Numbers 30

CHAPTER XXX

The law concerning vows of men, 1, 2.

Of women under age, and in what cases the father may annul

them, 3-5.

The vows of a wife, and in what cases the husband may annul

them, 6-8.

The vows of a widow, or divorced woman, in what cases they may

be considered either as confirmed or annulled, 9-15.

Recapitulation of these ordinances, 16.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXX

Verse 2. If a man vow a vow] A vow is a religious promise

made to God. Vows were of several kinds:-

1. Of abstinence or humiliation, see ver.Nu 30:13;

2. Of the Nazarite, see Nu 6:1-21;

3. Of giving certain things or sacrifices to the Lord, Le 7:16;

4. Of alms given to the poor, see De 23:21.

The law in this chapter must have been very useful, as it both

prevented and annulled rash vows, and provided a proper sanction

for the support and performance of those that were rationally and

piously made. Besides, this law must have acted as a great

preventive of lying and hypocrisy. If a vow was properly made, a

man or woman was bound, under penalty of the displeasure of God,

to fulfil it.

Verse 3. In her youth] That is, say the rabbins, under twelve

years of age; and under thirteen in case of a young man. Young

persons of this age were considered to be under the authority of

their parents, and had consequently no power to vow away the

property of another. A married woman was in the same

circumstances, because she was under the authority of her husband.

If however the parents or the husband heard of the vow, and

objected to it in the same day in which they heard of it,

(Nu 30:5,) then the vow was annulled; or, if having heard of

it, they held their peace, this was considered a ratification of

the vow.

A rash vow was never to be kept; "for," says Philo, and common

sense and justice say the same, "he who commits an unjust action

because of his vow adds one crime to another, 1. By making an

unlawful vow; 2. By doing an unlawful action."

Verse 12. Concerning the bond of her soul] Her life is at

stake if she fulfil not the obligation under which she has laid

herself.

Verse 16. These are the statutes] It is very probable that

this law, like that concerning the succession of daughters,

(Nu 27:1-11,) rose from the exigency of some particular case

that had just then occurred.

Making vows, in almost any case, is a dangerous business; they

seldom do any good, and often much evil. He who does not feel

himself bound to do what is fit, right, and just, from the

standing testimony of God's word, is not likely to do it from any

obligation he may lay upon his own conscience. If God's word lack

weight with him, his own will prove lighter than vanity. Every

man who professes the Christian religion is under the most solemn

obligation to devote body, soul, and spirit to God, not only to

the utmost extent of his powers, but also as long as he exists.

Being baptized, and receiving the sacrament of the Lord's Supper,

are additional ratifications of the great, general, Christian vow;

but every true follower of Christ should always remember, and

frequently renew, his covenant with God.

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