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DOCTRINE QUESTION 112
Was Jephthah's daughter sacrificed as human sacrifice and was that acceptable under the old covenant?
This question comes from Judges 11:30-40. You must read this to understand my answer.
There are several factors involved in determining the answer to this whole problem. We must consider:
It would seem out of context to assume that he eventually offered his daughter, as a burnt offering, yes, but not a burnt sacrifice. This would not have been acceptable to God or consistent with the approval of his faith of Hebrews 11: A burnt offering is the offering. It is not a burnt sacrifice, until it is slain. Abraham really offered his son as a burnt offering, but it did not culminate it as burnt sacrifice.
- Jephthah's devoted and godly life for God.
- His knowledge of God's hatred for human burnt sacrifices Deuteronomy 12:31
- His appearance on the roll call of faith in Hebrews 11:
James writes; "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" James 2:21 Paul writes; "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son." Hebrews 11:17. God accepted the burnt offering, and was very pleased with it, but would not have accepted the burnt sacrifice, so He stopped him.
It seems quite evident that this girl wanted two months to bewail her virginity, which indicates that she remained a perpetual virgin, which was a serious reproach among Jewish girl. She was given to the Lord for His service. Regarding the service she might perform if she remain a virgin this would be another problem. However, there were many. We could draw some help on this from 1 Samuel 1 where Elkanah brought his family yearly along with wives Peninnah and Hannah each year to worship and sacrifice. Later Hannah brought Samuel as a very young child to the service of the tabernacle at Shiloh.
Just to mention a few more:
Human sacrifices was an abomination to the Lord. Deuteronomy 12:31 "Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods."
- They served at the door of the tabernacle, Exodus 38:8
- Could take the vows of a Nazarite, Numbers 6:2
- Lead other women in song Exodus 15:20
- Prophesy Deborah, Judges 4:4-7
The only one that pleased Him was the sacrifice of His only Son on the cross for our sins. Do you know Him as your Saviour?
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen