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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Leviticus 27

This chapter has to do with the rights of God to His people. He will make His people His property, no matter how far they have distracted. In this chapter we see the path by which God will realize this.

The question is not what God will do if someone is unfaithful, but what He will do if someone wants to be faithful and makes a vow about it before the LORD. Here we find the two principles, that of grace and that of responsibility. Grace in the sense that God can work dedication in believers, but also responsibility that the believer in that dedication acts according to the commandments of God. If there is dedication, God sets the standard for it, not man. The standard is the measure of the sanctuary (Lev 27:25).

The making of vows, like the sacrifices, is very old (Gen 28:20; Job 22:27). A vow can exist in the promise to give something to God. Someone can also, for His glory, renounce something that he is permitted to possess. The idea that plays a role in making a vow is that one does something that is pleasing to Him and that one then becomes part of His special grace. It may also be the intention, in a special case in which the help of God is urgently needed, to secure this help, by solemnly committing oneself to a service in advance.

In the provisions of the law, we can distinguish two aspects with regard to vows:
1. He who does not make vows does not sin; if anyone promised anything to God, he must keep that vow (Deu 23:22-23).
2. Nothing may be promised to the LORD that belongs to Him already, or by which His order sanctified by the law is broken, or to which sin and shame cling (Lev 27:26; Num 30:3-4; Deu 23:18). Also, nothing less in value than what was actually promised to Him may be brought as payment of the vow. The reverse is also not allowed (Lev 27:10).

Vows can consist of either the promise of a dedication to God, or a withdrawal from something. In both cases it is a vow of which the purpose is to honor Him. The law distinguishes the two cases in vows of dedication and vows of abstinence. A vow of abstinence we can see in the Nazarite vow of Numbers 6 (Num 6:1-7). In our chapter it is only about vows of dedication.

What can be dedicated to the LORD is mentioned:
1. a human being (Lev 27:2-8),
2. an animal (Lev 27:9-13),
3. a house (Lev 27:14-15),
4. a piece of land (Lev 27:16-25).

A vow can be made voluntarily, but not made undone voluntarily. A person who makes a vow and wants to be released from the obligation of it must be valued by the priest. It is important whether someone is fully aware of what he promised or whether he has made his promise a little hastily. In the latter case, he can be relieved from his promise. He can redeem his promise and for that he must be valued.

Hasty vows are often warned of (Ecc 5:4-5; Deu 23:21-23; Pro 20:25). Israel has made such a promise. At Sinai they promised three times: We will do all that the LORD has spoken (Exo 19:8; Exo 24:3; 7). The LORD has not demanded such a promise. They have not been able to fulfill that promise. A price has to be paid to relieve them. That is what the Lord Jesus did.

Verses 1-8

Dedication of Persons


A person who vows usually does so in case of illness or imminent danger. On condition of healing or deliverance, such a man promises then to dedicate himself, or his wife, or his child, or his slave to the LORD, as a special property.

In general, all in Israel are the property of the LORD (Exo 19:5). But whosoever promised himself so to the LORD, or was promised to Him by his parents or master, became therefore a serf of the sanctuary. Such a person no longer has anything to do with social life, but must serve in the tent of meeting whenever he has the opportunity to do so.

Someone who has become the property of the LORD in this special way can redeem himself or be redeemed. The money from the redemption benefits in his place the service of the sanctuary (2Kgs 12:4). In determining the price of the value at which he can redeem himself or has been redeemed, account shall be taken of age, sex and property. Most pays he who is in the power of his life.

Age | Value
from one month to 5 years | 5 shekels
from 5 years to 20 years | 20 shekels
from 20 years to 60 years | 50 shekels
over 60 years | 15 shekels

In Exodus 30 there is a similar amount for every numbered one of twenty years and older (Exo 30:11-16). That has to do with reconciliation. The price paid by the Lord Jesus for the reconciliation is the same for every member of the church: the price of His blood. The development of spiritual life that every believer possesses, is different and the measure of dedication is different. There are the little children, or babies, in the faith, young people in the faith, and fathers in the faith (1Jn 2:12-14).

The value of each person’s life according to his spiritual development is determined by our Priest, the Lord Jesus. If we judge and value each other, we can be very wrong. The Lord is not. He is entitled to our whole person and everything we have. The Macedonians understood this principle and “first gave themselves to the Lord” (2Cor 8:5).

The fact that the estimation for those over sixty years falls so dramatically from fifty to fifteen shekels may have something to do with a relapse in the spiritual life. As one gets older, there is a danger that everything is no longer experienced as before. Isaac became blind. But that’s not how it should be. Moses was one hundred and twenty and Caleb eighty-five years old, but the power of their spiritual life was not diminished.

The difference between man and woman also has a spiritual meaning. The female speaks of the position, the male represents the force with which that position is realized. It is one thing to know that you are in Christ, a child of God, that is one’s position; it is something else to live according to that, that is the realization. The Lord also knows how to value us on this. It may be that we know what we are, but we don’t show much of it in practice.

Samuel is one who has been ordained by his mother to the LORD from birth. For him no estimate needs to be paid, because his mother meets the requirements (1Sam 1:11; 28).

