Dear Sir, I hope you don't mind a private question. I am researching Jephthah's sacrifice of his daughter in Judges 11, and I came across a reference to Sanhedrin 64a and 64b. It was suggested that Sanhedrin allows for child sacrifice. I have never studied the Talmud, so even after reading the passage in question, I do not quite know how to interpret it. It seems to me that the passage addresses the strict definition of idolatry. Would you have time to tell me what it means, and how it relates to child sacrifice (if at all)? Thank you for your time. Lee R. Martin
Lee Martin, Cleveland, TN USA
Greetings Pastor Martin,
The passage in the Talmid to which you refer by no means "allows for child sacrifice." Rather, it is discussing the conditions for which a Jew is *punished* by the Jewish court (with "stoning"). Without those conditions fulfilled, it is still absolutely forbidden to do such an act (and one will be punished at the hands of Heaven, but the Jewish court cannot administer the punishment prescribed for the act of offering a child to Molech). In that sense, you are correct that "the passage addresses the strict definition of idolatry," or at least these specific form of idolatry.