In a message dated 1/10/01 11:05:01 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
> The daughter of Jephthah is another Biblical example of a child being
> sacrificed (Judges 11:30-40). Unfortunately, she didn't fare as well as
Isaac and > her story was not used as a negative exemplar.
It seems to me that the motif of child sacrifice is incidental, rather than
central, to the story. Like the story of King Midas and the golden touch,
it's actually about the bad things that happen if one is foolish or
unthinking in what one vows, wishes, or prays. The story _assumes__ that
child sacrifice is an abomination. Jephthah, because he made a foolish vow,
finds himself backed into a corner where he's compelled to commit an
abomination (child sacrifice). If Jephthah (and the reader) had had no
objection to child sacrifice, than the story would have no moral.
I believe it's Leviticus that emphasizes the importance of vows, and also of
care in framing them, so that foolish vows will not be made. I guess it's the
call to self-awareness which is timeless. In modern terms, don't pledge a
million dollars to a charity if you don't happen to have a million dollars to
give. The stop-and-think axiom, I guess.