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The Hebrew conjunction, vau, can mean "and" or "or" depending on context. Here it is better rendered "or." That is, whatever first came forth would be dedicated to the Lord. If a person came out (Jepthah was probably thinking of a servant), he or she would be dedicated to God's service at the tabernacle, as Samuel would later be (1 Samuel 1:11). If an animal came out, it would be offered as a burnt offering. Jepthah apparently kept small flocks of clean animals in his "house" (enclosed area where he lived), and fully expected it to be one of these.
KJV Defenders Study Bible, by Dr. Henry Morris, Ph.D.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
DEF 10 ISBN 0-529-10444-x
DEF 10-1 ISBN 0-529-10445-8