Human Sacrifice In The Bible  By Peter Murphy

The idea of Human Sacrifice is repugnant to any rational mind, and the revealed religions have denounced it from the earliest times; or so it would seem. But human sacrifice finds its place in the Bible, in particular the Jewish Bible, and for Christians, the biblical Jesus was a human sacrifice to appease a god so vicious that nothing less than blood and death will suffice. For this post, I will limit myself to the Jewish Bible, and its practices.

Judges 11: 29-40, "29 Now the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah ... 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, 'If Thou wilt indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31 then it shall be that whatever comes through the doors of my house to meet me when I return ... shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering... 34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him ... 39 And it came about at the end of two months that she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made; and she had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Geleadite four days in the year."

Here is a case of human sacrifice without question. A father following in the best tradition of the Phoenicians, cut his only daughter to pieces and offered the meat as a burnt offering. Note: that Jephthah's society did not stop him, did not even resist, it went along with it. The question is WHY? The possible answer is that it was not uncommon.
Apologetics: It does not say that she was killed.
Rebuttal: verse 39 says that Jephthah did to her according to the vow. The vow was for a burnt offering, and she was the sacrifice. -- as per the proper fulfillment of ritual.
Conclusion: She was murdered, pure and simple; and rather apologists like it or not, it is right there in the bible.
Exod. 22: 29-30, "29 You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The first-born of your sons you shall give to Me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me."

Here is a commandment from God that the first-born were to be set aside for Him. These first-borns were sacrificed. Note: even human children are taken from their mothers on the eight day -- but nowhere in the bible, does it say that these children were returned to their mothers. Reason tells us that it is possible that these children were sacrificed as burnt offerings, and that may explain why Jephathah's murdering his own daughter was not seen as abhorrent to that society.

Exod. 4: 25-26, "25 ... and she [Zipporah] 'You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.' 26 So He let him [the child] alone. At that time she said, 'You are a bridegroom of blood'..."

Here we have Moses wanting to murder his own child/ The scribes later made it look like she was upset over the circumcision, but that is ridiculous. Zipporah was a Bedouin, these women are very capable and very tough, they see blood and know pain; it is part of their daily life. The idea that such a person would emotionally fall apart over circumcision is nonsense, it would take more than a little blood and flesh to disturb them. Bedouins had a history of burying their children in the sand and leaving them to die, it was Mohammed who ended the practice. So what did Moses actually do? In light of the rest of this post, there is evidence that Moses sacrificed his child, and this is why Zipporah called him "a bridegroom of blood." The fruit of their union was sacrificed on an altar.

Num. 31: 40, "40 And the human beings were 16,000, from whom the Lord's levy was 32. 41 And Moses gave the levy which was the Lord's offering to Eleazar the priest, just as the Lord had commanded Moses."

Here is a list of female virgins captured in war, all their fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers were put to death in a genocide campaign launched by Moses. Of these prisoners, they were divided up as booty for the men who had murdered off their people, but 32 had special fates assigned to them. Note: they were given to Eleazar the priest, but the text does not say what the priest did with this offering. We know from other passages in the bible, that such offerings as animals were sacrificed as burnt offerings; Reason tells us that these 32 may have suffered a similar fate. After all, the society which Jephathah lived in was not even disturbed by his behavior. If they were not disturbed, it follows than that it was not a disturbing occurrence.

Apologists will counter that in Jesus' society of the 1st century, there are no records of human sacrifice, therefore, there were never any human sacrifices. My rebuttal is simple, religions like society change, and the Jews may have dropped the practice when they became more intellectual in their thinking. Judaism in Jesus' time was very intellectual, but in Moses' time, it was emotional. Blood sacrifice can keep a society placated just as easily as the blood sports that the Roman state used to keep the mob placated. Keep in mind that the Bedouins were still sacrificing children up into the time of Mohammed.

Peter M.


Resources guide - Free Books - mp3 - Free downloads - Pictures

- Free Quran

Comparative guide - atheism - CoS - Christianity - Hinduism

- Buddhism

Site guide - search - chat - contact - contents

- home