"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.
"When he saw her, he tore his clothes (in grief) and cried, 'Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated.'(Excuse me? She brought you down? No she didn't! It was YOUR vow, remember? Can you please take responsibility for your own words and emotions?)
"'I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.'(Why would God want you to keep a vow requiring you to shed innocent blood?! God's clearly against child sacrifice in case you've forgotten Genesis 22:12!) It's her response that makes her my heroine.
"'My father,' she replied, 'you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised ...
"'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.'
"'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. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed.
"And she was a virgin."
_________________If you've come this far, no doubt you're now feeling gut-wrenched. Yes, this is in the Bible. It's Judges chapter 11. Crazy book that one. A real messy saga. For all the sadness of this story, I have some hopeful observations. #1. Jephthah's Daughter Honored God She couldn't change her father's words or his commitment to fulfill them. Because she honored God first, she was able to treat him with respect despite his obvious failings. #2. She Mourned Brokenness happens. Our parents and our grandparents make choices ... some affect us our entire lives. Taking time to mourn is part of healing. #3. She Honored God ... With the Time She Had Left In her grief, she resisted the temptation to rebel. She died a virgin. It's so easy when we're desperately hurting to roam the world looking for places to vent. It would have been so easy for her to run away or find a loose man to experience. I mean, what consequences would there be? But no. She valued the cleanness of her heart more. In her purity, I'm certain she stood on those mountains and heard God's voice speak in the stillness comfort for her soul.
He was her Father first. And she would be with Him soon.
_________________Jephthah's Daughter is never named in the bible and this chapter is the only reference to her story. Her impact on my life goes beyond what I can convey. Many Thanks to Laura Rae Photography for allowing me use of her beautiful image. It so captures the hopes and dreams of an anonymous heart. Need some happy thoughts? Read my random thoughts about Hugs!