That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
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For Jephthah likewise, when he had promised that the first thing that met him, after a victorious battle, he would sacrifice, fell into the snare of child murder; for his daughter first meeting him, he sacrificed her, and God did not forbid it. And I know, indeed, that many of the unbelievers impugn us of cruelty and inhumanity on account of this sacrifice; but I should say that the concession in the case of this sacrifice was a striking example of providence and clemency; and that it was in care for our race that he did not prevent that sacrifice. For if after that vow and promise he had forbidden the sacrifice, many also who were subsequent to Jephthah, in the expectation that God would not receive their vows, would have increased the number of such vows, and proceeding on their way would have fallen into child murder. But now, by suffering this vow to be actually fulfilled, he put a stop to all such cases in the future. And to show that this is true, after Jephthah’s daughter had been slain, in order that the calamity might be always remembered and that her fate might not be consigned to oblivion, it became a law among the Jews that the virgins assembling at the same season should bewail during forty days the sacrifice which had taken place; in order that renewing the memory of it by lamentation, they should make all people wiser for the future; and that they might learn that it was not after the mind of God that this should be done, for in that case he would not have permitted the virgins to bewail and lament her. And that what I have said is not conjectural, the event demonstrated; for after this sacrifice, no one vowed such a vow to God. Therefore also he did not indeed forbid this; but what he had expressly commanded in the case of Isaac, that he directly prohibited, plainly showing through both cases that he does not delight in such sacrifices.