Day Eighty, Judges 10-12
Today’s reading has one of the stories in the Bible that I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around. It’s the story of Jephthah, a judge of Israel, who leads them in battle against the Ammonites.
Before Jephthah goes to fight, the Scripture says “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah” and he made a vow to the Lord, saying, “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.”
Well, as the story goes, “Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands…” and “when Jephthah returned to his home in Mispah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, ‘Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.’”
Amazing is the daughter’s response, as she says, “My father, you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies.”
So she and her friends went into the hills and spent two months weeping over her because she would never have the opportunity to marry. But then, as the Scripture says, “she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed.”