Lost and the Book of Judges

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen last night’s episode of Lost, The Variable, you should go watch it now. If you haven’t seen the previous 99 episodes, you should start at #1.

As of now, I don’t really have any theories on this episode (after all, my theories are usually wrong). But I couldn’t help but find a strong comparison between Eloise Hawking on Lost and Yiphtach, the biblical character from the Book of Judges.


First, a quick recap on Yiphtach. After going out and killing a bunch of Ammonites, Yiphtach came back to his home promising God that, as a gift of gratitude, he would sacrifice the first living thing that came out of his home to greet him.

Yiphtach probably wasn’t the smartest guy in his class. He failed to consider that maybe, just maybe, a family member would come out to say hi. And guess what happened? Yiphtach’s daughter, known eloquently in the Bible as Yiphtach’s daughter, came out to say “What up, Dad?”

Yiphtach realized he had made a mistake. But it was too late. He couldn’t take back his promise. We’re talking about making a promise to God here. You can’t just say that you were kidding.

In last night’s episode, we learn of the sad fate of my personal favorite character, Daniel Faraday. Back in 1977, Faraday is shot and killed by his own mother, Eloise Hawking. Of course, she does not know that he is her son until after she shoots him.

But that is not the most interesting part here. Eloise Hawking, an expert in the rules of time travel (especially the past), raises Daniel (possibly born after 1977 but yet to be confirmed) knowing that she will have no choice but to kill him when he grows up. Much like God, Eloise knows that she cannot screw around with the island. To quote Lost, “Whatever happened, happened.”

There is an amazing scene in The Variable, set in present day, where Eloise tells Charles to not talk to her about sacrifice, because she had to send her son back to the island. Only later do we find out that she consciously sent Daniel back to the island knowing that she would kill him back in 1977.

There are two points I want to quickly cover. The first is that, as opposed to some other characters (Locke, Christian, etc.), I don’t think the writers of the show purposely made this biblical comparison. But it is interesting nonetheless.

Second, it is interesting to note that I’m not angry at Eloise for sending her son to die. Maybe it’s because she thought it was unavoidable. Who knows? But she isn’t painted as a bad guy for doing what she did.

On the other hand, throughout my years of Jewish education, I always learned that Yiphtach was somewhat of a bafoon. How could he have been so dumb that he would kill his own daughter? And why did he not plead with God to let her live?

Isn’t God more compassionate than the island?

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