Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jephthah Sacrifices His Daughter to God

In Judges, chapter 11, the military leader Jephthah made a bargain with God that, if God would guarantee Jephthah's victory over the Ammonites, Jephthah would, without fail, sacrifice as a burnt offering 'whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return'.
Jephthah did indeed defeat the Ammonites ('with a very great slaughter', as is par for the course in the book of Judges) and he returned home victorious. Not surprisingly, his daughter, his only child, came out of the house to greet him (with timbrels and dances) and - alas - she was the first living thing to do so. Understandably Jephthah rent his clothes, but there was nothing he could do about it. God was obviously looking for-ward to the promised burnt offering, and in the circumstances the daughter very decently agreed to be sacrificed. She asked only that she should be allowed to go into the mountains for two months to bewail her virginity. At the end of this time she meekly returned, and Jephthah cooked her. God did not see fit to intervene on this occasion.

-- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion


  1. God was obviously Looking forward? I missed that in the passage. God didn't see fit to intervene? God did intervene when he was asked to in the battle, Not only that but the daughter who had faith asked her father to follow through with his commitment to God. While this is not in todays world something that we find appealing the reality is that a covenant was made with God and kept. To break a covenant was a very serious thing, in todays world we break them like they mean nothing, look at the divorce rate as a simple example.

  2. Yes God helped Jephthah to destroy an entire city, but God demand that Jephthah's daughter be killed for his help. Jephthah may have not known that it would be his daughter, but God certainly must have. A God that demand the murder of a child is not a god that should be worshipped in any way!

  3. So who or what do you believe in or worship?

    God did not demand, It does not say that anywhere in the scriptures. Jephthah is the one who made the covenant about the sacrifice.

    Prior to the coming of Christ, sacrifices and covenants were a daily part of life. What I believe you are lacking here is the historical perspective of the times. Sacrificial killing of living creatures was common among not only followers of God but of other false religions as well. They were to atone for your sins and to cleanse yourself before God. The grace of Christ's death on the cross was that those were no longer necessary as a true relationship with God is not dependent on rituals but on a relationship with God.

    The reality is each of us could twist our interpretation of God's word in any manner we wanted to in order to try to sway others towards a belief or disbelief. Using a single verse or a chapter of any book out of context of the rest of the book or without the historical context can be interpreted many ways.

    In one of your posts you talk about how Jesus knew the prophecy and therefore manipulated the facts to get people to believe. Read this article that looks at just the scientific probability that Jesus could have match just 48 of the hundreds he matched. The number is 1 with 17 zero's behind it. The analysis was confirmed by many outside sources. Google Peter Stoner or go to this link

    For me I believe and follow Christ for the things he has done in my life and the truths I have seen in my relationship with him.

    We both have sides of a story we believe. As I asked in the beginning what or who do you believe in?

  4. I believe in humanity. I do not however believe in fairy tales that were created by a people who had almost no understanding of what life is and how unbelievably important it is! As for “the daughter who had faith asked her father to follow through with his commitment to God,” I would say the same thing if I just murdered my daughter.
    As for the article you posted, I just skimmed it and will try to give it a thorough read later today, but I wanted to point out that the Old Testament was written before the story of Jesus (obviously) so when the story of Jesus was being composed, it took nothing more than a reading of the Old Testament’s ‘predictions’ to make Jesus’ story fulfill them. And the odd of this happening are .9 with 17 more 9’s behind it in 1.

  5. I totally understand the concept of being able to write a book, that as you put were a fairy tale, that could find a way to weave in some or even a few prophesy into the writings.

    The reality of the different books that were written, by different people, at different times I believe makes that theory harder to believe than the fairy tale theory.

    Writings back then are not like today where it is published and read by the masses. They were not posted on the internet so everyone had a portion of the story and could rewrite theirs to align.

    They also did not sit in a room together and craft as you portray is this elaborate intertwined scheme of deception.

    The existence of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a simple but real confirmation of this.

  6. Actually the books of the New Testament were picked at and put together to what we now call the New Testament, (see canonization of the new testament) and the people what wrote the books were not even alive when Jesus was, so the stories were passed down through generations just like all the creation myths of the period.
    So when it came time to write them down, they fit pretty well with all the predictions that were the cornerstone of the Jewish faith.