Jephthah’s Promise

This is a simplified version of the Bible story found in Judges 11:30-40, written for children to understand. For the original version, please refer to the Bible passage.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Jephthah who loved God very much. He was a warrior who fought against the bad guys called the Ammonites. Jephthah promised God that if He helped him win the battle, Jephthah would give something very special to God as a gift.

Jephthah said, “Whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”

God helped Jephthah win the battle, but when he came back home, something very sad happened. His daughter, who was his only child, came out to greet him. Jephthah was so sad because he realized that he promised to give God a gift, and his daughter was the only thing he had left to give.

Jephthah’s daughter asked him why he was so sad. When he told her what he had promised to God, she bravely accepted what was to come. She said to her father, “My father, you have made a promise to the Lord, and you must keep your promise to Him. Do for me according to what you have promised, since the Lord has given you victory over your enemies.”

However, before she left, she asked her father for one request. She asked for two months to go away and weep with her friends for her virginity, since she would never be able to marry or have children. Jephthah granted her request, and she went away to the mountains with her friends for two months.

After two months, Jephthah’s daughter returned home, and her father did what he promised to God. She had never been married and she never would be. Her friends felt very sad, so they cried for her every year.

Biblical Lessons

  • Promises made to God should be taken seriously and carefully considered.
  • We should not make hasty vows or promises without thinking through the potential consequences and whether or not we can fulfill them.
  • Sacrifice and obedience to God are sometimes difficult, but ultimately necessary for following Him.
  • Jephthah’s daughter showed great courage and faith by accepting her fate and encouraging her father to keep his promise to God.
  • God honors obedience and faithfulness, and Jephthah’s victory in battle was a result of his obedience to God and his vow.

Related Stories

The Birth of Samson

Samson’s Marriage

Samson Defeats the Philistines

Samson and Delilah

The Death of Samson