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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 30

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-2


Verses 1, 2:

This Nu is an expansion of the subject introduced in Le 27:1-13, q.v. God instructed Moses to deliver these statutes to the tribal leaders, with the implication that they were to teach them to the people.

"Vow," neder, from the verb nadar, a positive vow or promise.

"Swear," shabah, "to be or become sworn."

"Oath," shebuah, "swearing," from the verb shabah.

"Bond," issar, esar, a restrictive obligation, always accompanying an oath.

Literally: "bind a bond upon his soul."

"Break," chalal, "pierce, profane, defile, profane."

"Word," dabar, "word," also, "promise, answer, speech, saying, counsel, dealing, et. al."

A man’s word was considered sacred; he must not break it, or treat it as common or profane. For the making of vows, see Ec 5:4-7; Ps 15:4; 50:14.

The principle of honoring one’s vow applies today as surely as it did under the law, Ro 9:30-32.

Verses 3-5

Verses 3-5:

There were three instances in which a vow could be disallowed, all three pertaining to vows made by women.

The first: a vow made by a young, unmarried woman living at home under the authority of her father. She might make a vow and bind herself under an oath. If her father heard this vow and said nothing, the vow was binding upon her; she must fulfill it. However, if he for some reason deemed the vow improper or unwise, he might disallow it and it would not be binding upon her.

The reason for this: the young woman had no property of her own, thus she could not obligate what did not belong to her. Also, her personal services were due her father, and she could not bind them with a vow.

If the father of the young woman did not disallow her vow, the responsibility for fulfilling it fell upon her. If he did disallow the vow, the responsibility was his as the God-appointed authority over his daughter.

Verses 6-8

Verses 6-8:

The second: the case of a married woman who made a vow or bound herself with an oath.

If the woman’s husband heard her vow and said nothing on the day he heard it, the vow was binding upon the woman. But if for some reason he disallowed the vow, it was not binding upon her.

The woman’s vows might have been made while she was unmarried and under the authority of her father. But when she was married and came under the authority of her husband, he had the legal right to disallow any such vow.

"Uttered with her lips," literally, "the rash utterance out of her lips" The husband could repudiate a wife’s vow if he considered it to be a "rash utterance."

God’s structure of authority holds the husband responsible for the well-being of the wife, 1Co 11:3; Eph 5:22-24. This is not the authority of tyranny or forced domination. It is the authority of protection, provision, and love.

Verses 9-16

Verses 9-16:

The third: the case of a widow or a divorcee. If a woman vowed a vow after she became a widow, or was divorced, the vow was binding upon her.

However, if a widow or divorcee had vowed a vow while she was married, the same rule applied as for a wife or a young unmarried daughter. The husband might either confirm the vow by his silence, or make it void by disallowing it. In either case, the responsibility for the vow belonged to the husband (and father), not to the wife or unmarried daughter.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Numbers 30". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/numbers-30.html. 1985.
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