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Jephthah’s Promise

Jephthah’s Promise

The Israelites again abandoned Jehovah and began to worship false gods. When the Ammonites attacked and fought the Israelites, those false gods did nothing to help them. For many years, the Israelites suffered. Finally they said to Jehovah: ‘We have sinned. Please save us from our enemies.’ The Israelites destroyed their idols and began to worship Jehovah again. Jehovah did not want to see them continue to suffer.

A warrior named Jephthah was chosen to lead the people in battle against the Ammonites. He said to Jehovah: ‘If you help us win this battle, I promise that when I return home, I will give you the first person who comes out of my house to meet me.’ Jehovah listened to Jephthah’s prayer and helped him win the battle.

When Jephthah returned home, the first person to come out to meet him was his daughter, his only child. She was dancing and playing the tambourine. What would Jephthah do? He remembered his promise and said: ‘Oh no, my daughter! You have broken my heart. I made a promise to Jehovah. To keep it, I must send you to serve at the tabernacle in Shiloh.’ But his daughter said to him: ‘Father, if you made a promise to Jehovah, you must keep it. All I ask is that I can spend two months in the mountains with my female friends. Then I will go.’ Jephthah’s daughter served faithfully at the tabernacle for the rest of her life. Every year, her friends went to Shiloh to visit her.

“Whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me.”​—Matthew 10:37