I asked a question regarding this story on Yahoo Answers. This is what happens in Judges, chapter 11:

Judges 11:30-31 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, "If thou wilt give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord's, and I will offer him up for a burnt offering".

So, Jephthah defeated the Ammonites and his daughter is the first to come out of the house when he returns. (Judges 11:32-34)

Judges 11:39 And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had made.

I asked the Christians why they thought God would allow a girl to be sacrificed when they make such a big deal out of God stopping Abraham from sacrificing Isaac.

Only one user gave a real response and this is what he/she said: "There's one key difference between this story and the one about Abraham and Isaac. God ASKED Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove Abraham's faith. Jephthah was just stupid. He was cocky and needed to suffer the consequences of his pride."

So, apparently, some Christians believe God thinks it is moral to allow an innocent person to die because someone else has made an ill-conceived vow to Him.

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I should point out that I've also heard some Christians argue that the phrase "burnt offering" was a mistranslation and that it actually meant "sacrifice". In the story, it says Jephthah's daughter never knew (had sex with) a man. They argue that her lifelong virginity was the sacrifice Jephthah made to the Lord. The apologists are trying to say that the Bible was not using "sacrifice" here in the same context it does everywhere else in the book. I don't buy that at all. At the time the Old Testament was written, I doubt there was more than one meaning for the term.
Well the other important distinction is that Isaac was MALE and Jepthah's daughter wasn't.
I actually believe this is the best and greatest point made so far, considering the society OT was written in, where women were seen as lesser beings. Women were worth less than men. Then there's the part of sexual=religiuos purity along with it... I don't know the verse particularly well, but I'd give it a random shot and say the only reason why it was ok for Jepthah to sacrefice his daughter was to keep her spiritually clean or anything else silly in that manner.

I could try to study the verses more later at BibleGateway and see if I can come up with anything more in the lines of a literary/anthropological analysis.
Well said..
If Jephthahs daughter continued to live after he had kept his vow,which its clear she did from the last verse in the chapter then its obvious it didn't mean human sacrifice did it?

Read the chapter and not just the bits that interest your ideas.
I did read the chapter. This is the last verse:

Judges 11:40 "It became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year."

If the daughters went year by year to mourn her, wouldn't that indicate that she was sacrificed? If you take the chapter at face value, it is clear she was burnt as a sacrifice.

Judges 11:39 states that she returned to her father, "who did with her according to the vow that he had made," which was to offer up to the Lord "as a burnt offering" whoever came out of his house first to greet him, which was his daughter.  So she came back, still a virgin, and he killed her and burned her body, after which arose a tradition of mourning her.

Note that Jephthah makes his vow after "the spirit of the Lord came upon" him, not before.  His religious fanaticism may have kept him from thinking clearly, or he wouldn't, as a man of faith, made such a vow.

Y'know though, really, at the end of the day, hearing people arguing about the technicalities of interpreting ancient sacred writings is a lot like listening to a pair geeks arguing about the technicalities of rule interpretations in Dungeons and Dragons.
Yes and if players of Dungeons and Dragons kept insisting that the real world live by the rules of their game and getting laws passed to make sure we did then maybe the rest of us would join in with their arguing of arcane technicalities. Ridiculous as it is, wars have been fought and millions of people have died as a result of christians' arguments about just this sort of minutiae.
Hahahaha, curbstomped.
Mardukdammit, now I have another book to read and no time to read it! Thanks for the reference, it sounds fascinating.
I don't think most people here have really put a visual next to the verses of the OT. This was not really that outlandish for the people who wrote the Torah.

What difference does one young girl make in view of all the killing that took place in the Old Testament? Have you read the book of Joshua? In Joshua 12, it mentions 31 cities where the Jews mass murdered EVERY LIVING THING, including children, women, elderly, and animals in order to steal the land from the locals, who had been living there and working the land for as far back as they had memory. They then hung their kings from a tree outside of the city to ensure that the neighboring tribes and cities would be terrified and run as far as possible, leaving the land to the Jews, a known terror tactic.

Joshua was a book written as terrorist propaganda, to extol the glories of Joshua and his army, saying that they 'left nothing breathing' in Canaan when they took it over. One verse in Joshua mentions that one of those 31 cities had 12,000 citizens: if you multiply 12k times 31, you get an average of probably 372,000 human casualties, in just that one chapter of Joshua 12. Joshua also mentions about six entire different nations that perished.

The whole premise of the OT is that the Jews were so f*&^ng holy that God chose them to exterminate these people so that they could have this land. In fact, terrorism in the Abrahamic tradition is inaugurated in Exodus 32:26-29 where Moses has 3,000 people killed only for not sharing his beliefs, and then he praises his sacred warriors. The original text was exactly like one of the fatwas or religious edicts that modern terrorist emit whenever they want to praise the glorious acts of murder of their warriors and raise their morals.

27 Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."

In view of all this, the killing of a daughter is nothing. In fact, the Levites established a law in Deuteronomy 21 where if your child disobeyed you, you could take him to them so that they could stone him to death in the entry to the city, again according to the text this was a terror tactic to promote fear of God's warriors, 'for all Israel to watch and be terrified' (Deut. 21:21).

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