Laws About Vows
27 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, If anyone makes a special vow to the LORD involving the valuation of persons, then the valuation of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. If the person is a female, the valuation shall be thirty shekels. If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, the valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels. If the person is from a month old up to five years old, the valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female the valuation shall be three shekels of silver. And if the person is sixty years old or over, then the valuation for a male shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels. And if someone is too poor to pay the valuation, then he shall be made to stand before the priest, and the priest shall value him; the priest shall value him according to what the vower can afford.
“If the vow is an animal that may be offered as an offering to the LORD, all of it that he gives to the LORD is holy. He shall not exchange it or make a substitute for it, good for bad, or bad for good; and if he does in fact substitute one animal for another, then both it and the substitute shall be holy. And if it is any unclean animal that may not be offered as an offering to the LORD, then he shall stand the animal before the priest, and the priest shall value it as either good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall be. But if he wishes to redeem it, he shall add a fifth to the valuation.
“When a man dedicates his house as a holy gift to the LORD, the priest shall value it as either good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand. And if the donor wishes to redeem his house, he shall add a fifth to the valuation price, and it shall be his.
“If a man dedicates to the LORD part of the land that is his possession, then the valuation shall be in proportion to its seed. A homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. If he dedicates his field from the year of jubilee, the valuation shall stand, but if he dedicates his field after the jubilee, then the priest shall calculate the price according to the years that remain until the year of jubilee, and a deduction shall be made from the valuation. And if he who dedicates the field wishes to redeem it, then he shall add a fifth to its valuation price, and it shall remain his. But if he does not wish to redeem the field, or if he has sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed anymore. But the field, when it is released in the jubilee, shall be a holy gift to the LORD, like a field that has been devoted. The priest shall be in possession of it. If he dedicates to the LORD a field that he has bought, which is not a part of his possession, then the priest shall calculate the amount of the valuation for it up to the year of jubilee, and the man shall give the valuation on that day as a holy gift to the LORD. In the year of jubilee the field shall return to him from whom it was bought, to whom the land belongs as a possession. Every valuation shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall make a shekel.
“But a firstborn of animals, which as a firstborn belongs to the LORD, no man may dedicate; whether ox or sheep, it is the LORD’s. And if it is an unclean animal, then he shall buy it back at the valuation, and add a fifth to it; or, if it is not redeemed, it shall be sold at the valuation.
“But no devoted thing that a man devotes to the LORD, of anything that he has, whether man or beast, or of his inherited field, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to the LORD. No one devoted, who is to be devoted for destruction from mankind, shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death.
“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the LORD. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”
These are the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.
Leviticus 27 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The book of Leviticus has been an eye-opener. Often avoided by many as it’s law after law, it’s been refreshing to dig in and consider the reasons God gave the instructions to the people and how Jesus reiterated so much of what the Law’s purpose was. Ultimately, these laws were to give the people who huddled at the foot of Mount Sinai a deeper understanding of God’s nature and character.
The reality from this book to the here and now – God has not changed. The commands He gives are for purpose and there is deep reason behind.
As the last chapter closes God speaks toward their giving back and dedicating specific things to Him. They were to bring the firstfruits during harvest time, firstborn animal, first son, tithe. Within this specter, many wanted to dedicate themselves or another family member, house, or field. These vows, though honorable, God gave pause to. He took these vows and dedications seriously and laid out the costs to renege on your word.
The takeaway is God takes our promises seriously. Even if our vows in giving brings about a hardship in life or for a season, He expects us to fulfill our vow. Giving has always been and always will be a heart issue. It’s outward actions based on our inward thinking. But we must not just relegate this thinking to money and things. He takes our vows seriously about our personal commitment to Him and His Son.
When you think about all aspects of your commitment to Jesus – are you living in the vows you’ve made? Are you standing with unwavering thought that no matter what comes you will continue on, not stepping back because things didn’t turn out as you expected or unexpected hardship came your way?
Leviticus 27 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The New International Commentary (Old Testament) gives a clear summary of this chapter…
The custom of making vows and tithing is simply assumed in the NT (see Ac 18:18; Act 21:23; Mat 23:23) as it is in Leviticus 27. But underlying these Levitical laws, we noted a concern that a man should keep his vows; he should not rashly promise to give something to God in the heat of the moment and then later, when he had cooled down, retract his promise. Changes of mind are penalized by a 20 percent surcharge on the vow. The NT is similarly concerned that men should keep their word: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” (Mat 5:33-37; Mat 23:16-22; 2Co 1:17-20; Jas 5:12).New International Commentary – Old Testament
It may seem strange but it is fitting that the book of Leviticus ends with vows. A person who truly follows God will keep good on their Word to follow Him and become a slave of Jesus Christ. This chapter is a small example of how the entire book of Leviticus emphasizes living a holy life. It is much more than just checking a few boxes. It requires a total commitment to abiding in Jesus. As Chapter 27 states, it requires giving your life, your family, and your possessions completely over to Him.