The Setting… Judges 10:6,7-9,10-18
The Story… Judges 11:1-29
His Vow – Judges 11:30,31
Jephthah was a man who had become a judge of Israel by leading the Israelites to victory against the Ammonites who were oppressing them. Jephthah must have been driven from his brothers, but the leaders of Israel brought him back in order that he might help them win the battle. As Jephthah was preparing to battle the enemy, he made a foolish vow to God; he promised to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house to greet him when he returned home from the victory.
His Victory – Judges 11:32,33
Jephthah was victorious!
His Vexation – Judges 11:34-40
To his surprise, his daughter was the first to greet him as he returned home. Despite Jephthah’s regret, his daughter urged her father to remain true to his vow to God and to give her to Him. The only thing she requested was some time to go away into the hills with her friends for 2months to mourn the fact she would never marry.
Her dedication left such an impression on the people of Israel, they initiated a custom in which the young women would go out for 4 days to commemorate her sacrifice.
Jephthah’s daughter must have been a very devoted daughter; she was very concerned her father remain true to his word.
We don’t know what actually happened to Jephthah’s daughter. Was she offered as a burnt offering… a human sacrifice? Or was she set apart to live the rest of her days in celibacy and as a single woman? Either would have denied Jephthah any hope of descendants, as she was his only child.
What we do know is that Jephthah’s rash vow brought him unspeakable grief.
Devotion to God… self-sacrifice… focus on God in the midst of disappointment…
As the friends of Jephthah’s daughter passed on the stories to their own children, how do you think they remembered her? She was brave. She was devoted. She never complained about the situation she found herself in.
How do you want to be remembered?
You can read the story of Jephthah’s daughter in Judges 11.