars believe that Jephthah’s daughter became a burnt offering. The Septuagint translation suggests that she was instead dedicated to God through a vow of chastity. In that time, being childless was normally considered a mark of shame. For more on this, see “Did Jephthah Kill His Daughter?” by Solomon Landers at Biblical Archaeology Society Online (link: https://www.baslibrary.org/bible-review/7/4/15) and “Daughter of Jephthah: Bible” by Karla Bombach at the Jewish Women’s Archive (link: https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/daughter-of-jephthah-bible).

It appears the real sacrifice was the end of Jephthah’s patrimony, since his daughter was his only child. By dedicating her to God, the bloodline of Jephthah came to an end.


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5 Comments


  1. Derek,
    What a fun day with you and Sharon.

    1. Author

      Thank you! That is just about our favorite time of the week.

  2. Thank you, Derek and Sharon, for sharing your insights from the Bible with us! I can’t tell you how often I recall your teachings that springboard me into further revelation into God’s precious word. There was a time in my very early walk with the Lord that I thought, “It must be kind of boring for pastors to have to keep coming up with sermons from the same old Bible stories” (which in my mind at the time we’re only about 20 or so that the Bible recorded!) Well I know differently now and am very eager to dig deeper and deeper into God’s word every day! You guys help to wonderfully bring these Biblical accounts to life for me on a regular basis. May God continue to bless you with ever increasing wisdom and revelation 🤗❤️

  3. Wow.. what a biblical argument for the pre born! 🙂 Jesus..the pre-incarnate ..appearing to Samsons mother! 🙂 Now how’s that for knowing you before you were in your mother’s womb “-) That one hit me straight away as you were talking.. the Bible’s full of this concept as a truth! Of course Jesus was, is, and always would be.. true man and true God, at His Father’s side at creation.. but for the rest of us mere mortals “-) Gods wayward human race children .. our souls, us, the whole of what we are, are in that embryo, en totus! Thank you for the insight 🙂 These podcasts rock!

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