According to the commentaries (who include the Ralbag, Radak, Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel) who say Yiftach didn't literally kill his daughter but rather made more of a spiritual "sacrifice", where she basically lived in a tower, why are her circumstances looked at so negatively, while Shmuel's looked at so positively? I know there's a lot of extenuating circumstances (i.e. Shmuel was there from birth and Yiftach's daughter was later on), and there seems to be a blight on Yiftach because he knew he should be getting counsel from Pinchas regarding this (cited here) etc. but there's such a contrast in views between Chana and Yiftach according these commentaries and I was just wondering if there was something I was potentially missing

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    I like your question. Can you add sources? (who says he didn't actually sacrifice her? who criticizes him for not taking counsel with Pinchas? etc.) It will improve the question and make it easier to give a good answer.
    – Binyomin
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 6:21
  • I have edited the question to include more information regarding the sources of my inquiry. Commented May 21, 2020 at 6:32
  • Good question. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that Chana was married to a Levite family, so any descendants anyway have some commitment to the Mishkan.
    – Harel13
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


I admit that don't have a source for the following distinction.

But there's a logical distinction between the cases.

Shmuel was consecrated to Hashem. Chana didn't abandon him, or "lock him up" forever.

She gave him to the Mishkan, to be raised by Eli and to develop as a navi.

Yiftach, however, locked his daughter away. He didn't send her to become a navi, to join a community of the "bnei neviim" who trained to become prophets. (I don't even know if there was such an option for "bnos nevios.")

He just sentenced her to a life of solitary confinement. While better than actually killing her, it's still wrong to cut her off from society.

(Today, during 5780 and the coronavirus, we've seen the incredible mental health issues caused by isolation. Imagine being isolated for the rest of your life!)

This would seem to be included in the famous Tamuldic adage said by Choni Hamaagel in maseches Taanis, או חברותא או מיתותא, without companionship/friendship, death is preferable to living alone.

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    +1. Plus, and perhaps even more important, לא נברא העולם אלא לפריה ורביה. Chana's consecration of Shmuel didn't interfere with that (and he did have sons, who unfortunately לא הלכו בדרכיו but from whom came a major family of singers in the Beis Hamikdash), while Yiftach's consecration of his daughter did (and as it was, אין לו ממנו בן או בת, so that meant that he had no descendants at all).
    – Meir
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 19:48

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