Ur of the Chaldees, where Abraham and Sarah were from, was a city at the southern end of the Tigris River in what is now Iraq.  Haran was a city where Abraham’s father was buried. It is in the southern part of what is now Turkey and a major city in northern Mesopotamia.  Mesopotamia means land between rivers; it is a name for the area of the Tigris-Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq and Kuwait, the northeastern section of Syria and to a much lesser extent southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran.

Judges 11-12 tells the story of Jephthah and his daughter. Did he sacrifice her as the account suggests. Judges 11:30 in many translations says that Jephthah will offer the first person that comes out of his house as a burnt offering if he is given victory over the Ammonites. This verse seems to be at odds with some of the verses around it that state that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah (11:29)

In the Appendix of Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, page 896, it states, “The original, Judges 11:30, when properly translated, reads:  ‘And it shall be that whoever comes forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace, from the children of Ammon, shall surly be Jehovah’s , and I will offer to him a burnt offering.’  The vow contains two parts:  (1) That person who would meet him on his return should be Jehovah’s and be dedicated forever to his service, as Hannah devoted Samuel before he was born (1 Sam. 1:11) and (2) That Jephthah himself would offer a burnt offering to Jehovah. 

Verse 31 according to the most accurate Hebrew scholars is this:  I will consecrate it to the Lord, or I will offer it for a burnt-offering; that is, “if it be a thing fit for a burnt-offering, it shall be made one; if fit for the service of God, it shall be consecrated to him.”

These translations seem to make more sense. Jephthah was a judge of Israel, was pious, acknowledged God and asked for his blessing as a judge. God gave him success in his military campaign against the Ammonites.  If the Lord was with him, he would not be thinking about killing a human as a sacrifice. Human sacrifices were prohibited by the Law (Deut. 12:30) and the priests would not offer them.  Such a vow would have been impious, and could not have been performed.  In addition, Jephthah is mentioned as a person of faith in Heb. 11:32. Would he be mentioned as a person of faith if he had so grossly gone against the Law and against God?

Jephthah allowed his daughter her request to have two months to roam the hills and weep for her lasting virginity.  Why did this matter?  Because all, especially the women, were aware of the promised messiah that would be born of a woman. If she couldn’t marry, Jephthah’s daughter’s chances of being the mother of the promised messiah dropped to zero, heartrending because each female looked forward to that possible honor. Jephthah’s daughter was thus dedicated to God for the rest of her life.