Apr 9, 2011

Judges Chapter 11, Jephthah’s daughter, April 4, 2011

There are many interesting modern commentaries on Jephthah and his daughter.   I am including the notes from my research here.

Chapter 11
·         11:1-3 -  Jephthah the Gileadite – son of zonah – run out by his half-brothers
o   How did Jephthah end up in his father’s house?
o   What Jephthah lacks to be a good judge is a father, a heritage. (AFC1-J Klein p. 25-5)
o   Jephthah has no patronymic – not a son of Gilead the man, but of the tribe (BOL)
o   In the Jewish-Aramaic of the Targum of the Prophets, the two women who come to Solomon, Samson’s woman in Gaza, and Jephthah’s mother are designated as “innkeeper.”  Called zonot in bible.  Of course innkeepers and prostitutes are not mutually exclusive. Zonah may also designate a low-status, social-legal class comprised of women who live outside of patriarchal social mores and control.  The independent women may become sex professionals, which is not penalized as a crime.  Gen 34.31 – Dinah is a zonah.  (VHH)
·         11:5-8 -  Elders of Gilead ask Jephthah to lead in battle and be their head
o   Are the elders of Gilead and the sons of Jephthah’s father the same people?
o   There is a difference between 11:6 kazir (military leader?) and 11:8 rosh (head?).  In 9:11, the elders ask Jephthah to be both.   Note that Jephthah bargains hard to be offered a higher post.
o   Note that God is relegated to confirming the choice of the elders (BOL)
·         11:9-11 -  Jephthah agrees to

Judges Chapter 11, Jephthah’s daughter, A picture

This is a wonderful illustration by Joanna Drucker.
This is a daughter who does not go to the hills with her companions and who does not submit to being sacrificed.