5 J’s daughter bewails her virginity, not her impending death. The force of the Hebrew may indicate that the daughter “knew no man” following the vow’s fulfillment, that is, the daughter laments, not simply on not knowing a man prior to the vow, but also not knowing a man following its execution.
6 The yearly remembrance (Judges 11:40) of this act as recorded in Scripture speaks against the view that she was put to death. The idea being had she been sacrificed, they would rather have buried such an act in perpetual oblivion, than have revived it by an annual memorial.
7 So Jephthah’s vow can be understood as a dedication of his daughter to virginity (like an ancient nun!) not to human sacrifice, and maybe understood as similar to Hannah dedicating Samuel to the Lord (1 Sam 1:11).
8 Again, J’s vow did entail a significant limiting of his bet av from integrating fully into the local community as his daughter would not be given in marriage or give birth to grandchildren – both blessings to be celebrated in J’s culture. It is further startling when you think about J’s overall situation. He is the son of prostitute who has finally been recognized as the leader he feels he can be and he has proven himself triumphant. Yet, on account of his promise to God, he faces a crossroad – renege on the vow and pursue building up his family through his daughter and thereby establishing a monarchic line, OR, faithfully follow through with his vow and put an end to any long-term dynastic power he may had been hoping for. Alas, J chooses the latter and as a result, joins the other faithful heroes of the faith we encounter in Heb. 11.