Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11: 21-40) is Gilead’s granddaughter. Jephthah was Gilead’s bastard son. To understand Gilead, one must think of a superhero. His son, once rejected as a bastard, became regarded as a superhero as well, because he helped deliver his people from their enemies. But he blamed his daughter when she greeted him after this victory with timbrels and dancing, because he promised to sacrifice the first he sees when he comes home from battle when assured victory.
Jephthah’s daughter was sacrificed. In this painting, I imagined her in those two months that she wandered in the mountains bewailing her virginity, after which she returned to her father, “who did with her according to the vow he had made.” [Judges 11:39]. So for four days every year the daughters of Israel would go out to lament the daughter of Jephthah, the Gileadite. [11:40].
Dr. Lion Feuchtwanger, who left Germany when Hitler came into power, wrote a novel based on the 47 verses in the book of Judges, Jephta and his Daughter. He wrote in his notes that the events recorded in the book took place between 1,300 and 1,000 years before the beginning of our epoch. Those who chronicled them, however, lived in the ninth or eight centuries B.C., and the final version was probably written not before the sixth century B.C. Yet the book contains some of the most powerful stories that can match any superhero fantasy of our time: the war song of Deborah, the folk tales of Gideon, “the Hammerer,” the daredevil, the stories of Samson and the story of Jephta.
Jephtha’s daughter was sacrificed.