HAVE you ever made a promise and later found it hard to keep? The man in this picture did, and that is why he is so sad. The man is a brave judge of Israel named Jephʹthah.
Jephʹthah lives at a time when the Israelites are no longer worshiping Jehovah. They are again doing what is bad. So Jehovah lets the people of Amʹmon hurt them. This makes the Israelites cry out to Jehovah: ‘We have sinned against you. Please, save us!’
The people are sorry for the bad things that they have done. They show that they are sorry by worshiping Jehovah again. And so again Jehovah helps them.
Jephʹthah is chosen by the people to fight against the bad Amʹmon·ites. Jephʹthah wants very much for Jehovah to help him in the fight. So he promises Jehovah: ‘If you will give me victory over the Amʹmon·ites, the first person that comes out of my house to meet me when I return from the victory I will give to you.’
Jehovah listens to Jephʹthah’s promise, and he helps him to win the victory. When Jephʹthah returns home, do you know who the first one is to come out to meet him? It is his daughter, who is his only child. ‘Oh, my daughter!’ Jephʹthah cries. ‘What sadness you are bringing me. But I have made a promise to Jehovah, and I cannot take it back.’
When Jephʹthah’s daughter learns about his promise, at first she is sad too. For it means that she will have to leave her father and friends. But she will spend the rest of her life serving Jehovah at his tabernacle in Shiʹloh. So she tells her father: ‘If you have made a promise to Jehovah, you must keep it.’
So Jephʹthah’s daughter goes to Shiʹloh, and she spends the rest of her life serving Jehovah at his tabernacle. Four days out of every year the women of Israel go to visit her there, and they have a happy time together. The people love Jephʹthah’s daughter because she is such a good servant of Jehovah.