Judges 11:35
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New International Version
When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break."

New Living Translation
When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. "Oh, my daughter!" he cried out. "You have completely destroyed me! You've brought disaster on me! For I have made a vow to the LORD, and I cannot take it back."

English Standard Version
And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot take back my vow.”

Berean Study Bible
As soon as Jephthah saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “No! Not my daughter! You have brought me to my knees! You have brought great misery upon me, for I have given my word to the LORD and cannot take it back.”

New American Standard Bible
When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back."

King James Bible
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

Christian Standard Bible
When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "No! Not my daughter! You have devastated me! You have brought great misery on me. I have given my word to the LORD and cannot take it back."

Contemporary English Version
"Oh no!" Jephthah cried. Then he tore his clothes in sorrow and said to his daughter, "I made a sacred promise to the LORD, and I must keep it. Your coming out to meet me has broken my heart."

Good News Translation
When he saw her, he tore his clothes in sorrow and said, "Oh, my daughter! You are breaking my heart! Why must it be you that causes me pain? I have made a solemn promise to the LORD, and I cannot take it back!"

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "No! Not my daughter! You have devastated me! You have brought great misery on me. I have given my word to the LORD and cannot take it back."

International Standard Version
When he saw her, he ripped his clothes and cried out, "Oh no! My daughter! You have terribly burdened me! You've joined those who are causing me trouble, because I've given my word to the LORD, and I cannot go back on it.

NET Bible
When he saw her, he ripped his clothes and said, "Oh no! My daughter! You have completely ruined me! You have brought me disaster! I made an oath to the LORD, and I cannot break it."

New Heart English Bible
And it happened, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, "Alas, my daughter. You have brought me very low. You have become a stumbling block in my sight. And you are among those who trouble me. For I have given my word to the LORD, and I can't break it."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When he saw her, he tore his clothes in grief and said, "Oh no, Daughter! You've brought me to my knees! What disaster you've brought me! I made a foolish promise to the LORD. Now I can't break it."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said: 'Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art become my troubler; for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.'

New American Standard 1977
And it came about when he saw her, that he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of those that trouble me, for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

King James 2000 Bible
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! you have brought me very low, and you are one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

American King James Version
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! you have brought me very low, and you are one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot go back.

American Standard Version
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me; for I have opened my mouth unto Jehovah, and I cannot go back.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when he saw her, he rent his garments, and said: Alas! my daughter, thou hast deceived me, and thou thyself art deceived: for I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I can do no other thing.

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his garments, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me; for I have opened my mouth to Jehovah, and I cannot go back.

English Revised Version
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot go back.

World English Bible
It happened, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are one of those who trouble me; for I have opened my mouth to Yahweh, and I can't go back."

Young's Literal Translation
And it cometh to pass, when he seeth her, that he rendeth his garments, and saith, 'Alas, my daughter, thou hast caused me greatly to bend, and thou hast been among those troubling me; and I -- I have opened my mouth unto Jehovah, and I am not able to turn back.'
Study Bible
Jephthah's Tragic Vow
34And when Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, there was his daughter coming out to meet him with tambourines and dancing! She was his only child; he had no son or daughter besides her. 35As soon as Jephthah saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “No! Not my daughter! You have brought me to my knees! You have brought great misery upon me, for I have given my word to the LORD and cannot take it back.” 36“My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me as you have said, for the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.”…
Cross References
Numbers 30:2
If a man makes a vow to the LORD or swears an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word; he must do everything he has promised.

2 Samuel 3:31
Then David ordered Joab and all the people with him, "Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner." And King David himself walked behind the funeral bier.

Psalm 15:4
who despises the vile but honors those who fear the LORD, who does not revise a costly oath,

Ecclesiastes 5:4
When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, because He takes no pleasure in fools. Fulfill your vow.

Ecclesiastes 5:5
It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.

Treasury of Scripture

And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! you have brought me very low, and you are one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot go back.

rent his clothes

Genesis 37:29,30,34,35 And Reuben returned to the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the …

Genesis 42:36-38 And Jacob their father said to them, Me have you bereaved of my children: …

2 Samuel 13:30,31 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came …

2 Samuel 18:33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the …

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell …

have opened

Leviticus 27:28,29 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote to the …

Numbers 30:2-5 If a man vow a vow to the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul …

Psalm 15:4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honors them that …

Ecclesiastes 5:2-6 Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter …

I cannot

Judges 21:1-7 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not …

1 Samuel 14:44,45 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for you shall surely …

Matthew 14:7-9 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatever she would ask…

Acts 23:14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have …







(35) He rent his clothes.--Comp. Joshua 7:6. By one of the curious survivals which preserve customs for centuries after the meaning is gone out of them, every Jew on approaching to Jerusalem for the first time has to submit to the krie--i.e., to a cut made in his sleeve, as a sort of symbol of rending his clothes.

Thou hast brought me very low.--Literally, crushing, thou hast crushed me.

