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Jephthah's Vow in Judges 11

September 3rd, 2019 | 2 min read

By Caleb Wait

Matt, Derek, and Alastair dive into the difficult and unsettling text of Jephthah's vow in Judges 11. The crew covers recent and old interpretations of the troubled passage, asking if certain texts can or should be "smoothed over" with typology, how we should handle texts with seeming contradictions, and how to poise ourselves in the face of scripture's ethical dilemmas?



Intro + overview of the story of Jephthah’s vow, and it’s reference in Hebrews [0:00 - 4:30]

Complex details and recent interpretations of the text [4:30 - 9:31]

Possible influences of Mariology [9:31 - 12:02]

Biblical theological imagery in the text and its placement in Judges [12:02 - 18:51]

If Samson can be commended in Hebrews for his meager faith, can we say the same of Jephthah? [18:51 - 21:09]

Augustine’s interpretation of Jephthah’s vow in City of God and the temptation to let typology “smooth over” difficult and uncomfortable texts [21:09 - 33:10]

The seemingly tragic conflict between the irreversibility of vows and the prohibition of the sacrifice of persons in scripture + Conclusion [33:10 - 41:55]

Resources mentioned:

City of God by Augustine

If you’re interested in supporting the show financially, you can check out our Patreon here.

Finally, as always, follow DerekAndrew, and Alastair for more tweet-sized brilliance. Thanks to Timothy Motte for his sound editing work. And thanks to The Joy Eternal for lending us their music, which everybody should download out of gratitude for their kindness.

Caleb Wait

Caleb Wait (MATS, Westminster Seminary California) is a writer and the producer of Mere Fidelity. He and his wife Kristin have two children and live in Northern California. You can follow him on Twitter @calebwait and he invites you to email him at