Jephthah's vow

(Judg. 11:30, 31). After a crushing defeat of the Ammonites,
Jephthah returned to his own house, and the first to welcome him
was his own daughter. This was a terrible blow to the victor,
and in his despair he cried out, "Alas, my daughter! thou hast
brought me very low...I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and
cannot go back." With singular nobleness of spirit she answered,
"Do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy
mouth." She only asked two months to bewail her maidenhood with
her companions upon the mountains. She utters no reproach
against her father's rashness, and is content to yield her life
since her father has returned a conqueror. But was it so? Did
Jephthah offer up his daughter as a "burnt-offering"? This
question has been much debated, and there are many able
commentators who argue that such a sacrifice was actually
offered. We are constrained, however, by a consideration of
Jephthah's known piety as a true worshipper of Jehovah, his
evident acquaintance with the law of Moses, to which such
sacrifices were abhorrent (Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut. 12:31), and
the place he holds in the roll of the heroes of the faith in the
Epistle to the Hebrews (11:32), to conclude that she was only
doomed to a life of perpetual celibacy.