Numbers Chapter 30

Moses, as the first leader of the Israelites, was responsible for establishing the Lord’s laws and statutes for the people. In preparation for their inheritance of the promised land, the Lord gave many instructions on how they were to live. This instruction continues with this short chapter, which reads:

1 And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded.
2 If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth;
4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.
5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.
6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;
7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.
9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
10 And if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath;
11 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
12 But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her.
13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.
15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.
16 These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house.

Any vow or oath made with the Lord, was to be kept. Any vow, oath, or bond, made by a young woman, while living in her father’s house, could be disallowed by her father, at the time he heard it, if he did not accept it. She would not be held accountable to that promise by the Lord. If her father accepted it when he first heard it, the vow was to be kept. The same went for a woman whose husband heard her vow. Any widow or divorced woman, who made a vow, was to keep that vow. If while in her husband’s house, a woman made a vow and her husband accepted it, she was to continue to keep it. If her husband had not accepted it, she was not expected to keep it. When a vow was disallowed, the man bore the iniquity of his wife or daughter.

This may seem a strong thing by our standards today, but I believe that if a man was leading his family in righteousness, he would know by the spirit if a vow was appropriate or not. As the head of his household, he was responsible for the actions of his family. I am grateful that I can make this choice for myself today. I recognize also, that by doing this, the responsibility is mine to be faithful to the promises I make. In ancient times, the father may have been held accountable eternally for the actions of his wife and daughters. Because I have made this choice for myself, I will be held accountable, and I need to be sure I am living up to the things that God expects of me. I am often in awe of how strongly people of long ago felt about the oaths they made. They would not have made promises without expecting to hold to them. I have a prayer in my heart, that more people today, will recognize the gravity of the promises they make to the Lord, because I know that there will be consequences for every promise made.


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