Scriptures

Numbers 30

Introduction

‘Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the LORD commands: 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. “When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the LORD or obligates herself by a pledge 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. 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. “If she marries after she makes a vow or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. 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. “Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her. “If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath 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. 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. Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself. 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. If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he must bear the consequences of her wrongdoing.” 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.’ Numbers 30:1-16

Vows

In this chapter we read that Lord has commands for those men or women who made a vow. Whenever anyone spoke the words of the vow, they were binding on them as a self-imposed law, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5.

Notice there were no written contracts to be made, this is because people are supposed to be as good as their word, Psalms 15:4 / Matthew 5:34-37 / James 5:12.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The regulations respecting vows appropriately follow those given respecting sacrifices, since a large proportion of vows would always relate to the presentation of such offerings. Rules had already been given Leviticus 27:1-10 for the estimation of things vowed to God.’

However, any woman who made a vow had to be certified by the man to whom she was responsible. As we read there were different vows made in this context, one is in reference to general vows and the other which was more specific as the vow of a Nazarite, Numbers 6.

If a young woman was still living with her father, then her vow had to have the approval of her father. If a woman was under a vow at the time of her marriage, then her husband had the authority to either ratify or annul the vow.

If a woman made a vow after she was married, then the husband could either allow or nullify the vow, however, if the husband didn’t allow the vow, then she wasn’t obligated to keep it before the Lord.

Wade, in his commentary, says the following.

‘There are two kinds of vows which are particularly under consideration in this chapter. They are a. promises to give or to dedicate something to Jehovah, and b. pledges to practice some form of abstinence. It is easy to see the wisdom of such legislation. A dependent minor daughter might make a foolish and irresponsible vow to give vast sums of money to some project, such a vow, for some reason not being disallowed, and then the bridegroom marrying her would be saddled with an immense obligation unjustly. Here there was certified to him the right of annulment. The husband had an absolute right to disallow and dissolve such obligations.’

Those women who were either divorced or widowed had made a vow and had no man the vows of those who had no man to whom account was to be given were based on the laws that applied to men in the making of their vows.

Carson, in his commentary, summarises the text as follows.

1. A young woman in her father’s house, Numbers 30:3-5.

2. A married woman who vowed while she was still single, Numbers 30:6-8.

3. A widow or divorced person, Numbers 30:9.

4. That of a wife in her husband’s house, Numbers 30:10-15.

To us it also seems that a fifth regulation appears in Numbers 30:1 and Numbers 30:2, namely, that all people are commanded by Almighty God to keep their word.

Note the attestation in Numbers 30:16 that Jehovah himself is the author of the legislation given. Apparently, Moses attached this to each entry in ‘the book’ which contained all of it.

Go To Numbers 31

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

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