Jephthah and His Daughter – Judges 11
This is one of the saddest stories in our bible and shows the foolishness of making vows before the Lord.
Jephthah was a mighty man, and his father’s name was Gilead, but his mother was not the wife of Gilead. The wife of Giliad, Jephthah’s father, had many sons and when they grew up, they put Jephthah out of the house saying “you shall not inherit in our father’s house because you are not the son of our mother.” So Jephthah ran from his brothers and lived in the land called Tob.
But after a time, there was a war with the children of Ammon, and the people of the city where Jephthah used to live went to fetch him, and wanted him to be their captain, but Jephthah said “Didn’t you hate me and put me out of my father’s house? why are you coming to me now, when you have troubles?” The elders said to him “we are turning to you now so that you might go with us and fight against the Ammonites and be our head.” So Jephthah said “If you bring me home to fight and the Lord delivers them, will I be your head?” and the elders of the city said “The LORD be a witness between us, if we do not do as you say.” And so Jephthah was made captain and head over them.
And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and told them about how the LORD God of Israel had given the children of Israel the land. But the king of the Ammonites would not listen, and so the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he made a vow to the LORD, and said “If you deliver the children of Ammon into my hands, then whatsoever comes from my house to meet me when I return in peace, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”
So Jephthah fought against the Ammonites and the LORD brought them into his hands. And Jephthah and the children of Israel had the victory.
And then Jephthah came home to his house, but his daughter came out to meet him with musical instruments, and dancing, and she was his only child. And when he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said “Oh my daughter, you have brought me very low, and you trouble me, because I vowed to the LORD and I cannot go back.”
And she said “My father, if you have vowed to the LORD, do to me what you have said, because the LORD has given you victory over your enemies. But let me alone for two months, so that I can go up and down upon the mountains, and mourn because I have never been married.
And so Jephthah told her to go, and she went away for two months with her friends, and at the end of two months, she returned to her father who did with her what he had vowed to the LORD he would do. And after that every year the daughters of Israel went to remember Jephthah’s daughter.
Memory Verse: Judges 11:36 “My father, if you have vowed to the LORD, do to me what you have said, because the LORD has given you victory over your enemies.”
1 Why did the people of Gilead come to get Jephthah? Answer: They wanted Jephthah to fight for them against the Ammonites
2 What vow did Jephthah make to the LORD? Answer: He vowed that if the LORD gave him the victory, he would offer for a burnt offering whatsoever came out of his house first when he got home.
3 Who came out of his house first? Answer: His only child, his daughter
4 What did Jephthah’s daughter ask of her father? Answer: She asked her father to let her go to the mountains for two months
5 What happened when she came home? Answer: Her father did according to what he had vowed to the LORD.