from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • In the Bible, a judge of Israel who vowed to sacrifice to God the first thing to come out of his house to greet him upon his return, in exchange for victory over the Ammonites. He was victorious and, upon returning home, was met by his only child, a daughter.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • "Jephthah," she cried, though the voice as well as the form were greatly changed in these two years between boyhood and manhood.

    Under the Storm

  • Just mention "Jephthah" and see how many in the church even know the story.

    Jesus Creed

  • Hannah (mother of Samuel) formulated the structure and style for much of how we pray today, the Daughter of Jephthah the warrior led women to the mountains for two months “to lament her maidenhood” (Judges 11: 38) and the Apocryphal Judith used brains, beauty and bravery to kill Holofernes.

    Leadership and Authority.

  • An echo of one such ballad occurs in Hamlet (II, 2), where Polonius is compared to Jephthah.

    Biblical Women in World and Hebrew Literature.

  • The Dutch dramatist Joost van den Vondel, who wrote several works on biblical themes, composed Jephta (1659), a drama with a typically tragic plot, where Jephthah repents too late for his hard-headedness in deciding to carry out his vow.

    Biblical Women in World and Hebrew Literature.

  • It portrays Jephthah and Phinehas as sabotaging the task that has been entrusted to them; instead of helping to impart life, they take it.

    Jephthah's Daughter: Midrash and Aggadah.

  • In order to depict what befell the daughter of Jephthah, the Rabbis use a popular proverb: “Between the midwife and the woman in labor, the son of the unfortunate woman was lost” (Gen. Rabbah 60: 3).

    Jephthah's Daughter: Midrash and Aggadah.

  • Jephthah likewise said: “I am the head of the tribes of Israel, shall I debase myself by going to a commoner?”

    Jephthah's Daughter: Midrash and Aggadah.

  • Phinehas, however, said: “I am a High Priest, the son of a High Priest; shall I debase myself and go to Jephthah, who is a boor?”

    Jephthah's Daughter: Midrash and Aggadah.

  • The midrash asserts that if Jephthah had read the laws of vows in the Torah, he would not have lost his daughter (Tanhuma [ed. Buber], Behukotai 7).

    Jephthah's Daughter: Midrash and Aggadah.


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