According to His age, the Lord Jesus must be estimated at fifty shekels. However, the estimate on which He is valued is only thirty silver pieces (Zec 11:12-13). But that is a valuation by man. God has valued Him on His true value and given Him the place of glory at His right hand.

Whoever cannot pay his estimate (Lev 27:8), whoever feels his shortage, can go to the priest, the Lord Jesus. He knows perfectly what value we have for Him. This is beautifully expressed in the parables of the talents (Mt 25:14-30) and the pounds (Lk 19:11-27).

There is a difference between the gift someone has, the talents, and the faithfulness with which the gift is used, the pounds. The gift is different, which is expressed in the parable of the talents, where the slaves are given a different number of talents. The pound is the same for everyone, what we see in the parable of the pounds, where every slave gets one pound.

Someone who has a small gift, but who is faithful in its exercise, is valued higher than someone who has a large gift, but is unfaithful in the exercise thereof. The pursuit of the greatest gift of grace is a task for all of us (1Cor 12:31a). Someone who is faithful, gets more entrusted. Ability the Lord gives; acting with them to His honor, dedicating ourselves to them, is our responsibility.

Verses 9-13

Dedication of Animals


Once an offering is offered to God, there is no way back. This speaks of the Lord Jesus. He has fulfilled His vow (Heb 10:7). Men have estimated him at thirty pieces of silver. That price was rejected by God (Zec 11:13).

An unclean animal may not be offered as an offering, but it can be dedicated to the LORD for another purpose, for example as a beast of burden. The quality of the animal must be judged by the priest. If it is to be redeemed again, it must be redeemed for the estimated price, which is increased by 20%. Every dedication to Him is greater for Him than we think.

Verses 14-15

Consecration of a House


In Leviticus 14, a house can be leprous, which is negative. Here it can be consecrated to God, which is positive. The ordination of a house can be applied in the first place to the tabernacle, the house of God. That is perfectly holy for the LORD. In this it is where God dwells with His people, and His people may dwell with Him, if they are devoted to Him. The value that the priest determines for it is fixed.

In the application to the church as the house of God we can say that for the Lord Jesus the value of God’s house is fixed. He paid the full price. He redeemed the house, the church, by His death. He has also added the fifth part, that is to say that in His death He glorified God at the highest level.

The house can also be applied to the house of Israel. The LORD can no longer dwell there, but it will be consecrated again for Him. This will happen on the basis of the same work that the Lord Jesus did to consecrate the New Testament house, the church, to God.

A house we also can see as a picture of a local church. A local church may be collectively dedicated to God. Then the meetings and brotherly living together are directed toward the honor of God. Unfortunately, due to all kinds of travail, the local church is often no longer focused on the Lord Jesus as a whole. Everyone is too busy with their own activities. Then there is the Lord Jesus Who has set and paid the price and also the fifth part extra. Because of this we can now live in it and enjoy fellowship with God, with the Lord Jesus and with each other.

Verses 16-24

Consecration of a Part of the Field


What the field yields is for the LORD. We can compare the field with our lives. Does our life, everything we sow in it, bear fruit for Him? This has nothing to do with a great or small gift, but with our daily lives. Everyone has the opportunity to serve Him in it.

Verse 25

The Holy Shekel


The norm, by which everything is judged, is the holy shekel, the shekel of the sanctuary, the place where God dwells. He determines the value of everything and that should guide us in our valuation of everything.

Verses 26-27

Redemption of a Firstborn Among Animals


The firstborn of animals belongs to the LORD anyway, without a vow (Exo 13:2). It is not just a voluntary matter. Consecration is also an obligation. We are not our own, we are “bought for a price” and by virtue of that are obliged to glorify God (1Cor 6:20).

Visiting the meetings may be voluntary, but is not a non-binding matter. We are exhorted not to forsake our own assembling together (Heb 10:25). The same goes for worship: “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers” (Jn 4:23). But then follows: “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24).

Verses 28-29

What Shall Not Be Redeemed


What is devoted to destruction belongs to the LORD (Jos 6:24; 1Sam 15:3-9). The Lord Jesus was under the curse in the hours when He was made sin on the cross. One application may be that items that have been a trap for us are destroyed by us and are not offered for sale to others (cf. Acts 19:19).

Verses 30-33

All the Tithe Are for the LORD


Giving the tithes means acknowledging the sovereign rights of God over all our possessions. He is entitled to the first and the best. If we do, He rewards it (Mal 3:10).

Verse 34

Closing


This book on the sanctuary concludes with consecration of our personal and communal lives, how we can live dedicated lives. It is the answer to the question that has arisen in the course of this book: “Lord, how do You want us to live in fellowship with You and serve You?’ Therefore, this chapter has been added to the book and closes it again with a reference to “the commandments which the LORD commanded Moses for the Israelites at Mount Sinai”. This reference to the commandments of the LORD is God’s answer to the question asked.

When God’s commandments govern our hearts, we will listen to the exhortation from the heart: “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since [we have] a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near” (Heb 10:19-22).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 27". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/leviticus-27.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.