Numbers 30:13, 14 - Laws Concerning Vows Made by Women.
Num.30:13, 14: Laws Concerning Vows Made by Women.
Numbers 30:13-14 (NLT) So her husband may either confirm or
nullify any vows or pledges she makes to deny herself. 14 But if he does
not object on the day he hears of it, then he is agreeing to all her
vows and pledges.
Numbers 30:13-14 (CWR) Her husband can accept or reject any vow
by which she has obligated herself to the Lord. 14 If he says
nothing to her about her vow the day after he hears about it, his
silence indicates that he has accepted the vow she made to the Lord.
Numbers 30:13-14 (TLB) So her husband may either confirm or
nullify her vow, 14 but if he says nothing for a day, then he has
already agreed to it.
1ff. Vows are not to be broken.
3ff. The exception of a maid's vow.
6ff. Of a wife's.
9ff. Of a widow's, or her that is divorced. SDA Commentary]
30:1-16 The principal OT passage on vows (see Dt 23:21-23). A
vow is not to be made rashly (cf. Ecc 5:1-7), and a vow to the Lord
must be kept. [NIV SB]
30:1-16 This chapter is a significant OT text on the subject of
the vow (see Deut 23:21-23). The principal issue is this: A vow is
not to be made rashly (see Eccl 5:1-7), but a vow to the Lord must
be kept. [Expositors Bible Commentary]
30:1-16 This chapter on vows elaborates on the voluntary and
spontaneous worship of the Lord mentioned in 29:39 (cf. Acts 18:18; 21:23),
and supplements instructions on vows given elsewhere (Lev 27:28, 29;
Num 6:1-21; Deut 23:21-23). This passage concerns vows made by
women. The vow of Hannah is an example (1 Sam 1:9-11). Vows could be
positive, promising to give something to the Lord, or negative, promising
to abstain from something. Three significant implications of this
chapter are that (1) vows to the Lord were not to be taken lightly, and
so were not to be made rashly; (2) women as well as men were
involved in individual worship in Israel; and (3) a woman in Israel was
under the spiritual authority of her father while at home (vv. 3-5) or
her husband if she had one (vv. 6-8, 10-15; cf. 1 Cor 11:3; Eph
5:22-31). The husband could nullify the vow of his betrothed wife at the
time it was made. If he accepted her vow, it remained in force. This
could be done even before their marriage was consummated. [Believer's
30:1-16 Vows Made by Women. Unlike the enduring binding force of
vows or pledges made by men, those made by women are subject to
nullification by a father or a husband. If the responsible male is silent,
however, the vow is binding, as is the vow or pledge made by a widowed or
divorced woman. [Cambridge Annotated SB]
2. A vow. A pledge or promise to give something to God: a
promise of personal service, as by Jacob at Bethel (Gen. 28:20; 31:13),
Hannah's consecration of her son (1 Sam. 1:11), Jephthah's pledge
concerning his daughter (Judges 11:30, 39).
A bond. An obligation, such as abstinence from wine, food, etc.
(see 1 Sam. 14:24; Ps. 132:3; Acts 23:21). The Hebrew verb is used
frequently with the meaning "to bind," "to imprison," "to harness."
Not break his word. Literally, "not untie his pledged word," in
the sense of "to loosen," "to set free from obligation," "to make
lawful," "to profane." To refrain from carrying out one's solemn promises
to God is an act of base ingratitude and sinful neglect (Deut.
23:21; Eccl. 5:4; Matt. 5:33). It is better that a man make no vow than
to promise and not carry it out (Eccl. 5:2-5). [SDA Commentary]
2. A vow to God is a voluntary commitment to do something that
pleases Him or to abstain from certain practices to demonstrate devotion
to Him. A vivid example of a vow in the Old Testament is the
Nazirite vow (6:1-21). Scripture admonishes the believer against making
rash vows, since they are made before God, the righteous and holy
Judge (Eccl. 5:4). The reason for the warning is that a vow made to
Him is binding and must be fulfilled. The Hebrew word can also refer
to a thank offering (Deut. 12:6), as the psalmists often speak of
paying their vows as an act of praise to God (Ps. 66:13; 116:14).
1-15. Vows are commitments to God to perform some duty or
abstain from some activity. Instruction is given concerning an unmarried
daughter living at home and a married woman living with her husband. In
each case the final authority of the male is affirmed here. He had
legal responsibility for the home and could either agree with or set
aside the vow made by his daughter or wife. However, he had to do it
as soon as he heard about it, or his silence was considered to be
consent. Only if a woman was living alone as a widow or divorcee could
she be the final legal authority in her own household as a woman.
