Kehillah Beit Kodesh

Welcome to the Kehillah Beit Kodesh, an online Jewish Messianic Fellowship and Center For Bible Research

Dr. Daniel Morris Ed.D. - Teacher & Director of the Kehillah Beit Kodesh

Contact #505-604-4155

The Kehillah Beit Kodesh is an online Jewish Messianic Fellowship and Center for Bible Research currently located in Midtown Albuquerque New Mexico.

Operating as usual

09/16/2021

The Hebrew Bible makes reference to a number of covenants (Hebrew: בְּרִיתוֹת‎) with God (YHWH). In this series Gideon Levytam introduces the eight covenants which God gave to mankind.

Watch The Eight Covenants of God - Introduction (Part One) (מָבוֹא - חֶלֶק 1) on YouTube @ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vP4P0kY_S0I&list=PL9ypagcinHVDP48Mu-z7l-wALsFpkIEL5&index=1

The Hebrew Bible makes reference to a number of covenants (Hebrew: בְּרִיתוֹת‎) with God (YHWH). In this series Gideon Levytam introduces the eight covenants which God gave to mankind.

Watch The Eight Covenants of God - Introduction (Part One) (מָבוֹא - חֶלֶק 1) on YouTube @ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vP4P0kY_S0I&list=PL9ypagcinHVDP48Mu-z7l-wALsFpkIEL5&index=1

Photos from Kehillah Beit Kodesh's post 09/16/2021

Centuries before Israel entered Canaan, Yahuwah promised that land to Abraham’s descendants. Now under Joshua’s leadership, the Israelites were about to take possession of the Promised Land.

Yahuwah had judged the Canaanites worthy of destruction. They had saturated the land with extremely degrading sexual practices as well as with wanton bloodshed. Therefore, the Canaanite cities conquered by the Israelites were to be completely destroyed.

Before entering the land, however, Joshua sent out two spies, who stayed in the city of Jericho with a woman named Rahab. She received the spies into her home and protected them even though she knew that they were Israelites. Rahab had faith in the God of the Israelites, having heard about Yahuwah's saving acts in behalf of his people. She made the spies swear to her that she and her household would be spared.

Later, when the Israelites entered Canaan and came against Jericho, Yahuwah miraculously caused the collapse of Jericho’s walls. Joshua’s troops dashed in and destroyed the city, but they spared Rahab and her family. Then, in a swift six-year campaign, Joshua conquered large sections of the Promised Land. Afterward, the land was distributed to the tribes of Israel.

Near the end of his long career, Joshua called the people together. He reviewed with them Yahuwah's dealings with their forefathers and appealed to them to serve Yahuwah. After Joshua and his close associates died, however, the Israelites left Yahuwah to serve false gods. For some 300 years, the nation did not consistently obey Yahuwah's laws. During that time, Yahuwah allowed Israel’s enemies, such as the Philistines, to oppress them. But when the Israelites called to Yahuwah for aid, he raised up judges​—12 in all—​to save them.

The period of the Judges recounted in the book of Judges began with Othniel and ended with Samson, physically the strongest man who ever lived. The basic truth demonstrated over and over again in the thrilling account recorded in the Bible book of Judges is this: Obedience to Yahuwah leads to blessings, disobedience to calamity.

09/16/2021

Is the Bible a book of mythology? Are the persons, places and events in the Bible fabrications by deceitful men? Many critics of Christianity say yes but archaeological discoveries say no. For the past 150 years archaeologists have been verifying the exact truthfulness of the Bible’s detailed records of various events, customs, persons, cities, nations, and geographical locations. In this book Charlie Campbell discusses dozens of fascinating discoveries—both old and new—that have overturned critics’ theories of the Bible and helped to confirm the historical reliability of the Scriptures. If you have questions or doubts about the reliability of the Bible, this book will be a great help to you. This full-color edition contains approximately 90 color photographs.

