Q: If God told you to sacrifice your child to him, would you do it?
A: No, because that wouldn’t be a message from God. God would not have us sacrificing our children.
Q: What about Abraham in Genesis 22:1-14? God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.
A: This passage wasn’t about killing Isaac, it’s about Abraham having faith and trusting in God. There are two major details that are often overlooked when it comes to Genesis 22:1-14. First is the fact that Abraham didn’t actually kill Isaac. The second is that even before this, Abraham had faith that God would provide something else for the sacrifice, and that’s exactly what happened.
And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
The main themes of Genesis 22:1-14 are to have faith in God, and it is foreshadowing of God sending his one and only Son Jesus. Abraham had faith that God would provide (verse 8) before actually seeing God provide.
Q: What about Jephthah in Judges 11:29-40? Jephthah clearly sacrifices his daughter as a burnt offering.
A: Jephthah made a vow to sacrifice whatever came out of his house first upon his return, if the Lord would give the Ammonites into his hand (Judges 11:30-31). However, such a rash vow would be considered invalid according to the laws in Leviticus. It is also wrong to sacrifice children according to the laws in Deuteronomy.
or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, he shall bring to the Lord as his compensation for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.
You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.
As we can see by these passages, Jephthah was wrong in making the vow to begin with, and wrong in carrying through with it. The vow was actually null and void according to the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
Jephthah, along with anyone else you find in the Bible, is shown to have done something wrong or sinned in some way or another or have shown imperfections. The exception to this is Jesus, who lived a perfect life, without sin. Jesus is our perfect example, not Jephthah.