The Daughter of Man


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The story is remembered for the killing of the fugitive Ephraimites who were identified by their accent; they said the Hebrew word shibboleth as sibboleth. Jephthah's sacrifice of his daughter stands in stark contrast to the Binding of Isaac in the Book of Genesis , in which Abraham was about to perform a divinely-ordered sacrifice of his son, when an angel of God directly intervened and stopped the sacrifice. There was no intervention in the case of Jephthah's daughter who was, contrary to Mosaic law, given as a burnt offering.

Unlike other instances of burnt offerings that were in fact in line with Mosaic law, there is no divine acknowledgement of this offering. Some writers have observed that the Israelites of the time were decidedly barbarous; that Mosaic law which forbade human sacrifice was at this time widely disrespected; and that there are several other examples of rash vows to God with similarly terrible consequences. David Janzen argued that the story was an integral part of the Deuteronomist picture of moral decline through adoption of non-Israelitic practices such as child sacrifice.

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Her character is elaborated and emphasized; [12] [13] "the author has done his utmost to put this woman on the same level as the patriarchs, in this case especially Isaac. The Talmud characterizes Yiftach Jephthah as a person of poor judgment, who makes "unfitting" vows without proper consideration for consequences B'reishit Rabbah , The midrash Tanhuma Bechukotai 7 asserts that if Jephthah had read the laws of vows in the Torah, he would not have lost his daughter.

Since at least the 12th or 13th century, Jewish scholars, among them the compiler and summarizer David Kimhi — and Levi Ben Gershon — , have taken fulfilment of Jephthah's vow as meaning that he only kept her in seclusion. Ethelbert William Bullinger , [24] looks at the word "and" in Jephthah's vow Judges "whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering".

Indeed, this rendering is suggested in the margin of the A. Bullinger goes on to give examples from the Bible where the same word has been translated as "or". According to him, the right translation of this passage is: "whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, or I will offer it up as a burnt offering. He also says:.

In any case, it should have been unlawful, and repugnant to Jehovah, to offer a human being to Him as a burnt-offering, for His acceptance. Such offerings were common to heathen nations at that time, but it is noteworthy that Israel stands out among them with this great peculiarity, that human sacrifices were unknown in Israel. Adam Clarke 's Commentary [27] has an exposition of the issues at stake in this passage and contends that the vow Jephthah made was not as rash as it sounds.

In the writings of Pseudo-Philo Jephthah's daughter is given the name "Seila". The Order of the Eastern Star refers to her as Adah. Israel Finkelstein has suggested that behind multiple and large-scale Deuteronomistic and post-Deuteronomistic additions and redactions, there may lie an oral story which reflects a conflict on the boundary between Israelite and Ammonite settlements in Transjordan, around the towns of Gilead and Mizpah.

It may have been first written down in the 8th century BCE, when the Northern kingdom of Israel Samaria began to collect its heroic tales, royal stories, and foundation myths.

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Jephtah was a man of outstanding military ability who rose from despised beginnings he was illegitimate to become a leader of Israel. In the heat of battle he promised God that if he was victorious he would offer as sacrifice the first thing that met him when he returned home from the battle. Jephtah won the battle and returned home. As he approached his house, his beloved only daughter ran out to meet him. She returned, and the vow was carried out.

Judges , Jephtah was a man from Giliad. His family background was not what it could have been — he was the illegitimate son of a prostitute. On two counts, therefore, Jephtah was a social outcast. The problem was made worse by his half-brothers, who ejected him from the family home.

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This meant he did not even have membership of the clan of his father. Read Judges Jephtah, however, was not beaten. He may have been an outcast, but he had exceptional talents as a leader and a fighter. They lived outside the law, robbing trade caravans and raiding the herds of more law-abiding people. When war broke out with the Ammonites, the leaders of Gilead went to Jephtah and his men and asked for help.

They believed Jephtah had the skills to lead their army successfully against the Ammonites. Jephtah agreed to fight, because winning would make him a hero.


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It would wipe out the stain of his illegitimacy and give him full acceptance among the Israelites. It was this desire for acceptance that fueled his ambition, and under its influence he made a stupid and cruel vow.


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No doubt he had a shrewd and calculating nature — he would not otherwise have survived. The vow he made showed he was also, at heart, a pagan.

E03 My Daughter's Men S2

Tragedy was about to strike.

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