Order online @ https://www.amazon.com/Archaeological-Evidence-Bible-Discoveries-Verifying/dp/1467937649#immersive-view_1631822874951

Is the Bible a book of mythology? Are the persons, places and events in the Bible fabrications by deceitful men? Many critics of Christianity say yes but archaeological discoveries say no. For the past 150 years archaeologists have been verifying the exact truthfulness of the Bible’s detailed records of various events, customs, persons, cities, nations, and geographical locations. In this book Charlie Campbell discusses dozens of fascinating discoveries—both old and new—that have overturned critics’ theories of the Bible and helped to confirm the historical reliability of the Scriptures. If you have questions or doubts about the reliability of the Bible, this book will be a great help to you. This full-color edition contains approximately 90 color photographs.

Order online @ https://www.amazon.com/Archaeological-Evidence-Bible-Discoveries-Verifying/dp/1467937649#immersive-view_1631822874951

09/16/2021

Did Jephthah Actually Sacrifice His Daughter?

The story of Jephthah’s daughter is famous as an example of child sacrifice, yet certain clues in the biblical text imply she may have suffered a very different fate.

The Case against Jephthah

If Jephthah were to be arrested for the killing of his daughter, the prosecutor would have some evidence, though largely circumstantial. First there is his infamous and rash vow to God, that if God granted him victory over the Ammonites then the one who came out from the door of his house to greet him on his return would belong to the Lord and he would offer that person, or possibly animal, up as a burnt offering (Judges 11:30-31). Indeed Jephthah wins the victory, but the first to greet him with timbrels and dancing on his return is his daughter.

The final comment of the biblical text on the subject is the laconic statement that Jephthah fulfilled his vow, though the text gives no details of her death.

In his defense, Jephthah might point out that it was actually his daughter who insisted that he fulfill his vow to God (Judges 11:36) perhaps mitigating to some extent his responsibility. Her death might even be regarded as an act of martyrdom, not unlike Samson’s willingness to die for the sake of his God and his people.

Moving Beyond Summaries: The Narrator’s Point of View

The problem with this, or any other brief summary of the story, is that it leaves out so much of the material that the biblical narrator has considered important to present. Such details need to be taken seriously.

The Story in Context

The story begins at the end of the previous chapter of the book of Judges. (It is always important to remember that chapter numbers were first inserted into Bible in the thirteenth century, and do not reflect a Jewish division of the text.) In Judges 10:17, we learn that the Ammonites are besieging Gilead. In response, the leaders of Gilead decide that ‘the man who begins to wage war against the Ammonites will become the head (rosh) of all the inhabitants of Gilead’ (10:18).

Jephthah is introduced in chapter 9 as a גבור חיל, “an able warrior,” in biblical terms a high accolade. Jephthah’s misfortune is to be the son of a pr******te. His father, Gilead, had a number of sons from his wife and when these boys grew up they drove Jephthah away so that he would not inherit from his father. Jephthah was forced to flee and settled in the “land of Tov.” There gathered around him other similarly displaced men, the biblical term being, רקים, literally ‘empty’, presumably landless or otherwise without a place in society.

Jephthah becomes the Leader of Gilead
When the incursions of the Ammonites become more pressing, the elders of Gilead invite Jephthah, who has presumably developed a reputation as a warrior, to come back from the land of Tov and fight on their behalf. In the negotiation that follows, something of Jephthah’s anger at his previous treatment, but also his personal ambitions are revealed (Judges 11:6-10).

Elders: Come, please, and be our katzin, commander, and we will fight the Ammonites.

Jephthah: Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house, why come to me now that you are in trouble?

Elders: Therefore now we have turned to you that you may come with us and fight the Ammonites, and be our head (rosh) over all the inhabitants of Gilead.

Jephthah: If you are bringing me back to wage war against the Ammonites, and if the Lord deliver them before me, I will be your rosh.

Elders: The Lord will be the witness between us if we do not do as you say.

Presumably, Jephthah knew the earlier decision of the leaders of Gilead to make the one who begins to fight against the Ammonites the “head (ראש)” of all the inhabitants of Gilead. Thus, when they offer Jephthah the role of קצין, a mere military figure, he refuses and the elders recognize that he is holding out for the higher rank of ראש and are quick to offer it.

