Q. Could you help me better understand Judges 11; specifically, Judges 11: 30 – 40. I simply cannot comprehend God allowing Jepthah to offer up his only daughter as a burnt offering. What is the message of this chapter? Thank you in advance for your help.
A. This is a sad story that carries a clear lesson, even for us. Don’t make foolish vows to do something for the Lord if He’ll give you what you want. Numbers 30:1-2 required the Israelites to carry out whatever vow they made to the Lord. This is why Jesus commanded us not to make vows, but to just mean what we say. (Matt. 5:33-37)
Jepthah’s daughter was actually the more mature one here. By agreeing to be sacrificed she showed how important she felt it was to keep one’s word to the Lord. She also demonstrated her belief that He would honor her faithfulness, and her belief in the resurrection of the dead.
From God’s perspective Jepthah’s separation from his daughter was only temporary, but he would never make a foolish vow again, and neither would any one else who heard his story. The daughter would be rewarded for her faith with eternal life, and after she learned of the trials of this life that she had been spared would never regret her decision.
Isaiah 57:1 says, “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.”