Judges 11:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 11:34, NIV: When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.

Judges 11:34, ESV: Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter.

Judges 11:34, KJV: And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

Judges 11:34, NASB: But Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, and behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. And she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter.

Judges 11:34, NLT: When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters.

Judges 11:34, CSB: When Jephthah went to his home in Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with tambourines and dancing! She was his only child; he had no other son or daughter besides her.

What does Judges 11:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jephthah had offered a foolish vow to God (Judges 11:30–31) in hopes of military success over the Ammonites. This was a victory God clearly already intended to deliver. In exchange for victory and safe return of himself to his home, Jephthah promised an extreme sacrifice. Depending on his exact intentions, this could infer a wide range of meanings. It may imply human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, or being permanently devoted to God's service. Whatever Jephthah intended, he clearly had not planned to include his daughter.

Triumphant following the utter defeat of the Ammonites, Jephthah returns to his house in Mizpah. He was fully aware of his vow to the Lord and probably anxious to see who or what would be required. Rather than a servant, or animal, it is his joyful daughter. She comes out dancing, shaking tambourines, and celebrating his success and return.

The weight of Jephthah's vow grows as we see how happy and full of life his daughter is. It amplifies further when the text notes she is his only child. Jephthah will not take this well (Judges 11:35).