Presumably, the title ראש would represent his complete rehabilitation as a leading figure of the society, despite his origins. This would explain what was personally at stake for him in this transaction and hence his subsequent attempt to guarantee success through his vow to God.

How Clear is Jephthah’s Vow?

The vow is unique in the biblical record because of its puzzling specificity. To vow to make a sacrifice as a thanksgiving offering was a biblical convention with the appropriate cultic apparatus available for fulfilling it. In this case, however, who knows who or what might come out to greet him? As the rabbis pointed out, if an animal, it might be unclean, and therefore, unacceptable as an offering.

Nevertheless, some ambiguity inheres in the actual wording of the vow.

יא:ל וַיִּדַּ֨ר יִפְתָּ֥ח נֶ֛דֶר לַי-הֹוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אִם נָת֥וֹן תִּתֵּ֛ן אֶת בְּנֵ֥י עַמּ֖וֹן בְּיָדִֽי:יא:לא וְהָיָ֣ה הַיּוֹצֵ֗א אֲשֶׁ֨ר יֵצֵ֜א מִדַּלְתֵ֤י בֵיתִי֙ לִקְרָאתִ֔י בְּשׁוּבִ֥י בְשָׁל֖וֹם מִבְּנֵ֣י עַמּ֑וֹן וְהָיָה֙ לַֽי-הֹוָ֔ה וְהַעֲלִיתִ֖הוּ עוֹלָֽה:

(Judges 11:30) And Jephthah made the following vow to Yhwh: “If You deliver the Ammonites into my hands, 11:31 then whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me on my safe return from the Ammonites shall be Yhwh’s and shall be offered by me as a burnt offering.”

The vow consists of two parts: firstly:

1. The one who comes out shall belong to the Lord,

2. Jephthah would offer him/her/it up as a burnt offering.

The flexibility of the vav conjunctive linking the two statements would allow it to be read here as ‘and’, so that ‘belonging to the Lord’ meant the burnt offering mentioned immediately after. But the ‘vav’ could also be read as ‘or’, so that whatever or whoever came out would be dedicated to God, and, only should it prove appropriate, would be sacrificed. This latter suggestion runs the risk of sounding like apologetics, designed to give Jephthah a certain amount of leeway, but the ambiguity is present in the text.

Jephthah’s Daughter’s Request

Jephthah’s daughter is the one who goes out to meet him and he must fulfill his vow through her. She accepts her fate but makes an unexpected request of her father before the vow was to be fulfilled.

She said to her father: ‘Do this for me, release me for two months and I will go and ‘go down’ upon the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my women companions. (Judges 11:37)

Jephthah agrees, and she and her women companions go and weep for her virginity on the mountains.

Why Jephthah may not have Sacrificed his Daughter

Jephthah’s daughter returns two months later to her father and “he fulfilled his vow.” Does that mean he sacrificed her? Two elements in the story push me to think that he did not.

1. The Yearly Ritual of Lamenting Jephthah’s Daughter

The following verses note that “this was a statute in Israel” (11:39), and presumably the nature of this statute is to be found in the following sentence, that every year the daughters of Israel would go לְתַנּוֹת לְבַת יִפְתָּח הַגִּלְעָדִי four days a year (11:40). Here too there are ambiguities and all translations are speculative.

Most scholars assume that it refers to some kind of ritual lamentation for her fate, translating the preposition ‘lamed’ before ‘the daughter of Jephthah’ as “about.” However, it could mean “to,” i.e., that they are speaking to her and commiserating with her, implying that she is still alive. If this is true, then “fulfilling his vow” and “sacrificing his daughter” are not coterminous.

Along the same lines, the duration of this ritual is expressed as ‘miyyamim yamimah’ (11:40), which, when associated with a ‘statute’, can mean ‘in perpetuity’ (Exodus 13:10). But it is also used of Hannah’s annual visit to Shiloh, which would limit it to a regular occurrence during the lifetime of a particular individual (1 Samuel 1:3; 2:19).

