The people of Israel angered their God again by serving other gods. So God let the Ammonites take over Israel, and he said he would never save his people again. But his people insisted on being saved, so the never-changing God, who never listens to sinners, changed his mind and appointed a new judge to save Israel: Jephthah, the leader of a gang of scoundrels.
Jephthah asked the Ammonite king why he was attacking Israel. The king explained that the Israelites had stolen the Ammonites’ land, and the Ammonites wanted it back. Jephthah was like, that never happened, what would you know about that? The king ignored him.
So Jephthah went to attack the Ammonites, which God had forbidden the Israelites to do. He promised that if God helped him disobey God in this way, he would give God whatever met him at the door when he came home, as a burnt offering. The all-knowing God knew what would happen if he did this, but he wanted that burnt offering. So he helped Jephthah destroy twenty Ammonite towns, and he didn’t warn Jephthah’s family to stay indoors.
When Jephthah returned home, he was shocked to find that the first thing that came to the door of his house to meet him was not a dumb animal, but his only daughter. Jephthah informed his daughter that he would now have to kill her for coming out to meet him. She was disappointed, because she had hoped to get married one day.
So Jephthah delayed the sacrifice for two months, but for some reason she didn’t use that time to get married, or to escape from her murderous father. She used it to mourn with her friends because she would never get married.
Then Jephthah’s daughter returned to him, and he fulfilled his promise to God by murdering her and sacrificing her as a burnt offering, which was against God’s law. Jephthah went on to murder tens of thousands of other Israelites as well.
The moral of the story
Don’t promise to kill innocent people.