I have opened my mouth unto the Lord.--A vow was not deemed binding unless it had been actually expressed in words (Numbers 30:2-3; Numbers 30:7; Deuteronomy 23:23). There were two kinds of vows among the Hebrews--the simple vow, neder (Leviticus 27:2-27), and the "devotion," or "ban," cherem (Leviticus 27:28-29). Anything devoted to Jehovah by the cherem was irredeemable, and became "a holy of holies" (kodesh kadashim) to Him, and was to be put to death (Leviticus 27:29).

I cannot go back.--Numbers 30:2. Jephthah had not understood until now the horror of human sacrifice. He would neither wish nor dare to draw back from his cherem (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5; Matthew 5:33; Jonah 2:9; Pss. 72:25, Psalm 26:11) merely because the anguish of it would fall so heavily upon himself. The Hebrews had the most intense feeling about the awfulness of breaking an oath or vow, and they left no room for any mental reservations (Leviticus 27:28-29). Saul was determined to carry out his ban even at the cost of the life of his eldest son, and even Herod Antipas felt obliged to carry out his oath to Herodias, though it involved a deep pang and a haunted conscience. It is clear that not for one moment did it occur to Jephthah to save himself from the agony of bereavement by breaking his 'ban" (cherem) as a mere redeemable vow (neder). The Jews shared in this respect the feelings of other ancient nations. Thus the Greeks believed that the house of Athamas were under an inexpiable curse, because when the Achaeans had been bidden to offer him up for a sacrifice for compassing the death of Phryxus, Kytissorus, the son of Phryxus, had intercepted the sacrifice (Herod. vii. 197, ? 3; Plat. Minos, 5). It must be remembered that though his cherem had taken an unusual and unlawful (though far from unknown) form, the notion of such a vow would come far more naturally to a people which in very recent times, as well as afterwards, had devoted whole cities--men, women, children, cattle, and goods--to absolute destruction (Numbers 21:2-3).

Verse 35. - Thou hast brought me very low - literally, thou hast thoroughly bowed me down, i.e. with sorrow. I cannot go back. A forcible illustration of the evil of rash vows. He who makes them is so placed that he must sin. If he breaks his vow, he has taken God's name in vain; if he keeps it, he breaks one of God's commandments. So it was with Saul (1 Samuel 14:24, 39-45), with Herod (Mark 6:23); so it has often been since with those who have made unauthorised vows, and who in attempting to keep them have fallen into deadly sin. And it came to pass, when he saw her,.... She being the first person that presented to his view, as she was at the head of the virgins with their timbrels and dances:

that he rent his clothes; as was the usual manner, when anything calamitous and distressing happened; see Genesis 37:34.

and said, alas, my daughter, thou hast brought me very low; damped his spirits, sunk him very low, so that he was ready to drop into the earth, as we say; he that was now returning in triumph, amidst the acclamations of the people, in the height of his glory, and extolled to the skies, and perhaps elated in his own mind; on a sudden, at the sight of his daughter, was so depressed in his spirits, that he could not bear up; but was ready to sink and die away, all his honour being as it were laid in the dust, and nothing to him:

and thou art one of them that trouble me: or among his troublers, and the greatest he ever met with; he had been in trouble from his brethren, when they drove him from his father's house, and he had had trouble with the children of Ammon to subdue them; but this was the greatest trouble of all, that his daughter should be the first that should meet him; of whom, according to his vow, he was to be deprived, and so all his future comforts, hopes, and expectations from her gone; and therefore ranks her among, and at the head of, his troublers:

for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord; in a vow; not only had purposed it in his heart, but had expressed it with his lips:

and I cannot go back; or retract it; looking upon himself under an indispensable obligation to perform it; of which, be it as it may, he seems to have had mistaken notions and apprehensions; for if his vow was to sacrifice her, as some think, he was not obliged to do it, since it was contrary to the law of God, and abominable in his sight; and besides, what was vowed to be the Lord's, or devoted to him, might be redeemed according to the law, a female for thirty pieces of silver, Leviticus 27:2 and if the vow was to separate his daughter from the company of men, and oblige her never to marry, such a power as this parents had not allowed them over their children, according to the laws of God or of men, in the Jewish nation; and therefore, be it which it will, what he had to do was to repent of this rash vow, and humble himself before God for making it, and not add sin to sin by performing it. 11:29-40 Several important lessons are to be learned from Jephthah's vow. 1. There may be remainders of distrust and doubting, even in the hearts of true and great believers. 2. Our vows to God should not be as a purchase of the favour we desire, but to express gratitude to him. 3. We need to be very well-advised in making vows, lest we entangle ourselves. 4. What we have solemnly vowed to God, we must perform, if it be possible and lawful, though it be difficult and grievous to us. 5. It well becomes children, obediently and cheerfully to submit to their parents in the Lord. It is hard to say what Jephthah did in performance of his vow; but it is thought that he did not offer his daughter as a burnt-offering. Such a sacrifice would have been an abomination to the Lord; it is supposed she was obliged to remain unmarried, and apart from her family. Concerning this and some other such passages in the sacred history, about which learned men are divided and in doubt, we need not perplex ourselves; what is necessary to our salvation, thanks be to God, is plain enough. If the reader recollects the promise of Christ concerning the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and places himself under this heavenly Teacher, the Holy Ghost will guide to all truth in every passage, so far as it is needful to be understood.
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