the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature
The offering of human life, as the most precious thing on earth, came in process of time to be practiced in most countries of the world. All histories and traditions darken our idea of the earlier ages with human sacrifices. But the period when such prevailed was not the earliest in time, though probably the earliest in civilization. The practice was both a result and a token of barbarism more or less gross. In this, too, the dearest object was primitively selected. Human life is the most precious thing on earth, and of this most precious possession the most precious portion is the life of one's child. Children therefore were offered in fire to the false divinities, and in no part of the world with less regard to the claims of natural affection than in the land where, at a later period, the only true God had his peculiar worship and highest honors.
It is under these circumstances a striking fact that the Hebrew religion, even in its most rudimental condition, should be free from the contamination of human sacrifices. The case of Isaac and that of Jephthah's daughter cannot impair the general truth, that the offering of human beings is neither enjoined, allowed, nor practiced in the Biblical records. On the contrary, such an offering is strictly prohibited by Moses, as adverse to the will of God, and an abomination of the heathen. 'Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch: defile not yourselves with any of these things' (; see also;;;; ). We do not hesitate to urge this fact as not least considerable among many proofs not only of the superior character, but of the divine origin of the Hebrew worship.
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Sacrifice Human'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature". https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​kbe/​s/sacrifice-human.html.