Jephthah and his daughter

Chana Campos chana at campos.org
Wed Sep 16 14:57:37 EDT 1998


Thank you for your response. 

I have a further question which may have already been answered - but
perhaps someone here can give me a pointer.

Many Christians point to this piece of scripture as an example
of G-d's support of blood sacrifice - with the subsequent "sacrifice" of
Jesus somehow being therefore not only "acceptable" but in accordance
with prophecy. It seems to me that Jeph. simply made a rash, foolish and
evil vow - one totally against Torah. And rather than back away from it - he
felt compelled to carry it out - even though it was an abomination.

It is akin to someone saying to a friend in anger "I'm going to murder you for this!"
and then cooling off, realizing he really didn't mean that - but going ahead and killing
his friend so that he can keep his vow. 

Mankind has a long and rather "brilliant" career of *not* doing what HaShem has
commanded. Why is this being construed differently?

Thanks for any and all feedback - it is gratefully appreciated.

Chana

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

On 9/16/98, at 1:02 AM, Ita Sheres wrote: 

>Some perspective on the discussion about the Daughter is in order.  Jeph.
>is described in the text as the first born son (his name alludes to
>opening up of a woman's womb as in the case of the matriarchs in Genesis)
>of an unnamed woman who is referred as both "zona" and "foreign."
>Obviously, when Gilead marries (presumably a woman who is more
>"legitimate" than Jeph's mom, the sons born to him (threatened by his
>claim to the inheritance of the father) ultimately banish him from the
>house, for that reason! In many ways, his story is similar to the story of
>Joseph in Gen. who is also discarded by his brothers for reasons of the
>inheritance.  When Jeph. does become the leader of the tribe (at the
>request of the elders) he is also seeking a measure of revenge for the
>injustices done to him in the past and he says so!!  Therefore, as I said
>before, he has real psychological and social problems that are not
>resolved to the bitter end; sacrificing his daughter (real or seclusion)
>may be one way to internally deal with the various traumas in his
>own life.  But no matter how you finally read this fabula, it is utterly
>tragic for the woman who had to succumb to a fate not of her own making.
>It seems to me that the text highlights her predicament by focusing on the
>implied immortality that is afforded her (through the women's celebration
>of her) and not offered to her father.  It is also quite interesting that
>even though she is not named, she has a clear voice which is one of faith
>contrary to Jeph. who was "testy" and insecure and needed reassurances
>from Yahweh about his triumph.  God does not ask him to sacrifice (as he
>does Abraham) and of course God does not interfere with the final outcome.
>It's hard for me to see Jeph. as a man of faith or even a hero; he's
>certainly a lousy father!
>
>Ita Sheres.
>
>
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