A judge of Israel, Jephthah, had made a foolish vow to the Lord that if God gave  him victory in battle, he would sacrifice whatever first came out of his door  when he came home (Judges  11:30-31). Jephthah’s daughter was the first thing to come of out his door  when he came home (Judges  11:34). The Bible never specifically tells us whether Jephthah actually  sacrificed his daughter as a burnt offering. Judges  11:39 seems to indicate that he did: “He did to her as he had vowed.”  However, since his daughter was mourning the fact that she would never marry  instead of mourning that she was about to die (Judges  11:36-37), this possibly indicates that Jephthah gave her to the tabernacle  as a servant instead of sacrificing her.

Whatever the case, God had  specifically forbidden offering human sacrifices, so God never would have wanted  Jephthah to sacrifice his daughter (Leviticus  20:1-5). Jeremiah  7:31; 19:5; and  32:35 clearly indicate that the idea of human sacrifice has “never even entered God’s  mind.” Jephthah serves as an example for us not to make foolish vows or oaths.

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