Front Matter The Story of a Beautiful Garden The First Baby in the World and His Brother The Great Ship That Saved Eight People The Tower That Was Never Finished The Story of a Long Journey How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing The Angel by the Well The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City The Boy Who Became an Archer How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life The Story of a Journey after a Wife How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing Jacob's Wonderful Dream A Midnight Wrestling Match The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave From the Prison to the Palace How Joseph's Dream Came True A Lost Brother Found From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River The Voice from the Burning Bush The River That Ran Blood The Night When a Nation Was Born How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It The Tent Where God Lived Among His People How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons The Scapegoat in the Wilderness The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land The Story of Job The Story of a Scarlet Cord How the River Jordan Became Dry The Story of a Wedge of Gold How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge The Story of an Altar Beside the River The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon How a Woman Won a Great Victory Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz The Little Boy with a Linen Coat How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark The Last of the Judges The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh The Brave Young Prince Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows Where David Found the Giant's Sword How David Spared Saul's Life The Last Days of King Saul The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King The Sound in the Treetops The Cripple at the King's Table The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah Solomon on This Father's Throne The Wise Young King The House of God on Mount Moriah The Last Days of Solomon's Reign The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom The King Who Led Israel to Sin The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount The Wounded Prophet and His Story What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard The Arrow That Killed a King Elijah's Chariot of Fire A Spring Sweetened by Salt The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison The Little Boy at Shunem How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper The Chariots of Fire around Elisha What the Lepers Found in the Camp Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh How the Ten Tribes Were Lost The First Four Kings of Judah The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King Three Kings and a Great Prophet The Good King Hezekiah The Lost Book Found in the Temple The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again The Writing upon the Wall Daniel in the Den of Lions The Story of a Joyous Journey The New Temple on Mount Moriah The Beautiful Queen of Persia The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem The Angel by the Altar The Manger of Bethlehem The Star and the Wise Men The Boy in his Father's House The Prophet in the Wilderness Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast The Stranger at the Well The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot A Net Full of Fishes The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea "Peace, Be Still" The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It The Answer to a Mother's Prayer The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus At the Feast of Tabernacles The Man with Clay on His Face The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan Lazarus Raised to Life Some Parables in Perea The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man Jesus at Jericho Palm Sunday The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple The Parables on the Mount of Olives The Last Supper The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall The Crown of Thorns The Darkest Day of All the World The Brightest Day of All the World The Stranger on the Shore The Church of the First Days The Man at the Beautiful Gate The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way Stephen with the Shining Face The Man Reading in the Chariot The Voice That Spoke to Saul What Peter Saw by the Sea How the Iron Gate Was Opened The Earliest Missionaries The Song in the Prison Paul's Speech on the Hill Paul at Corinth Paul at Ephesus Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem The Speech on the Stairs Two Years in Prison The Story That Paul Told to the King Paul in the Storm How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There The Throne of God The City of God

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

Jephthah's Rash Promise, and What Came from It

Although Gideon has refused to become a king, even when all the tribes desired after him, after his death, one of his sons, whose name was Abimelech, tried to make himself a king. He began by killing all his brothers, except one who escaped. But his rule was only over Shechem and a few places near it, and lasted only a few years; so that he was never named among the kings of Israel. Abimelech is sometimes called the sixth of the judges, though he did not deserve the title. After him came Tola, the seventh judge, and Jair, the eighth. Of these two judges very little is told.

After this the Israelites again began to worship the idols of the Canaanites, and again fell under the power of their enemies. The Ammonites came against them from the southeast and held rule over the tribes on the east of Jordan. This was the sixth of "the oppressions;" and the man who set Israel free was Jephthah. He called together the men of the tribes on the east of Jordan—Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh—and fought against the Ammonites.

Before Jephthah went to battle he said to the Lord: "If thou wilt give me victory over the Ammonites, then when I come back from the battle, whatever comes out of the house to meet me shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt-offering.:

This was not a wise promise, nor a right one; for God had told the Israelites long before what offerings were commanded, as oxen and sheep, and what were forbidden. But Jephthah had lived on the border near the desert, far from the house of God at Shiloh, and he knew very little about God's law.

Jephthah fought the Ammonites and won a victory, and drove the enemies out of the land. Then, as he was going back to his home, his daughter, who was his only child, came out to meet him, leading the young girls, her companions, dancing and making music, to welcome his return. When Jephthah saw her he cried out in sorrow, "Oh, my daughter, what trouble you bring with you! I have given a promise to the Lord, and now I must keep it!"

Jephthah mourning for his daughter


As soon as his daughter had learned what promise her father had made she met it bravely, as a true daughter of Israel. She said:

"My father, you have made a solemn promise to the Lord, and you shall keep it, for God has given to you victory over the enemies of your people. But let me live a little while and weep with my young friends over the death that I must suffer."

Jephthah's daughter and her young friends


For two months she stayed with the young girls upon the mountains, for perhaps she feared that if she was at home with her father he would fail to keep his promise. Then she gave herself up to death, and her father did with her as he had promised.

Jephthah offers up his daughter


In all the history of the Israelites this was the only time when a living man or woman was offered in sacrifice to the Lord. Among all the nations around Israel the people offered human lives, even those of their own children, to the idols which they worshipped.

But the people of Israel remembered what God had taught Abraham when he was about to offer up Isaac; and they never, except this once, laid a human offering upon God's altar. (See Story Ten, Part First.) If Jephthah had lived near the Tabernacle at Shiloh, and had been taught God's law, he would not have given such a promise, for God did not desire it, and his daughter's life would have been saved. From all these stories it is easy to see how the Israelites lived during the three hundred years while the judges ruled. There was no strong power to which all gave obedience; but each family lived as it chose. Many people worshipped the Lord; but many more turned from the Lord to the idols, and then turned back to the Lord, after they had fallen under the hand of their enemies. In one part of the land they were free; in another part they were ruled by the foreign peoples.