13 The expression "to afflict her soul" seems to indicate that
the case in which a husband or father might negate a wife's or
daughter's vow was when they believed it might bring her harm. [Believer's
14. Hold his peace. His silence, when he was fully aware of what
she was doing, established and confirmed her vows. [SDA Commentary]
1, 2 The key issue is clear: one who makes a vow shall not break
his word. Vows that are made to the Lord must be carried out (see
Deut. 23:21-23; Eccl. 5:1-7). [Nelson SB]
2 A man was unconditionally bound by any vow he made. [Ryrie SB]
1, 2 No man can be bound by his own promise to do what he is
already, by the Divine precept, forbidden to do. In other matters the
command is, that he shall not break his words, through he may change his
mind. [Matthew Henry Commentary Concise]
6-8 The vows of a (newly) married woman: The vow of a married
woman might be nullified by her husband. The comparison of this
section with vv. 10-15 suggests that these verses relate to the
instances of young couples who have recently married, as these are cases
where the woman brings a vow into her marriage that may be heavily
restrictive on her husband. Again, we may presume that there is something
protective in this for the woman (she has an escape clause) as well as for
the husband (who would have to pay if the vow was not fulfilled).
The woman in this case is treated like a minor child, not having
independent authority to enter into a vow or an obligation on her own right.
She was either under her father's home or under her husband's home.
It is significant that v. 6 suggests that the woman might have
made a vow and then subsequently have become married. That she might
be released from such a vow is greatly liberating both to her and
to her husband. He might not want to take on a obligation that she
has entered into before they were married. This is a protective
clause. It also works for her in that she might have been pressured into
making a vow that was not at all in her best interests to keep. This
provision frees her from unnecessary complications to her life as well. In
both the case of the married woman and the woman who lives with her
father, the vows may be released by another, but only if he acts
immediately on the information he has.
10-15 The vows of a married woman: This paragraph illustrates
the complications that come in the taking of vows within the
woman-man relationship. In contrast to vv. 6-8, which deal with young
couples in the early stages of their marriage, vv. 10-15 deal more with
those who have been married for a while. One gains the impression that
these several complications may have come much as the case of the
daughters of Zelophehad (27:1-11). That is, one case after another
presented itself; the resulting chapter is the final codification. We may
well presume that in the centuries leading up to the NT, the legal
decisions on the subject of vows became even more complex. The words of
the Lord Jesus to avoid the complications of these oaths (Matt
5:33-37) are quite liberating. For after a while serious language about
holy things would be used in the most trivializing manner possible.
So Jesus forswore oaths and vows altogether for his young
disciples. He urged them to let their words speak for themselves, apart
from the calling of heaven and earth to witness. Actually, this is
great grace on his part. [Expositors Bible Commentary]
The power of words. God takes our promises and pledges
seriously, and so should we (Ps. 50:14; Eccles. 5:4-5). IF we promise God
that we will do something, or not do something, we must keep our
word. We must also recognize that willing and doing are two different
things (Rom. 7:18-25). We need the wisdom of God in making our promises
and the power of God in keeping them (Phil. 2:12-13). Words are
powerful things and must be used carefully. The Quakers say, "Of your
unspoken words, you are the master; of your spoken words, the servant; of
your written words, the slave."
The power of authority. God acknowledges the presence of
authority. A wife's vow may be canceled by her husband and a daughter's vow
by her father. The wife and the daughter should consider this
before making promises to God. Although Moses does not instruct the man
of the house this way, certainly the husband and father would want
to consider the whole family before making any promises to God.
The power of silence. If the father or the husband says nothing,
this is considered to be approval of the vow. Silence can sometimes
be more powerful than words and have much greater consequences.
(See Ps. 141:3.) [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren
Vows were voluntary pledges to give money or something else of
value to the Lord. Once a person uttered such an oath, it was binding
and could not be broken....
Briefly, any man making a vow was bound by it. Married or single
women could also make vows but if, when first hearing of it, a husband
or father wished, he could void the vow.
The passage introduces an important legal principle. If the
husband or father does not say anything when first hearing of a wife or
young daughter's vow, the vow is binding. Silence implies consent.
It's the same today. If you and I fail to speak out concerning
something that is wrong but remain silent, our silence implies consent.
And makes us a party to the wrong. [The 365-Day Devotional