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Judges 11:34-40


11:34 When Jephthah came home to Mizpah, there was his daughter hurrying out 1  to meet him, dancing to the rhythm of tambourines. 2  She was his only child; except for her he had no son or daughter. 11:35 When he saw her, he ripped his clothes and said, “Oh no! My daughter! You have completely ruined me! 3  You have brought me disaster! 4  I made an oath to the Lord, and I cannot break it.” 5  11:36 She said to him, “My father, since 6  you made an oath to the Lord, do to me as you promised. 7  After all, the Lord vindicated you before 8  your enemies, the Ammonites.” 11:37 She then said to her father, “Please grant me this one wish. 9  For two months allow me to walk through the hills with my friends and mourn my virginity.” 10  11:38 He said, “You may go.” He permitted her to leave 11  for two months. She went with her friends and mourned her virginity as she walked through the hills. 12  11:39 After two months she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. She died a virgin. 13  Her tragic death gave rise to a custom in Israel. 14  11:40 Every year 15  Israelite women commemorate 16  the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days. 17 

1 tn Heb “Look! His daughter was coming out.”

2 tn Heb “with tambourines and dancing.”

3 tn Heb “you have brought me very low,” or “you have knocked me to my knees.” The infinitive absolute precedes the verb for emphasis.

4 tn Heb “You are among [or “like”] those who trouble me.”

5 tn Heb “I opened my mouth to the Lord and I am not able to return.”

6 tn The conjunction “since” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

7 tn Heb “you opened your mouth to the Lord, do to me according to [what] went out from your mouth.”

8 tn Or “has given you vengeance against.”

9 tn Heb “Let this thing be done for me.”

10 tn Heb “Leave me alone for two months so I can go and go down on the hills and weep over my virginity – I and my friends.”

11 tn Heb “he sent her.”

12 tn Heb “on the hills.” The words “as she walked” are supplied.

13 tn Heb “She had never known a man.” Some understand this to mean that her father committed her to a life of celibacy, but the disjunctive clause (note the vav + subject + verb pattern) more likely describes her condition at the time the vow was fulfilled. (See G. F. Moore, Judges [ICC], 302-3; C. F. Burney, Judges, 324.) She died a virgin and never experienced the joys of marriage and motherhood.

14 tn Heb “There was a custom in Israel.”

15 tn Heb “From days to days,” a Hebrew idiom for “annually.”

16 tn Heb “go to commemorate.” The rare Hebrew verb תָּנָה (tanah, “to tell; to repeat; to recount”) occurs only here and in 5:11.

17 tn The Hebrew text adds, “in the year.” This is redundant (note “every year” at the beginning of the verse) and has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

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