Judges 11: The Sacrifice of the Unnamed Daughter


Gilead had a son with a harlot. This son was named Jephthah. His other legitimate brothers didn't like him and sent him away and told him he would not inherit from his father. But then the children of Ammon made war against Israel so the Gileadites sent for Jephthah and promised him – if you lead us – we will make you our leader.  So he agreed. He tried to convince the king of the Ammonites to make peace – what did we ever do to you?  The king of the Ammonites said – you took our land when you came out of Egypt. Jephthah’s response was – that was over 300 years ago man!  Get over it. Our God gave us this land.  Tell you what – we will fight and if your god, Chemosh, gives you a win, so be it. Jephthah then makes a deal with God, if you let me win, I will give up the first thing I see in my house as a burnt offering to you. Jephthah and the Israelites win. Jephthah returns home and his only daughter come out to greet him. He is upset and tells her what he promised God. She says, if you promised Him that, I will obey. Just give me 2 months to hang out in the mountains crying about the fact I’m going to die a virgin.  After the 2 months were up, she came back and was offered as a burnt offering to God. We never learn her name, but the daughters of Israel are supposed to spend 4 days each year remembering her.

In other words:

To thank God for helping them to win a war, they sacrifice a girl whose name we are not given as a burnt offering.

Favorite bit:

Judges 11:26: That Jephthah tries to convince the Ammonite King to give up his claim to the land. Why did you wait 300 years to get the land back? Seriously.

Least favorite bit:

That the girl who is sacrificed isn’t important enough to remember her name.

Moral Lessons Learned:

  • Squatters rights must be respected. If you think land is yours, don’t wait to make a claim on it (Judges 11:26)
  • Don’t make promises on behalf of other people (Judges 11)