That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the
daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite
Either the death of her, as some, or her virginity, as others; though the word F16 used may signify to talk and discourse with her, to hold a confabulation with her, and comfort her, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it; to bring her some news, and tell her some diverting stories, to cheer and refresh her in her solitude. De Dieu observes, that the word signifies in the Arabic language to "praise", or speak in commendation of a person or thing; and indeed in this sense it seems to be used in this book, ( Judges 5:11 ) , "they shall rehearse", that is, with praise and thanksgiving, "the righteous acts of the Lord"; and so the daughters of Israel went every year to the place where the daughter of Jephthah was, to speak in the praise of her, of her heroism, in so cheerfully submitting to her father's vow, and expressing such gratitude and joy at the same time for victory over the enemies of Israel; and this they did in her presence and while she lived, to keep up her spirits; or it may be, in some public place, and even after her death, in memory of her, and to celebrate her praise. Epiphanius says F17, that in his time, at Sebaste, formerly called Samaria, they deified the daughter of Jephthah, and kept a feast for her every year. The meeting of the daughters of Israel, so long as the custom lasted, which perhaps was only during the life of Jephthah's daughter, was four days in a year; but whether they were four days running, or once in a quarter of a year, is not certain; the latter seems most probable.