Jepthah's Daughter

A Poem By Naomi // 5/29/2007

An angel's voice saved Abraham's white head
From shame: It turned the trembling knife away.
The altar was mere stone again--instead
He cut the cords, not flesh, and laughed to say
The tired joke once more, the son he bred,
This Isaac--just jesting heaven's cat-play.
At least he got the punch-line and his son.
(But had Jehovah's joking just begun?)

Surely there is no balm in Gilead.
No bloody beaten Ammonites who face
Sheol--nor rams however myriad--
Could purge the rust-dried rivulets, the trace
Of altered god and man, whose sin, he had
Known, visited the children. What of grace
Was still in heaven? Curse the maw above,
This Moloch-Yahweh who picks his teeth of love.

And so these four days' laugh-lament each year . . .
The festive weeping on the mountain might
Amuse such deity. He plugs his ears
To mute the joke, but still he cannot quite
Forget the echo of his vow. He hears
Divine derision in the harsh delight
Of buzzards cackling overhead again:
This blood-lust of Jehovah turned heathen.

Why, Spirit of the Lord, such mystery?
He broke the tambourine she played that day--
That day he swallowed oath and victory
With daughter-blood. Remembering her grey
Eyes staring at the clouds, their history
Of girlhood summers ready to obey,
To wed the mountain god and bloody knife--
A trembling kiss before he took her life.


I had to remind myself who

I had to remind myself who Jepthah's daughter was. Naomi, it's a powerful poem for a powerful story. The style and content remind me of Hopkins' "The Wreck of the Deutschland."

Ben | Wed, 06/13/2007

a great poem.

That's great writing. Leonard Cohen would approve.

I wrote a post about Jepthah's daughter on my blog today. I found your post via google.


Anonymous | Thu, 08/23/2007

For the record, what is this

For the record, what is this poem conveying about the character of God? It seems, um, how should I put this? Blasphemous?

James | Thu, 02/21/2008

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle


There are two views on Jephath's daughter--that he killed her or that he dedicated her to an unmarried life of service..I can't remember any more right now.
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Sun, 06/14/2009

Formerly Kestrel


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