If there was ever a story that people overlook when reading their Bible, this would be the story. It is safe to assume that Jephthah isn’t the sharpest tack in the box. Let’s enter the story and I will allow the you to decide whether he is dumb as a box of rocks or a brilliant mind.
Jephthah makes one brutal mistake, he bartered with God. If you have spent five minutes on this blog you’ve seen that God isn’t as great as people make him out to be and this is no different. The story goes like this: Jephthah is about to face the Ammonites in battle. now, Jephthah decides to make a deal with God. He says “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” (Judges 11:30-31 NIV)
This sounds like the plea of a desperate man begging and pleading God to help him murder a complete group of people. So what did God do? I’m glad you asked. Well being that God’s specialty is killing, he decides to help Jephthah; Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns.”
(Judges 11: 32-33 NIV) Once again, God proves just how good he is at killing and the all the people in twenty towns were brutally murdered. Wasn’t it nice of God to help murder all those people?
Now Jephthah is returning home a hero, a mighty warrior. He finally reached home and remember folks, he made a deal with God to offer whatever came out of his house first as a burnt offering, so who comes out the door first? His dog? Nope. His pet goat? Nope. None other than his only child, his daughter! His daughter rushes out to greet him playing timbrels and celebrating. Well, the celebration didn’t last very long because now Jephthah has to tell his daughter about the deal he made with God. It reads like this: When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break. (Judges 11: 35 NIV)
So, being the righteous dude that his, Jephthah allowed his daughter to roam the hills for two months and weep. After the two months had passed his daughter returned home and he kept his promise to God. He killed his only child and offered her as a burnt offering. Now, I must ask, If you knew your dad was going to kill you would you return? Me neither! But I guess the daughter has to return for the story to be complete.
A pastor would tell you that this is a story of obedience on the part of Jephthah and will completely overlook the premeditated murder of his daughter. After all, Jephthah made a deal with God so it had to be paid, right? The pastor would also tell you that Jephthah didn’t really murder his daughter but gave her up to the ministry. Really? If he was going to offer her up to the ministry why would he rip his clothes and say he was devastated? The scripture says he offered her up as a BURNT offering. When did a burnt offering become the ministry? Why didn’t God say “never mind Jephthah, I can’t allow you to kill your only child?” Where is God’s compassion and love for Jephthah and his daughter? I can answer that question, there isn’t any!
So to a non-pastor like me this is a story of a murder God had every opportunity to stop and refused to do so.
Now that you have learned the story of Jephthah and the senseless murder of his daughter, is Jephthah a brilliant mind or is he dumb as a box of rocks for making the deal?