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Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 30

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This [is] the thing which the LORD hath commanded.

And Moses spake unto the heads. — Because they were in place of judicature, and had power either to bind men to their vows or set them at liberty.

Verse 2

If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

If a man vow a vow unto the Lord. — God is the proper object of a vow. Psalms 76:11 Papists vow to saints, both themselves, as to Francis, Austin, Dominick, …, and other things, as pilgrimages, oblations, … Our Lady, as they call her, of Loretto, hath her churches so stuffed with vowed presents and memories, as they are fain to hang their cloisters and churchyards with them. Sandys’s Relation of West. Relig., sect. 4. This is sacrilege; yea, it is idolatry.

To bind his soul with a bond. — Which none ought to do, but such as (1.) are free, or have the consent of their governors; (2.) Such as have knowledge and judgment to discern of a vow or oath; Ecclesiastes 5:3 ; Ecclesiastes 5:5 (3.) Are conscientious, as Jacob, Hannah, … Not such votaries as Herod, Matthew 14:7 those assassins, Acts 23:14 those idolaters. Jeremiah 44:27

He shall not break his word. — If he do, he will make a great breach in his conscience and crack his comfort exceedingly. "Better not vow than not pay." Ecclesiastes 5:4 It is a sin as bad or worse than perjury, and God takes it heavily at men’s hands. Jeremiah 34:10-11

Verse 4

And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.

And her father shall hold his peace.Qui tacet, consentire videtur, a rule in civil law; silence is a kind of consent.

Then all her vows shall stand. — Provided that she vow, (1,) Such things as are lawful and warrantable by the word; for to vow to do evil is an utter abomination; as Acts 23:14 Deuteronomy 23:18 (2.) Such things as are possible and in her power, either naturally or by the assistance of God’s grace promised to her: such is not the Popish vowing of virginity, since omnes non capiant hoc, all men cannot contain. Their vows of continency breed all manner of incontinency in their clergy.

Verse 5

But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the LORD shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.

But if her father disallow her. — Those that vow monastical obedience renounce all duty to their parents and service to their country. Parents are our Yεοι εφεστιοι , as a heathen said, our household gods, as it were; and have power to disannul or ratify the vows of their children: but the Papists are true heirs to the Pharisees, who taught not to honour father or mother, Matthew 15:6 and so do "make the commandment of God of none effect by their tradition." "Full well" have they done it. Mark 7:9 But what cannot they do? The Pope, saith Cardinal Bellarmine, Lib. iv., De Pontif. Rom. potest de iniustitia facere iustitiam, ex nihilo aliquid, ex virtute vitium; he can make righteousness of unrighteousness, something of nothing, vice of virtue; and it seems so indeed by his practice. For when the cardinals meet to choose a Pope, they make a vow, whosoever is chosen, he shall swear to such articles as they make. And Sleidan saith, Sleidan, Com. the Pope is no sooner chosen, but he breaks them all, and checks their insolencies, as if they went about to limit his power, to whom all power is given both in heaven and earth.

Verse 6

And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;

And if she had at all a husband. — Hannah’s vow 1 Samuel 1:11 was made either by the consent of her husband, or else by peculiar instinct from God.

Verse 13

Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.

To afflict her soul. — This is one instance of what she may vow. She may curb wanton flesh from the use of things lawful in themselves, but harmful to her, and that by a vow, as did the Rechabites, Jeremiah 35:8-10 which the devil seeing will despair; for vows are as exorcisms to allay our rebellious spirits, and as cords to hamper our treacherous hearts, when they would slip the collar, and decline the yoke. In short, a man may lawfully vow a thing that is either a part of God’s worship - as to fast once a month before the sacrament, to pray so many times a day, … - or a furtherance thereof, - as to found a lecture, build a college, school, almshouse, give so much weekly to the poor, …

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 30". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/numbers-30.html. 1865-1868.
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