R2897-333 Jephthah’s Vow – A Better Translation

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::R2897 : page 333::


In our September first issue we answered a question respecting Jephthah’s daughter. Since then Brother C. J. Peterson calls to our attention the following item from the Appendix of the Emphatic Diaglott.

“The original, Judges 11:30, when properly translated, reads thus: ‘And it shall be that whoever comes forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace, from the children of Ammon, shall surely be Jehovah’s, and I will offer to him a burnt offering.’ The vow contains two parts: (1) That person who would meet him on his return should be Jehovah’s, and be dedicated forever to his service, as Hannah devoted Samuel before he was born. (1 Sam. 1:11.) (2) That Jephthah himself would offer a burnt offering to Jehovah.

“Human sacrifices were prohibited by the Law (Deut. 12:30); and the priests would not offer them. Such a vow would have been impious, and could not have been performed. It may be safely concluded that Jephthah’s daughter was devoted to perpetual virginity; and with this idea agrees the statements that ‘she went to bewail her virginity;’ that the women went four times in every year to mourn or talk with (not for) her; that Jephthah did according to his vow, and that ‘she knew no man.'”

We are glad that our attention is called to this evidently better translation, which clears away the difficulty, and shows that the burnt-offering was one thing, and the devotion of the daughter another thing. We are to remember, too, the testimony of the entire Old Testament, to the effect that prior to our Lord’s birth all the women of Israel coveted earnestly the great blessing and privilege of being possibly the mother of Messiah, or amongst his forebears. We are to remember, also, the exultant language of the Virgin Mary when finally it was announced to her that she had won this long-sought prize: “Henceforth all shall call me blessed”—all shall recognize me as the one who has attained this blessed privilege of being the mother of Messiah.


— October 15, 1901 —