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Jephthah: The Unlikely JudgeThe Cycle Pattern: Israel sins 10:6-7a (Longer than normal) Judgment 10:7b-9 Israel cries out to God 10:10 God ignores, then relents 10:11-16 God sends a deliverer 10:17ff [11:1] Period of leadership 12:7 1
The Sacrifice of Jephthah’s DaughterFour reasons advanced for her not being sacrificed: Human sacrifice forbidden Lv 18:21; 20:2-5; Dt 12:31; 18:10 No true priest would have officiated An alternative was available 1 Sm 1:28 (Lv 27:1-8) She seemed more concerned about not marrying than dying 2
The Sacrifice of Jephthah’s DaughterBasic reason advanced for her actual sacrifice: Theme in Judges – “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” His vow: “whoever comes out… will be YHWH’s” Some try to soften whoever to whatever Only people are described as ‘coming out’ 3
The Sacrifice of Jephthah’s DaughterConcerns about vows: Best to avoid if too difficult to carry out Vows do not buy God’s favor, but once made are very seriousGod’s approval in one area does not mean approval in all areas 4
The Sacrifice of Jephthah’s DaughterThat Jephthah sacrificed his daughter is the most natural readingObjection to actual sacrifice view: ‘And she was a virgin’ 11:39 Why include if she was sacrificed? Result: remained a virgin and served in tabernacle Response to tabernacle view: Adds to tragedy & reminds that his family line ends 5