Thomas Buchanan Read, Jephthah's Daughter

Thomas Buchanan Read: Jephthah's Daughter (1858) Oil on canvas
Jephthah's Daughter
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Bequest of Charles Knox Smith
73" x 54 ½"

Driven from his home by his kinsmen, Jephthah became an outlaw. But when his people are threatened by an enemy, they plead with him to resume command of their army. Before going into battle, he seeks a guarantee of success by vowing to God that if victory is granted to him, he will sacrifice “whoever [or whatever] comes out” of the Temple upon his return. Read captures the moment when Jephthah, returning victorious, turns in horror from the sight of his own daughter emerging from the Temple to greet him. As she appears, he understands the tragic consequences of his vow.

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