Join me in reading through the Bible in One Year! We will follow a reading plan together and go beyond just reading the Bible, to studying it. We will post about the passage and learn from each other as we grow in our walk with the Lord.
Join me in the pursuit of discernment!
I found it
interesting in a book…scroll I guess…that has gone into many details on
mandatory sacrifices and rituals spends the final chapter on voluntary vows.
More specifically, on the prices for breaking those vows. In this context a vow was a promise to dedicate
someone/something to the temple beyond what was required by the Law in exchange for some good fortune. This
chapter is not a good commentary on mankind's ability to make and keep
The prices to pull
out of a vow were not cheap…but it was possible. As a reference, the average
wage of a worker in biblical times was about a shekelof silver per month.
So an adult male
wanting to be freed from an oath would pay nearly 5 years in wages to the
temple! That would make me think twice before I opened my mouth (Proverbs 17:28).
Additionally. the values specified correspond with the standard rate of a slave
or prisoner (2 Kings 15:20). We can sometimes feel trapped by our own words but
that does have to be the case. If the Law had provisions for redemption, how
much moreso do we in Christ? This does not absolve us of the responsibility to measure our words but we are never bound by destructive promises.
I recalled the story of
Jephthah and his vow to sacrifice the first thing to walk out of his tent when
he returned from a victory (Judges 11:29-40). I had to look up the exact passage but I knew the story. He was a judge in Israel and
appears to have been well off. He could have spared (literally redeemed) his daughter (and himself) from his foolish vow for thirty shekels of silver (Leviticus 27:4)! Ten shekels if she
was between five and twenty years old (Leviticus 27:5)! In this context, the story takes an ominous tone about a foolish man running his mouth and having too much pride to admit his foolishness. We are a fallen people and God knows we will make promises we can't,
and sometimes shouldn't, keep. That is why Jesus counsels us to let our 'yes'
be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no'. Anything beyond that comes from the evil one