“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,”
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make
a singular vow, the person shall be for the Lord by thy estimation.”
the present context means great, difficult, wonderful, special, and
it was singular because it involved the surrender or dedication of
something, e.g., a thing, a valuable animal, or a person to God, the prime
example of this being Hannah’s dedication of her son Samuel, as recorded in
1 Samuel 1:11.
What is in
view here however, is the procedure to be followed when the dedicator
desired to change his mind relative to the dedication of a person, e.g., his
son or daughter. Moses was then to place a monetary value on that dedicated
“And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto
sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after
the shekel of the sanctuary.”
dedicated person were a male between twenty and sixty years old, the
redemption price was fifty shekels of silver, reckoned by most scholars to
have been about 50 month’s wages, “after the shekel of the sanctuary” making
it clear that the value was to be by God’s evaluation, not man’s.
“And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.”
“And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy
estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten
“And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation
shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy
estimation shall be three shekels of silver.”
redemption of the female is generally considered to have been due to the
fact that she was physically unable to do the same heavy work as the male.
“And if it be from sixty years old and above, if it be a male, then thy
estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.”
value here is related to age. At sixty the best of the individual’s working
days were past.
“But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he shall present himself
before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to his ability
that vowed shall the priest value him.”
In this case
the value was to be proportionate to the individual’s financial state.
“And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the Lord, all that
any man giveth of such unto the Lord shall be holy.”
translates this, “But if it is an animal that is vowed to be given to the
Lord as a sacrifice, it must be given.” It could not be redeemed. It is a
type of the Lord Jesus Christ who must die if we were to receive God’s gift
of eternal life.
“He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a
good: and if he shall at all change beast for beast, then it and the
exchange thereof shall be holy.”
Once an animal
was dedicated to the Lord it could not be exchanged for another; and where
such an exchange was attempted, then neither animal could be redeemed: both
belonged to the Lord, and were given to the priest.
“And if it be any unclean beast, of which they do not offer a sacrifice unto
the Lord, then he shall present the beast before the priest:”
“And the priest shall value it, whether it be good or bad: as thou valuest
it, who art the priest, so shall it be.”
“But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof
unto thy estimation.”
The ass was an
unclean animal; and where a man had nothing else to offer, he was to bring
it to the priest for evaluation, following which it seems that he sold it
for the price determined by the priest, and then gave the money, plus an
extra fifth, to the Lord.
animal, which could be redeemed, is a type of the sinner, its redemption
price being a type of the price paid by Lord Jesus Christ for the redemption
of our souls. The extra fifth declares not only the truth that His life was
worth far more than our’s, but that by redemption we have been made precious
“And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the Lord, then the
priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall
estimate it, so shall it stand.”
Where a man
decided to give his house to the Lord he was to have its sale price
determined by the priest, and when it was sold, the money was then to be
given in full to the Lord.
“And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the
fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his.”
If the man
later decided that he wanted to buy back his house he could do so, but only
by paying a fifth more than the price for which he had sold it.
“And if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his
possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an
homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.”
When a man
decided to give part of his land to the Lord, he was to have the priest
evaluate it, its worth being measured by the number of homers of barley seed
required to sow it each year until the year of jubilee, each homer being
worth fifty shekels of silver.
“If he sanctify his field from the year of jubilee, according to thy
estimation it shall stand.”
If the field
was dedicated in the first year of a jubilee period, i.e., a period of fifty
years at the end of which ownership would revert to the seller, the value
would be calculated by the worth of the barley seed needed to sow it each
year, according to the estimate of the priest.
“But if he sanctify his field after the jubilee, then the priest shall
reckon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the
year of the jubilee, and it shall be abated from thy estimation.”
If the field
were sold after the Jubilee its value was to be calculated by the worth of
the corps it would produce in the years remaining until the next jubilee.
In other words, its value would obviously diminish the nearer the time of
sale was to that next jubilee.
“And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he
shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it
shall be assured to him.”
In the event
that the seller later wished to buy back the land, the price he must pay was
to be as calculated above, plus an extra fifth of that same amount.
“And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to
another man, it shall not be redeemed any more.”
If the first
owner didn’t redeem the field within the legislated time, or if within that
time the second owner had sold it to a third party, then it could not be
redeemed any more.
“But the field, when it goeth out in the jubilee, shall be holy unto the
Lord, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest’s.”
jubilee, when the field would normally have reverted to the original owner,
that which had been sold to a third party would not revert, but would
instead become the possession of the priest.
“And if a man sanctify unto the Lord a field which he hath bought, which is
not of the fields of his possession;”
“Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even
unto the year of the jubilee: and he shall give thine estimation in that
day, as a holy thing unto the Lord.”
“In the year of the jubilee the field shall return unto him of whom it was
bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong.”
bought field (which would revert to the original owner in the year of
jubilee): if the purchaser sanctified or dedicated it to the Lord, i.e.,
determined to give to the Lord the cash equivalent of the crops it would
produce in the years until the next jubilee, the priest was the one who was
to make that evaluation so that it would be impartial.
“And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary:
twenty gerahs shall be the shekel.”
the truth that all things were to be done according to God’s standards,
nothing being left to the vagaries of human imagination.
“Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lord’s firstling, no
man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep, it is the Lord’s.”
Man was not
permitted to dedicate to the Lord the firstborn of ox or sheep, because all
such already belonged to Him as Creator.
“And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to
thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not
redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation.”
animal was to be redeemed by giving to God in cash the priest’s estimate of
its worth, plus an additional fifth. If the man refused to redeem it, then
he must sell it: he was not allowed to keep it.
“Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of
all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession,
shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.”
When a man had
promised to give something unto the Lord, whether it was a child, as in the
case of Hannah’s giving of Samuel, or an animal or field, he was not
permitted to keep it. He must either sell it, or redeem it by giving to God
its equivalent worth in money.
“None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall
surely be put to death.”
This is also
translated, “No one devoted, who is to be utterly destroyed from among men,
shall be ransomed; he shall be put to death,” Revised Standard Version;
“No human life that is forfeit can be redeemed; death is the only way,”
Knox; “No one sentenced by the courts to die may pay a fine instead; he
shall surely be put to death,” Taylor.
“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the
fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.”
The tithe was
a tenth, and whether it was the produce of the land or the fruit of the
trees, it was to be given to God in acknowledgement of Him as the Giver.
principle applies today: we should make the same acknowledgement by giving
Him at least the tenth of all we possess, for He is the Giver of all. See
comment on verse 10.
“And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto
the fifth part thereof.”
A man who
wanted to buy back the tithe of grain or fruit could do so by giving in
money its value as estimated by the priest, plus an additional fifth.
“And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever
passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.”
translates this, “Every tenth creature that passes under the counting rod
shall be holy to the Lord; this applies to all tithes of cattle and sheep.”
“He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it:
and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be
holy; it shall not be redeemed.”
translates this, “There shall be no inquiry whether it is good or bad, and
no substitution. If any substitution is made, then both the tithe-animal
and its substitute shall be forfeit as holy: it shall not be redeemed.”
“These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children
of Israel in mount Sinai.”