Articles and Answers

This is where we post articles written by Stephen, as well as answers to questions he has received.

By default, you can see everything. Use the filter below to narrow down your selection. 
Do you have a Bible question?  Ask Stephen by clicking here.

Did Jephthah sacrifice his daughter?

Theresa from Virginia asked: “Did Jephthah sacrifice his daughter in Judges 11?

Theresa,

In Judges 11, Jephthah made a vow to sacrifice the first thing that came from his house, and it ended up being his daughter who came out. He probably assumed that the first thing he would see would be an animal of some sort. But he made that hasty vow, and if he went through with it, it would be murder.

Obviously, if he murders his daughter, he would face the judgment of God. But the dilemma then revolved around this question: What if someone does not keep a vow they made to God?

As the story unfolds, we find that he did not murder her. The daughter asked if she could go to the mountains and weep for two months. A clue to what happened is in verse 34 where she adds “because of my virginity.” She isn't weeping because she’s about to die. She's weeping because she’ll never be married and must remain a virgin. Verse 39 tells us that she came back, and has no relations with a man. 

What happened is that Jephthah found a way to “sacrifice” his daughter without killing her. 

The Bible commands that we keep our vows, but he made an ungodly vow. What he should have done is repent of his foolish and hasty vow. Saul did the same thing. He vowed that anyone who ate before the enemy was destroyed would be killed. His son Jonathan ate some honey. The vow was foolish. These men should have admitted their foolishness, repented of it, and moved on. God does not want us to follow our sin and foolishness with more sin and foolishness. He wants us to end it as soon as we become aware of it. 

Thanks for your question,

Stephen

Add a Comment

About this page:

Here at Wisdom International, we believe that the Bible is God's Word. Therefore, it carries the authority of God himself and is the final authority by which we order our lives. 

Sometimes the Bible can be confusing and difficult to understand. But God desires to be known. Scripture answers the big questions of life and should seek to know and understand what it says. 

This section of our website contains Stephen Davey's articles and his ever-growing archive of answers to questions from people like you. If you have a Bible question and are seeking an answer from the Bible, use our contact form to submit your question for Stephen. 

If you have questions, the Bible has answers and we want to help you! Ask Stephen your question here

You can browse this section to read Stephen's previous answers and read all of his previous posts. To search and see if your question has already been answered, click on the search icon above.