If this is the intent of the verse, that Israelite women made a pilgrimage to her every year, it explains why this apparently institutionalized practice of lamenting Jephthah’s daughter as an annual rite is never mentioned anywhere else in the Hebrew Bible. This suggests that the ritual was only institutionalized as long as she was alive; in other words, it belongs to the narratives concerning Jephthah recorded here, but we have no knowledge as to whether it became part of Israel’s holiday or ritual cycles.

2. The Extreme Emphasis on Virginity?
Immediately following the statement about Jephthah fulfilling his vow, we are told that his daughter “did not know a man.” If she is dead, then this information is hardly relevant, so presumably it belongs to some broader issue in the narrative.

This perception is strengthened by the extreme emphasis on virginity.

1. She asks that she and her friends be allowed to cry for her virginity (not her death) for two months.

2. The request is granted and she and her friends do in fact cry for her virginity (not her death) for two months.

3. When the vow is fulfilled we are told she never knew a man (a strange thing to say after recording the sacrifice of a virgin).

Why is the emphasis on her remaining a virgin and not on her death? I believe that this suggests that she wasn’t actually killed, and that she remained a virgin for the rest of her life.

Jephthah’s Only Child

What is the meaning of this episode? Why the emphasis on her virginity, what happened to her at the end, and what is the lesson in it all?

The Tragedy of the Vow from Jephthah’s Perspective

Jephthah’s horrified reaction serves to confirm just how much he had at stake in the successful outcome of the battle. His first words, the emphatic repetition of the verb כרע, ‘to bow’, ‘bend the knee’, ‘you have surely brought me down’, do not seem particularly concerned about the possible fate of his daughter. Rather it is his own hopes that have been brought low, and perhaps this echos his desire to become the ראש, for that ‘head’ too is now literally bowed.

Jephthah next casts the blame onto his daughter, describing her as his ‘troubler’ or ‘disturber’ (עכרי), just as King Ahab and Elijah will later mutually accuse one another (I Kings 18:17-18). But since the victory ensures that he will become ראש, what else might her appearance have ‘disturbed’, beyond the fatherly love that he might be expected to have for her?

One clue would seem to lie in the earlier remark when the text first introduced her. She was Jephthah’s only (child), ‘apart from her he had neither a son nor daughter’ (Judg 11:34). To lose her would mean the end of any long-term family or dynastic intentions that Jephthah might have.

Born to a woman who was outside the family framework, he would now be unable to pass on his rehabilitated status to another generation. The effect of his vow, however it might be carried out, would rob him of his future.

The Tragedy of the Vow from Jephthah’s Daughter’s Perspective

The material about the journey to the mountains with her companions to weep for her virginity, and statute that it evoked, suggest the possibility that she truly saw herself as dedicated to God according to the opening words of the vow, and as a consequence accepted a different fate from that of other women, namely a life of seclusion.

She sacrificed the most important priority affecting women in the Biblical world, the necessity of having children.

Perhaps this should be connected as an extreme variant on the tradition of the nazirite as reflected in Numbers 6:1-21, where a man or woman may take a vow of abstinence for a limited period. Once a year she would receive a visit in her isolation from her companions who would ‘call out’ to her.

Conclusion

Jephthah is a tragic figure. His problematic origins make the restoring of his status in society crucial to him. Yet, his story ends with no chance of his handing his improved status on to his progeny, since his own vow forces his daughter into permanent celibacy as a woman consecrated to the Lord.

Her story is double-edged. She is clearly troubled by giving up her future as a mother. She cries about it for two months, as do her friends, and all the women of Israel do so for four days every year until she dies. Nevertheless, Jephthah’s daughter is also the symbol of what may have been a unique experiment in women’s spirituality, ‘belonging to the Lord’ as expressed in the opening words of Jephthah’s vow. Moreover, when her father seems ambivalent about whether to go through with the vow, it is she who takes responsibility for her faith and pushes him to do what he swore. As such, perhaps she is not only a woman to be pitied, but one to be admired as well.

Did Jephthah Actually Sacrifice His Daughter?

The story of Jephthah’s daughter is famous as an example of child sacrifice, yet certain clues in the biblical text imply she may have suffered a very different fate.

