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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 27

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-34

Valuations for things vowed (27:1-34)

People often vowed things to God out of gratitude for his goodness to them, usually in some crisis they had met. If the offering vowed was a person, this person was not to be offered in sacrifice but was to be redeemed, or bought back, by the payment of money to the sanctuary. The amount to be paid was estimated by the priests according to the usefulness of the person offered. The priests were to give special consideration to a poor person who could not pay the amount estimated (27:1-8).
Concerning the vowing of animals to God, if a person vowed a clean animal (that is, an animal eligible for sacrifice), he could not redeem it. He had either to offer the animal in sacrifice or give it to the priests, who could either keep it or sell it. All money from sales went into the sanctuary treasury. If any person, after vowing one thing, tried to offer something else instead, he lost both (9-10).
When a person vowed an unclean animal (that is, an animal not eligible for sacrifice, such as a camel or an ass), he had to give it to the priests, who again could either put it to work or sell it. Alternatively, the person who vowed it could buy it back at an estimated price, but he had to add a fine of one fifth of the animal’s value, because he kept for himself something he had vowed to God (11-13). Similar laws applied in the case of a vowed house (14-15).
Arrangements for a person who vowed land were much the same. If he wished to buy it back, the value depended on the number of years to the year of jubilee, when normally all land would return to the original owner. If the person who vowed the land did not buy it back, or if he sold it after vowing it, it did not return to him in the year of jubilee. It became the permanent property of the sanctuary (16-21). If the land a person vowed was not his originally and was not bought back by him after he vowed it, it returned to the original owner at the year of jubilee (22-25).

Firstlings of clean animals could not be vowed to God, since they were his already (Exodus 13:2). Firstlings of unclean animals could be vowed, then either bought back by the offerer or sold by the priests as in normal cases (26-27). Anything that was devoted to God for destruction could not be vowed, redeemed or sold (28-29).

The tithe (i.e. one tenth) of all produce and animals belonged to God. It could be kept for personal use only by payment of its value to the sanctuary, along with the usual fine (30-34).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Leviticus 27". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/leviticus-27.html. 2005.
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