Category: Devotional

Did God Endorse Child Sacrifice

Can I just say from the outset that many of the Judges are found lacking in terms of character. Just today we’ve read about Ibzan & Abdon who clearly had multiple wives — and that’s the only thing they were known by or remembered for. Samson is a hot mess, but we’ll talk more about him tomorrow.

Today we have the story of Jepthath who was 1) a great warrior, 2) the son of a prostitute, and 3) jilted by his brothers. So he makes a vow to God that he will offer a burnt sacrifice of whatever comes out of his house to greet him. WHAT!? Now, it’s worth mentioning that the house being referred to here is not like our modern housing, there would have been space for both the family and animals inside. But while it’s not impossible for a sheep to wander out to meet him, it’s also entirely possible it could be his ONLY child or wife… I mean… bro. What are you thinking?? And who came out to meet him? His only daughter.

Worth noting is that we read in the last chapter that Israel worshipped the neighbouring gods. Baal, Milkom, and Chemosh. All of which practiced child/human sacrifice. And so it’s fully plausible that Jepthath was influenced by those other beliefs. Again, the judges were often deeply flawed people.

And so Jepthath follows through on this horrible vow at his daughter’s insistence, but note that at no time does God ever ask for, approve of, endorse, or even speak to this action. God had nothing to do with this. It was merely a flawed man making a stupid vow and following the zeitgeist of the culture that surrounded him. What a terrible tragedy.

We need to be careful not to imbibe the cultural practices around us that seek to corrupt us and prevent us from knowing what is good and bad, right and wrong, holy and horrid. Let us look to God and seek our morality, values, and worldview from Him.

Judges 11:29-15:20 | 094/365