Question of the Week:
Verses: Judges 11:29-39, Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Hebrews 11:32
Jepthah’s daughter is a lightning rod of controversy among skeptics. However, the only reason that is the case is because it is presented by them as an example of human sacrifice approved of by the Christian God. This simply is not the case. Any understanding of Hebrew culture and Old Testament law would lead to the conclusion that human sacrifice was never to occur in Israel. The only example of it being suggested in the Old Testament goes back to the time of Abraham where God asked him to offer his son, but stopped him at the last second to give an example to future generations of what would happen when Jesus was offered on that very same mountain. So what did happen with Jepthah’s daughter? The passage says that whatever came through the door would be offered as a burnt offering, and there was a great deal of grief expressed when her father saw his only child would have to be that offering in order to keep his vow. So if it wasn’t human sacrifice, then what was offered to God? Exactly what she mourned. Her virginity was what her friends and her mourned, and the result was her never knowing a man for the rest of her life. The reason this was so grieving to Jepthah was because this would mean an end to his family’s lineage in Israel. Yet even though this would cost him a lot of respect in his day, he kept his vow to God and dedicated his daughter’s virginity to Him. Though his family name wouldn’t carry on in Israel, his faithfulness to his vow gained his family a spot in the hall of fame of faith in Hebrews 11.
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