Now, Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour. His father was Gilead, and his mother was a harlot who grew up on the mean streets of Gilead (the place, not the man). 2 Luckily, Gilead managed to convince his wife that Jephthah was in fact hers, and so she raised him as her own.
3 In the course of time, Gilead’s wife bore him other sons, and when they reached adulthood, they realised that Jephthah didn’t look anything like any of them. They gathered around him and said, ‘Sod off, you son of a whore!’, beat the shit out of him, and tossed him into the street.
Dejected, Jephthah left and settled in the land of Tob where he started a gang of ruffians called the Tob Heads.
4 Some time later, the Ammonites started a war against Israel. 5 The elders of Gilead went off to Tob to recruit Jephthah for national service. 6 ‘Your country needs you!’ they told him.
7 ‘My country needs to piss off!’ he barked. ‘Why the fuck should I fight for Israel when my brothers kicked me out of the house?’
8 ‘That’s not our fault!’
9 ‘I’ll only come back with you if you give me head,’ he replied.
‘What?’ exclaimed all of the elders except one, who opened his mouth and dropped to his knees.
Jephthah looked at him in bemusement and said, ‘I meant that I want to be head of the army, and if the Lord gives me victory, head of the town.’
10 ‘Oh…’ they sighed with relief. ‘With God as our witness, we will let you be our “head”.’
11 So, Jephthah agreed to lead the army.
As they made their way back to Gilead, one elder said to the other, ‘You weren’t really going to blow that guy, were you?’
‘No,’ he replied awkwardly. ‘I just wanted to convince him to come… with us.’
12 A few days later, Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king saying, ‘Who the hell do you think you are, attacking my country like this?’
13 The king sent a message back saying, ‘I’m the king of Ammon. I’m attacking you because you seized my land when you came out of Egypt. Who the hell did you think you were, taking our land like that?’
Upon hearing the king’s message, Jephthah turned to the elders of Gilead and said, ‘Well, he does have a point…’
‘Shhh,’ they replied. ‘We’re trying to propagate the idea that this land is rightfully ours.’
14 So, the elders sent the messengers back with this message: ‘This is what Jephthah says, 15 “Israel didn’t take your land, you lying bastards! The story of the Israelites is long and heroic. 16 After we left Egypt, we wandered the desert to the Red Sea. 17 When we got to Kadesh, we asked the king of Edom nicely if we could pass through his land, but he refused. We went around the land of Edom, and we asked the king of Moab if we could pass through his land, but he refused too. 18 So, we went around the edge of Moab also.
19 ‘“We camped in Arnon and we asked King Sihon the Amorite if we could pass through his land. 20 The fucker attacked us! 21 We did the only thing we could do; we slaughtered the lot of them in self-defence and stole their land! 22 The Lord was on our side!
23 ‘“None of the Amorites told us as we were killing them that they’d just recently stolen the land from you! 24 Now, three hundred years later, you come along and ask for us to give you it back? 25 Yahweh, our god , obviously wanted us to have it. 26 How come your god Chemosh didn’t protect you from the Amorites? 27 I think it’s because he’s a useless sissy god, and you’re all a bunch of weak pansies. Also, your mother fucks pigs. Signed, Jephthah.”’
28 Oddly enough, the king of Ammon didn’t take kindly to the elder’s message.
29 The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. He boldly marched across Gilead to Manasseh, and on through Mizpah to face the Ammonite army. 30 Then he dropped to his knees in tears and pleaded with God, ‘Please, don’t let the Ammonites kill me. 31 If you let me win, I’ll sacrifice the first thing that comes out of my house, even if it happens to be my virgin daughter.’
32 So, Jephthah fought against the Ammonites, and he butchered them all. 33 He left twenty towns in ruins, and the Israelite army defeated the Ammonites.
34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, rather than Tob where he’d been living, who should come out to greet him but his little virgin daughter. She was happily dancing and playing the tambourine in celebration of her beloved father’s victory.
35 Jephthah dropped to his knees, tore his clothes, and yelled, ‘No!!!!! Not my virgin daughter!’
Meanwhile, in Heaven, God was rolling around on the floor laughing his arse off. ‘You stupid prick!’ he chortled.
36 ‘Daddy, are you not pleased to see me?’ she cried.
He knelt down to her and said, ‘Oh, my dear daughter. I’m sorry to say that I promised God that I’d sacrifice you as a burnt offering.’
37 ‘What?’ she exclaimed, and she kicked him in the shin and ran off to the hills to cry.
38 Jephthah’s daughter spent two months in the hills crying and wailing, ‘I never even got to be somebody’s wife, which is the only thing women are good for!’
39 Eventually, Jephthah caught her, stabbed her through the heart, and burnt her body. And the Lord smelled the sweet savour.
40 When the Israelites discovered what Jephthah had done, they started an annual tradition where for four days, young virgins would go and defecate on his lawn.