Time for more stupid stuff in the bible. This story is particularly interesting, because my whole young life I was taught that god was just. One such example of god’s just nature is the story of Abraham and Isaac, where Abraham is ordered to sacrifice his son Isaac to the lord, and at the last minute god (or an angel) grabs Abraham’s hand to stop him from slaying Isaac. This was “proof” that Abraham trusted god, and “proof” that god is great.
Well, it tells me that god is a sick fuck. But no matter. The point of this article is that god may have been “just” in this case, but it certainly didn’t stop him from being a dick in other parts of the bible. Thus, Jephthah.
Jephthah had one hell of an upbringing. His married dad, Gilead, screwed a prostitute, who of course was his mom. Since he was a bastard child, his siblings pushed Jephthah out on his own so as not to screw up their inheritance. So he hung out with a bunch of criminals in Tob.
One day, the Ammonites invaded Israel. Gilead’s children, worried about the Ammonites, did what every other powerful family does when there’s a threat of war- they convened a council and hired a military commander with some experience.
Just kidding. They went and found their bastard brother that hadn’t done anything other than being a scoundrel, and told him he should be their commander OVER THEM.
Yeah, in case you haven’t noticed, the support cast characters in the bible tend to do really stupid things when you think about it. Good news for our hero, I guess, but what the hell were they thinking? This character development sucks.
Anyway, so for reasons that make no sense whatsoever, they make Jephthah their commander. He sends a message to the Ammonite commander, and after a couple of letters where they basically say “I’m right”, it comes down to a battle. So in preparation, somehow at just the right time, the spirit of the lord “came upon Jephthah”, whatever that means. Jephthah prayed, as recorded in Judges 11:
“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.”
Now, I know this was something like 3000 years ago, so maybe they also had chickens and goats and stuff wandering around the house. But still……. This is a suckers bet if I’ve ever heard one. This is seriously stupid. But god, who knows how everything will turn out, was like “yeah, bro. I’ll help you win, and you kill and burn that first thing for me. *wink*.”
This is horrible forshadowing, by the way. It’s so damned obvious I’m screaming at the book already. We continue…
So Jephthah, who lived in Tob, crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and goes to war. He wins, of course. He’s our hero after all. Then he goes back to the last town he passed through on his way to war, Mizpah, to his house. You know, because he lives in Tob……. um, or maybe he moved to Mizpah on the way to war? Or something? But why did he make a pact with god related to his housing situation if he didn’t even know where he would be living by the time it came to fruition? He could have moved back in with his father, for all we know. This story is starting to sound like a criminal in police interrogation at this point. The story keeps changing, and changing in ways that aren’t possible. Very suspicious.
Anyway, his daughter runs out of the house when he gets there.
Oh, you didn’t know he had a daughter? Neither did we until just now. Because apparently his only child, who has no mother, somehow appeared in Mizpah after he and his army stormed through there to the house that somehow just popped into existence about the same time. It’s really convenient. It’s convenient because all that foreshadowing before now seems to have a purpose. Now, Jephthah can kill his daughter and burn her for god! Yay! WTF?
If you’re following so far, you’re lying. This story is ridiculous. Entire homes and even a daughter just pop into existence at the right time in the story. They weren’t there before, mind you. Jephthah moved from Tob, took command, and marched his way to battle, and along the way somehow bought a house and settled his daughter down? His only daughter, that he supposedly loves so much, and he didn’t bother to make sure someone was going to care for her if he died in battle?
But he doesn’t die, he comes home and sees his daughter, he gives her a month to play with her friends, and then he kills her like a pig at a religious ritual. Just god.
How two-dimensional are these people? If Jephthah were real, he would not know how the story was supposed to end. So why would he make that bet? It’s glaringly ridiculous and could only serve to fulfill one purpose. Why did he move to Mizpah? Why didn’t he care for his daughter before the battle, and arrange for care in case he didn’t return? Why was he even offered command in the first place? It’s as if every character in the story knew that he had to kill and sacrifice his daughter to move the story along….. You know, like fake, made up stories.
The Spartan Atheist.