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God Approves Of Ritual Human Sacrifice


Merlin
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     So, I was looking for examples of morally reprobate behavior in the Bible the other day when I came across a story that is so vile and reprehensible that it managed to take me completely by surprise.  Even though the better part of my youth was spent sitting in church nearly every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night, this story somehow never managed to come up.  One can only wonder why...

     So, here it is in its entirety - enjoy!

Judges 11:29-40New International Version (NIV)

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

 

      One can only wonder how stories like this one are justified by anybody who possesses a fully functioning moral compass.  After reading this story, I decided to share it with a couple of hard-core believers that I personally know.  I asked them to give me a rational and descent explanation for its existence in the Bible.  Unfortunately, I still haven't received a response.

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Oh yes. I brought that up in Sunday School, where they flailed around with the claim that the girl actually sacrificed her right to marriage, and pledged never to marry. Or something like that. *snicker*

 

See, you can't have your cake and eat it too. They take the bible literally when it's convenient (women, serve thy husbands! Homosexuals are going to Hell!) and twist it around to mean something other than WHAT IS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEM when it's convenient: for example, this story.

 

They added that gawd never explicitly approved of the sacrifice. This blockhead made the vow on his own, without god asking for it or saying that he accepted the promise. So god didn't necessarily think it was okay...but then there is the glaringly obvious question: why didn't god tell him not to?

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Oh yes. I brought that up in Sunday School, where they flailed around with the claim that the girl actually sacrificed her right to marriage, and pledged never to marry. Or something like that. *snicker*

 

See, you can't have your cake and eat it too. They take the bible literally when it's convenient (women, serve thy husbands! Homosexuals are going to Hell!) and twist it around to mean something other than WHAT IS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEM when it's convenient: for example, this story.

 

I agree with you one-hundred percent.  The level of cognitive dissonance that some believers possess is simply staggering.

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     So, I was looking for examples of morally reprobate behavior in the Bible the other day when I came across a story that is so vile and reprehensible that it managed to take me completely by surprise.  Even though the better part of my youth was spent sitting in church nearly every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night, this story somehow never managed to come up.  One can only wonder why...

     So, here it is in its entirety - enjoy!

Judges 11:29-40New International Version (NIV)

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

 

      One can only wonder how stories like this one are justified by anybody who possesses a fully functioning moral compass.  After reading this story, I decided to share it with a couple of hard-core believers that I personally know.  I asked them to give me a rational and descent explanation for its existence in the Bible.  Unfortunately, I still haven't received a response.

 

The whole thing is just a rip-off of the Greek myth of Iphigenia. 

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Every time I read this story or see it mentioned somewhere, I can't help but think of how I would have handled the situation if I were "God". I'd have probably told Jephthah that I was unwilling to accept a burnt sacrifice from anyone for any reason and would have protected his daughter somehow if any attempt was made by Jephthah to go through with his vow.

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It seems a daft story though, quite apart from the nastiness of it.

 

What on earth was he expecting to come through his door when he got back from the slaughter?

 

A loaf of bread? His dog?

 

Or just possibly, a member of his family....

 

Duh....

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Remember this is the God who can make a donkey talk if a prophet is going to make the wrong proclamation (prophesy).  But that is something important to god.  Saving the life of a little girl isn't important to god.

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I heard this preached on often. They taught that jephthah made a vow in haste without thinking it through. He had to have known his only daughter would run out to greet him but in his excitement he just said it without thinking.

 

They used it as a lesson to never vow something to god that you didn't mean since once you did it couldn't be taken back.

 

Which looking back now was a horrible thing to tell people.

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I heard this preached on often. They taught that jephthah made a vow in haste without thinking it through. He had to have known his only daughter would run out to greet him but in his excitement he just said it without thinking.

 

They used it as a lesson to never vow something to god that you didn't mean since once you did it couldn't be taken back.

 

Which looking back now was a horrible thing to tell people.

 

I couldn't agree with you more earthmama.  That kind of teaching could lead people to engage in irrational behavior of the worst kind.  For example, imagine that a man or a woman makes a vow to god to give 20% of his or her income to the church no matter what.  If that person truly believes that he or she will be cursed by god for not keeping the vow, then he or she will give that money to the church regardless of the negative consequences it may bring.  That person's dedication to keeping the vow could result in food being taken off of the dinner table, important bills going unpaid,  and clothes being taken off of his or her children's backs.  Sadly enough, the most zealous of believers might be inclined to view the suffering that comes upon them as a 'trial' or 'test' of their faith.  unsure.png

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I couldn't agree with you more earthmama.  That kind of teaching could lead people to engage in irrational behavior of the worst kind.  For example, imagine that a man or a woman makes a vow to god to give 20% of his or her income to the church no matter what.  If that person truly believes that he or she will be cursed by god for not keeping the vow, then he or she will give that money to the church regardless of the negative consequences it may bring.  That person's dedication to keeping the vow could result in food being taken off of the dinner table, important bills going unpaid,  and clothes being taken off of his or her children's backs.  Sadly enough, the most zealous of believers might be inclined to view the suffering that comes upon them as a 'trial' or 'test' of their faith.  unsure.png

 

That is a scary thought. -me

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