Photo by the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, M.638, f.13v

ON THE COVER: Like frames from a film, three panels in this illuminated French manuscript (c. 1250) give us glimpses at the highlights of the Jephthah story. At upper left, the victorious Jephthah, dressed as a medieval warrior, clasps his hands in despair as he meets his daughter, who stands with a square tambourine in the stylized doorway. Jephthah’s daughter and her friends “lament upon the hills and there bewail [her] maidenhood” (Judges 11:37) in the upper right panel. The story’s conclusion is portrayed in the lower left panel in accordance with the traditional interpretation, although the medieval artist has substituted beheading for sacrifice as a burnt offering, which Jephthah had vowed (Judges 11:31). A scene from another story, Abimelech slaying his brothers (Judges 9:5), appears in the lower right panel. For a new interpretation of the story, turn to “Did Jephthah Kill His Daughter?”