Leviticus Chapter 27 Laws Regarding Vows

Jan 7, 2015  |  Leviticus, Old Testament  |  No Comments

God Provides Laws Regarding Vows

When I first read this chapter, I was very confused by it.  It seemed like it didn’t fit the rest of the laws.  In reality, it shows how God anticipated our unfaithfulness and, in His grace, provided a way out when we could not keep a vow we had made to Him. Reading and understanding this chapter also helps clarify Jesus’ discussion of vows in the sermon on the mount. There are some vows that are irrevocable, however, and these cannot be redeemed.

Valuation of People Vowed to the LORD

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The implication of the valuations is that people vowed to the LORD may someday be released from the vow, i.e. redeemed. The cost of redemption is based on the valuation and the valuation is based on the persons age, sex and financial condition.

Valuation of Animals Vowed to the LORD

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If an animal is offered as a sacrifice, it is not to be redeemed, although it can be exchanged for an equal clean animal.  An unclean animal is valued and, if redeemed, is redeemed at 20% over it’s valuation.  The exception to this are the firstborn animals, who irrevocably belong to the LORD.

Valuation of a House Dedicated to the LORD

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If a house is dedicated to the LORD, it is assessed by the priest as good or bad.  If the person who dedicated it wishes to redeem it, he will pay 20% more than the valuation.

Dedicating Land to the LORD

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It is not surprising that the rules around land are more complicated, due to God’s laws surrounding the year of Jubilee.  The valuation is made both on the seed and the time until the next year of Jubilee.  The land must be redeemed before the year of Jubilee or it will revert to the person from whom it was purchased or become a permanent gift to the LORD and part of the priestly allotment of land.

Laws Governing What is Holy to the LORD

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How fitting that the book of Leviticus ends with the laws describing what is set apart to the LORD, and thus, not redeemable.  It starts with a discussion of first born animals – since bringing the people out of Egypt, these already belong to the LORD.  Tithes are also not redeemable as they already belong irrevocably to the LORD.  Finally, anything devoted or consecrated unconditionally to the LORD may be redeemed.  This includes someone unconditionally sentenced to death.

Be careful what you promise to God.  What we take casually, He takes seriously.

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