The Case against Jephthah

If Jephthah were to be arrested for the killing of his daughter, the prosecutor would have some evidence, though largely circumstantial. First there is his infamous and rash vow to God, that if God granted him victory over the Ammonites then the one who came out from the door of his house to greet him on his return would belong to the Lord and he would offer that person, or possibly animal, up as a burnt offering (Judges 11:30-31). Indeed Jephthah wins the victory, but the first to greet him with timbrels and dancing on his return is his daughter.

The final comment of the biblical text on the subject is the laconic statement that Jephthah fulfilled his vow, though the text gives no details of her death.

In his defense, Jephthah might point out that it was actually his daughter who insisted that he fulfill his vow to God (Judges 11:36) perhaps mitigating to some extent his responsibility. Her death might even be regarded as an act of martyrdom, not unlike Samson’s willingness to die for the sake of his God and his people.

Moving Beyond Summaries: The Narrator’s Point of View

The problem with this, or any other brief summary of the story, is that it leaves out so much of the material that the biblical narrator has considered important to present. Such details need to be taken seriously.

The Story in Context

The story begins at the end of the previous chapter of the book of Judges. (It is always important to remember that chapter numbers were first inserted into Bible in the thirteenth century, and do not reflect a Jewish division of the text.) In Judges 10:17, we learn that the Ammonites are besieging Gilead. In response, the leaders of Gilead decide that ‘the man who begins to wage war against the Ammonites will become the head (rosh) of all the inhabitants of Gilead’ (10:18).

Jephthah is introduced in chapter 9 as a גבור חיל, “an able warrior,” in biblical terms a high accolade. Jephthah’s misfortune is to be the son of a pr******te. His father, Gilead, had a number of sons from his wife and when these boys grew up they drove Jephthah away so that he would not inherit from his father. Jephthah was forced to flee and settled in the “land of Tov.” There gathered around him other similarly displaced men, the biblical term being, רקים, literally ‘empty’, presumably landless or otherwise without a place in society.

Jephthah becomes the Leader of Gilead
When the incursions of the Ammonites become more pressing, the elders of Gilead invite Jephthah, who has presumably developed a reputation as a warrior, to come back from the land of Tov and fight on their behalf. In the negotiation that follows, something of Jephthah’s anger at his previous treatment, but also his personal ambitions are revealed (Judges 11:6-10).

Elders: Come, please, and be our katzin, commander, and we will fight the Ammonites.

Jephthah: Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house, why come to me now that you are in trouble?

Elders: Therefore now we have turned to you that you may come with us and fight the Ammonites, and be our head (rosh) over all the inhabitants of Gilead.

Jephthah: If you are bringing me back to wage war against the Ammonites, and if the Lord deliver them before me, I will be your rosh.

Elders: The Lord will be the witness between us if we do not do as you say.

Presumably, Jephthah knew the earlier decision of the leaders of Gilead to make the one who begins to fight against the Ammonites the “head (ראש)” of all the inhabitants of Gilead. Thus, when they offer Jephthah the role of קצין, a mere military figure, he refuses and the elders recognize that he is holding out for the higher rank of ראש and are quick to offer it.

Presumably, the title ראש would represent his complete rehabilitation as a leading figure of the society, despite his origins. This would explain what was personally at stake for him in this transaction and hence his subsequent attempt to guarantee success through his vow to God.

How Clear is Jephthah’s Vow?

The vow is unique in the biblical record because of its puzzling specificity. To vow to make a sacrifice as a thanksgiving offering was a biblical convention with the appropriate cultic apparatus available for fulfilling it. In this case, however, who knows who or what might come out to greet him? As the rabbis pointed out, if an animal, it might be unclean, and therefore, unacceptable as an offering.

Nevertheless, some ambiguity inheres in the actual wording of the vow.

