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). 
[Nelson SB] 

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. 
[Disciple SB] 

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