JEPHTHAH (jehf' thuh) Personal name meaning, “he will open.” One of Israel's judges about 1100 B.C. (Judges 11:1-12:7). A Gileadite, he was driven from his home because he was “the son of an harlot” (Judges 11:1). He lived and raided in the land of Tob with a band of outlaws, becoming known as a “mighty warrior.” When the Ammonites moved against Israel, Jephthah's people asked him to return and lead them. His victory over the Ammonites came about because of a vow he made to offer as a burnt offering the first living thing he saw upon his return from the battle. Although it was his daughter who greeted him, Jephthah did fulfill his vow. Considered as one of Yahweh's “chief” deliverers of his people (1 Samuel 12:11), Jephthah is hailed by the author of Hebrews as a hero of faith (Hebrews 11:32). See Judges; Ammon; Human Sacrifices.
Darlene R. Gautsch
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.