יא:ל וַיִּדַּ֨ר יִפְתָּ֥ח נֶ֛דֶר לַי-הֹוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אִם נָת֥וֹן תִּתֵּ֛ן אֶת בְּנֵ֥י עַמּ֖וֹן בְּיָדִֽי:יא:לא וְהָיָ֣ה הַיּוֹצֵ֗א אֲשֶׁ֨ר יֵצֵ֜א מִדַּלְתֵ֤י בֵיתִי֙ לִקְרָאתִ֔י בְּשׁוּבִ֥י בְשָׁל֖וֹם מִבְּנֵ֣י עַמּ֑וֹן וְהָיָה֙ לַֽי-הֹוָ֔ה וְהַעֲלִיתִ֖הוּ עוֹלָֽה:

(Judges 11:30) And Jephthah made the following vow to Yhwh: “If You deliver the Ammonites into my hands, 11:31 then whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me on my safe return from the Ammonites shall be Yhwh’s and shall be offered by me as a burnt offering.”

The vow consists of two parts: firstly:

1. The one who comes out shall belong to the Lord,

2. Jephthah would offer him/her/it up as a burnt offering.

The flexibility of the vav conjunctive linking the two statements would allow it to be read here as ‘and’, so that ‘belonging to the Lord’ meant the burnt offering mentioned immediately after. But the ‘vav’ could also be read as ‘or’, so that whatever or whoever came out would be dedicated to God, and, only should it prove appropriate, would be sacrificed. This latter suggestion runs the risk of sounding like apologetics, designed to give Jephthah a certain amount of leeway, but the ambiguity is present in the text.

Jephthah’s Daughter’s Request

Jephthah’s daughter is the one who goes out to meet him and he must fulfill his vow through her. She accepts her fate but makes an unexpected request of her father before the vow was to be fulfilled.

She said to her father: ‘Do this for me, release me for two months and I will go and ‘go down’ upon the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my women companions. (Judges 11:37)

Jephthah agrees, and she and her women companions go and weep for her virginity on the mountains.

Why Jephthah may not have Sacrificed his Daughter

Jephthah’s daughter returns two months later to her father and “he fulfilled his vow.” Does that mean he sacrificed her? Two elements in the story push me to think that he did not.

1. The Yearly Ritual of Lamenting Jephthah’s Daughter

The following verses note that “this was a statute in Israel” (11:39), and presumably the nature of this statute is to be found in the following sentence, that every year the daughters of Israel would go לְתַנּוֹת לְבַת יִפְתָּח הַגִּלְעָדִי four days a year (11:40). Here too there are ambiguities and all translations are speculative.

Most scholars assume that it refers to some kind of ritual lamentation for her fate, translating the preposition ‘lamed’ before ‘the daughter of Jephthah’ as “about.” However, it could mean “to,” i.e., that they are speaking to her and commiserating with her, implying that she is still alive. If this is true, then “fulfilling his vow” and “sacrificing his daughter” are not coterminous.

Along the same lines, the duration of this ritual is expressed as ‘miyyamim yamimah’ (11:40), which, when associated with a ‘statute’, can mean ‘in perpetuity’ (Exodus 13:10). But it is also used of Hannah’s annual visit to Shiloh, which would limit it to a regular occurrence during the lifetime of a particular individual (1 Samuel 1:3; 2:19).

If this is the intent of the verse, that Israelite women made a pilgrimage to her every year, it explains why this apparently institutionalized practice of lamenting Jephthah’s daughter as an annual rite is never mentioned anywhere else in the Hebrew Bible. This suggests that the ritual was only institutionalized as long as she was alive; in other words, it belongs to the narratives concerning Jephthah recorded here, but we have no knowledge as to whether it became part of Israel’s holiday or ritual cycles.

2. The Extreme Emphasis on Virginity?
Immediately following the statement about Jephthah fulfilling his vow, we are told that his daughter “did not know a man.” If she is dead, then this information is hardly relevant, so presumably it belongs to some broader issue in the narrative.

This perception is strengthened by the extreme emphasis on virginity.

1. She asks that she and her friends be allowed to cry for her virginity (not her death) for two months.

2. The request is granted and she and her friends do in fact cry for her virginity (not her death) for two months.

3. When the vow is fulfilled we are told she never knew a man (a strange thing to say after recording the sacrifice of a virgin).

