Study 11 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 11:29 – 12:15
Read the story of Jephtha’s vow in the light of Ec. 5:2-6; Dt. 23:21-23. What does this story teach about (a) the sacredness of a promise to God, and (b) the necessity of first considering what such a promise may involve?
Compare Jephthah’s treatment of the Ephraimites with that of Gideon in a similar situation (8:1-3). What light does this incident throw upon (a) the Ephraimites, (b) Jephthah?
Note. Whilst all earlier commentators and historians accepted that Jephtah 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 (verse 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.