Jephthah’s Daughter

Condemned to death by her father’s vow, a girl is rescued by a magical ram, and begins her training at the school of prophets.
“You are not dead. And you are not alone. I teach you what I know of time, of magic, of prophecy.”

I knew that I was going to address the story of Jephthah’s daughter at some point. The story had stuck in my mind since I first read it in elementary school, since it seems so incongruous. The version of the story here lessens the incongruity somewhat (though others have approached it elsewhere in ways that highlight its harshness and raise important questions about its context), while connecting it with other stories in the series.

Jephthah’s daughter is one of many women in the Bible whose names are never mentioned, though Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews. who took it from Pseudo-Philo, records it as ‘Shayla.”

The ram from the story of Abraham and Elisheva‘s epilogue makes an appearance here, though it is earlier in its own timeline than its sacrifice by Abraham.


Do you feel as if the course of your life is driven by an externalized Fate as much or more than it is driven by your own decisions and by what is happening around you? If you do (or if you don’t), do you feel that your life would be better if the opposite were true? What might you be able to do to change that?

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