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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

 

CONTEXT

PART 7A: Records & Laws

Ch.26: [Records] The Second Census

•  on the Plains of Moab before entering the Land

Ch.27: [Law] All about Succession - Zelophehad's Daughters

•  deprived daughters, new laws and Moses' successor

Ch.28: [Law] The Calendar of Remembrance Established

•  the daily, monthly and special annual offerings

Ch.29: [Law] Three Special Times

•  Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles

Ch. 30: [Law] Vows

•  dealing with different sorts of vows

    

  

FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 30: Vows

 

v.1,2 General Principles about Vows

v.3-8 Pre-Marriage Vows

v.9-15 After Marriage Vows

v.16 Summary

 

 

v.1,2 General Principles about Vows

 

v.1 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands:

v.2 When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

 

[Notes: The danger with a zealous people relating to God can be that they make vows to God rashly, which is mostly what this chapter is about. The general principle is that if you make a vow to God – do it. Solomon supported this in Eccles 5:4,5. Vows of people noted in the Old Testament are Hannah dedicating her son to the Lord's service (1 Sam 1:11) and Jephthah dedicating ‘whoever came out of the door' (Judg 11:30,31) a highly questionable superstitious vow which he followed through by killing his daughter, that could in no way have been approved by God. Vows can thus be a touchy subject!]

 

 

v.3-8 Pre-Marriage Vows

 

v.3,4 Girl makes pledge, father consents – vow stands

v.3 “When a young woman still living in her father's household makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge

v.4 and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand.

 

v.5 As above but father disagrees – vow doesn't stand

v.5 But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the Lord will release her because her father has forbidden her.

 

v.6,7 Vow made before marriage, is husband agrees, it stands

v.6 “If she marries after she makes a vow or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself

v.7 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand.

 

v.8 As above but husband disagrees vow doesn't stand

v.8 But if her husband forbids her when he hears about it, he nullifies the vow that obligates her or the rash promise by which she obligates herself, and the Lord will release her.

 

[Notes: Intriguingly this only applies to girls who made vows and the simple summary is the vow only stands if the father or subsequent husband ratify it. Her words are not set in concrete, we might say today; the Lord will not hold her to it.]

 

 

v.9-15 After Marriage Vows

 

v.9 Vow after marriage still stands

v.9 “Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her.

 

v.10,11 Married woman vows and husband consents, vow stands

v.10 “If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath

v.11 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her and does not forbid her, then all her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand.

 

v.12 As above but husband disagrees, vow does not stand

v.12 But if her husband nullifies them when he hears about them, then none of the vows or pledges that came from her lips will stand. Her husband has nullified them, and the Lord will release her.

 

v.13-15 Husband must live with his decisions

v.13 Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself.

v.14 But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them.

v.15 If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he must bear the consequences of her wrongdoing.”

 

[Notes: Again the same thing applies, the vows of a married woman are only valid if the husband ratifies it. Thinking behind this may be that women tend to be more emotional than men and might get carried away by what they vow. The role of the husband thus protects her from negative outcomes.]

  

 

v.16 Summary

 

v.16 These are the regulations the Lord gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and his young daughter still living at home.

 

[Notes: It is recognised that vows made by one of a family or marriage have consequences and thus there need to be safeguards.]

    

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 31