Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Why “the prayer of Jabez”? Why not “the vow of Jephthah”?

I’m in the midst of reading through Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” at the point where he mentions the vow of Jephthah in the book of Judges, after defeating the Ammonites, to sacrifice the first living thing he meets from his house.

That “living thing” is his daughter. And, unlike with the “sacrifice” of Isaac, nobody does any editorial tidying to this story, perhaps because she is female and not male. She gets sacrificed and that’s that.

Why, instead of the “prayer of Jabez” to get rich, don’t conservative Christians instead cite the “vow of Jephthah” as an example of God-pleasing (hey, the sacrifice was not only not interrupted, it is nowhere condemned in Judges) resolute single-mindedness?

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