Why is the emphasis on her remaining a virgin and not on her death? I believe that this suggests that she wasn’t actually killed, and that she remained a virgin for the rest of her life.

Jephthah’s Only Child

What is the meaning of this episode? Why the emphasis on her virginity, what happened to her at the end, and what is the lesson in it all?

The Tragedy of the Vow from Jephthah’s Perspective

Jephthah’s horrified reaction serves to confirm just how much he had at stake in the successful outcome of the battle. His first words, the emphatic repetition of the verb כרע, ‘to bow’, ‘bend the knee’, ‘you have surely brought me down’, do not seem particularly concerned about the possible fate of his daughter. Rather it is his own hopes that have been brought low, and perhaps this echos his desire to become the ראש, for that ‘head’ too is now literally bowed.

Jephthah next casts the blame onto his daughter, describing her as his ‘troubler’ or ‘disturber’ (עכרי), just as King Ahab and Elijah will later mutually accuse one another (I Kings 18:17-18). But since the victory ensures that he will become ראש, what else might her appearance have ‘disturbed’, beyond the fatherly love that he might be expected to have for her?

One clue would seem to lie in the earlier remark when the text first introduced her. She was Jephthah’s only (child), ‘apart from her he had neither a son nor daughter’ (Judg 11:34). To lose her would mean the end of any long-term family or dynastic intentions that Jephthah might have.

Born to a woman who was outside the family framework, he would now be unable to pass on his rehabilitated status to another generation. The effect of his vow, however it might be carried out, would rob him of his future.

The Tragedy of the Vow from Jephthah’s Daughter’s Perspective

The material about the journey to the mountains with her companions to weep for her virginity, and statute that it evoked, suggest the possibility that she truly saw herself as dedicated to God according to the opening words of the vow, and as a consequence accepted a different fate from that of other women, namely a life of seclusion.

She sacrificed the most important priority affecting women in the Biblical world, the necessity of having children.

Perhaps this should be connected as an extreme variant on the tradition of the nazirite as reflected in Numbers 6:1-21, where a man or woman may take a vow of abstinence for a limited period. Once a year she would receive a visit in her isolation from her companions who would ‘call out’ to her.

Conclusion

Jephthah is a tragic figure. His problematic origins make the restoring of his status in society crucial to him. Yet, his story ends with no chance of his handing his improved status on to his progeny, since his own vow forces his daughter into permanent celibacy as a woman consecrated to the Lord.

Her story is double-edged. She is clearly troubled by giving up her future as a mother. She cries about it for two months, as do her friends, and all the women of Israel do so for four days every year until she dies. Nevertheless, Jephthah’s daughter is also the symbol of what may have been a unique experiment in women’s spirituality, ‘belonging to the Lord’ as expressed in the opening words of Jephthah’s vow. Moreover, when her father seems ambivalent about whether to go through with the vow, it is she who takes responsibility for her faith and pushes him to do what he swore. As such, perhaps she is not only a woman to be pitied, but one to be admired as well.

Welcome To The Kehillah Beit Kodesh

ABOUT THE KEHILLAH BEIT KODESH


  • The Kehillah Beit Kodesh is an online Fellowship and Center for Bible Research that is located in Midtown Albuquerque New Mexico.

  • Daniel Morris Ed.D. is the founding teacher & director of the Kehillah Beit Kodesh.

  • The Kehillah Beit Kodesh focuses on researching, learning, and teaching the bible from a Mosaic, Messianic, and Apostolic based perspective.
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    4300 Prospect Ne
    Albuquerque, NM
    887112

    General information

    Kehillah Beit Kodesh 4300 Prospect Ne Albuquerque NM 87110 Phone # 1-505-604-4155 Director - Dr. Daniel Morris Ed.D. For more information about the Kehillah Beit Kodesh see the story section of this page. Kehillah Beit Kodesh©All Rights Reserved 2020

    Opening Hours

    Tuesday 9am - 1pm
    Wednesday 4pm - 8pm
    Thursday 9am - 1pm
    Friday 9am - 1pm
    Saturday 9am - 12pm
    5pm - 7pm
    Sunday 8am - 5pm
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