Judges 11:29-12:15

  1. Read the story of Jephthah’s vow in the light of Eccles. 5:2-6; Deut.23:21-23.
    What does this story teach about:
    (a) the sacredness of a promise to God, and
    (b) the necessity of considering what such a promise may involve?
  2. Compare Jephthah’s treatment of the Ephraimites with that of Gideon in a similar situation (8:1-3).
    What light does this incident throw on:
    (a) the Ephraimites,
    (b) Jephthal?

Note. Whilst all earlier commentators and historians accepted that Jephthah offered up his daughter in sacrifice, well-meaning scholars from the middle Ages onwards have tried to reduce the maiden’s fate to one of perpetual virginity. But the anguish of Jephthah (verse 35), the two-month reprieve (verses 37, 38) and the institution of an annual four-day feast would be inappropriate in such a situation. The plain statement of verse 39 must be allowed to stand