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Oct 27, 2011

78 Was child sacrifice taboo in the Bible

It’s Judges vs Leviticus

In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Jephthah the warrior promised to make a burnt offering to the Lord 

Judges 11:31 [W]hatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return ... will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” 

The irony: his daughter was the first thing to come out of the house  

34 When Jephthah returned to his home ... who should come out to meet him but his daughter.

His promise involved a child sacrifice. And the Lord accepted it 

39 ... and he did to her as he had vowed. 

In the Old Testament Book of Genesis, God told Abraham to go and sacrifice his son. Again the Lord was okay with the idea of a child sacrifice 

Genesis 22:2 God said [to Abraham], "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." 

The good news was, at the last minute an angel stopped Abraham from going ahead and carrying out the sacrifice  

9 He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! ... 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God." 

The thing is, though, child sacrifice is expressly prohibited in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus

Leviticus 20:3 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molech must be put to death.’”

Recap: Leviticus seems to hint that the pagan god Molech was the problem and child sacrifice wasn't. Say that God ordered a biblicist to sacrifice a child today. The guy might rationalize: “Okay as long as the sacrifice isn't to Molech.”

So let's sum up. With respect to Molech, the Lord said no. But when it came to Jephthah and Abraham, the Lord said yes. Thus Judges vs Leviticus.

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