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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Leviticus 27

 

 

Verses 1-34

THE PERSONAL VOW (vv. 1-8)

This was not a matter of a law requiring anything, but of a voluntary vow made to God. Though it was not required, yet when the vow was made, then it was absolutely required to be kept. If one were to consecrate to the Lord one of his family, the value of this was estimated in currency. A male from 20 to 60 years of age was estimated at 50 shekels of silver (v. 3). A female of the same age was valued at 30 shekels; a boy between 5 and 20 years was 20 shekels, and a girl of that age 10 shekels (v. 5). A little boy, from 1 month to 5 years was valued at 5 shekels and a little girls 3 shekels (v. 6). For a higher age, 60 years and older, the valuation for a male was 15 shekels and for a female 10 shekels (v. 7).

This was law. Israel had vowed to do all that the Lord commanded (Exodus 19:8; Exodus 24:2; Exodus 24:7). God held them to it, but they did not keep this vow. Every individual therefore had incurred a debt they have never paid, nor can pay. Their condition for that reason is hopeless. Only God's grace can meet it, — grace that came in the person of the Son of God, but which Israel then refused. Only when their minds are changed will they receive such grace.

Because of man's proven unfaithfulness — proven by Israel under law, — the Lord Jesus warned people not to vow at all (Matthew 5:33-37). In other words, we are not to trust ourselves. Our trust must be only in the Lord, whose word can never fail.

Verse 8 makes one exception in the case of valuation. If one was too poor to pay, the priest was allowed to lower the valuation to accommodate the person's poverty. This is not absolute law, but law tempered by mercy, which does show, even at that time, that God is a God who delights in mercy.

A DEVOTED SACRIFICE (vv. 9-13)

Next we have the question of animals given to the Lord. All that were given as sacrifices were holy: once given there could be no change of mind (v. 9). No substitute was allowed in any case. If one decided to exchange it for another, both animals would be forfeit and holy (v. 10).

If an unclean animal was devoted to the Lord, therefore one not qualified as a sacrifice, the priest would set a value on the animal, and if it was to be redeemed, then one-fifth was to be added to the valuation, and it could be redeemed (vv. 11-13). In other words, if anything was given to God, God must gain from it, for His glory is to be supremely recognized. Thus, in the sacrifice of Christ, God has been infinitely glorified. The gain was His. Yet, when God gains, we shall gain too, as is wonderfully true in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.

A HOUSE SANCTIFIED (vv. 14-15)

There is again a higher significance in this case than simply the matter of a person's house being set apart for the Lord. This was true of the temple in Israel: being sanctified, it was God's property, and the Lord called it “My Father's house” (John 2:16). In the epistles of the New Testament, however, the house of God is no longer a material building, but a house composed of all believers, “a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). Every believer is a stone — a living stone — in that building, a house exclusively for God, a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). Again, God is to gain by this house being sanctified for Him.

Another principle is introduced in the case of one desiring to redeem his house. If so, one-fifth was to be added to its estimated worth (v. 15). The Lord Jesus will yet redeem the house of Israel by virtue of His sacrifice already accomplished, which has more than paid for the value of the house: therefore it can be said, “it shall be His.”

A FIELD SANCTIFIED (vv. 17-25)

If a field was devoted to the Lord, its value would be estimated according to the value of the seed that could be planted in it (v. 16). This tells us that the crop was more important than the field. Typically, “the field is the world” (Matthew 13:38), and the seed speaks of the word of God (Mark 4:14) which produces fruit in believers in the world, who are more important than merely the literal earth. The world today has been devoted to God for judgment, though the day of Jubilee will bring a wonderful liberation at the coming of the Lord Jesus in power and glory. The judgment of the world will issue then in its liberation from bondage.

If the first owner of the field wanted to redeem it, again he must add the fifth part to its valuation. So also, the redemption of the world requires the price the Lord Jesus has already paid in His marvelous sacrifice of Calvary, which is greater than the value of the world. Today the world has been purchased (Matthew 13:44), not yet been redeemed, though all believers have been redeemed; and the world itself will be redeemed when the Lord takes His great power and reigns over all (Romans 8:21).

The case of one who does not want to redeem his field, or of his selling the field to another man, is added in verse 20. If this were so, then the field, when released in the Jubilee, would be sanctified to the Lord and become the possession of the priest (v. 21). This indicates that in the millennium the Lord Jesus, as God's Priest, will inherit the earth, while Israel will be a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6), identified with Him, and therefore also inheriting the earth (Matthew 5:5).

FIRSTBORN OF ANIMALS (vv. 26-27)

Under law, in every case, the firstborn of an animal was devoted to the Lord. It could not therefore be a voluntary offering: it must be sacrificed because it belonged to the Lord.

But an unclean animal could not be sacrificed to the Lord. Therefore a provision was made for its redemption. One might pay the priest's estimated value of it plus one-fifth. However, Exodus 13:13 makes one exception. The firstborn of a donkey was to be redeemed with a lamb, but if not redeemed, the donkey must have its neck broken. The significance of this is plain. Man is like a wild donkey's colt, unclean, untamed and rebellious. He must be redeemed by the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, or else have his stiff-necked rebellion broken in dreadful judgment. All humans are like unclean animals, needing to be redeemed.

DEVOTED TO DESTRUCTION (vv. 28-29)

This is the case of something, or someone being placed “under the ban” (v. 29) because of the serious corruption of sin. Once this devoting to destruction has taken place, there is no release, no redemption. Therefore, whether it may be principles of evil or humans identified with the evil, once the pronouncement of God has taken place against the evil, it cannot be reversed. God deals constantly in great grace seeking to bring people to repentance, but in spite of this, some resist this great mercy of God and eventually manifest themselves as enemies of God, determined to act in rebellion. Therefore, they become as Romans 9:22 describes, “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,” and “they stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which also they were appointed” (1 Peter 2:8).

We do not decide when people have crossed the line to assume positive hostility against God, but we should continue preaching the gospel to them as long as they will listen. But God knows, and when once He has decided that they are under the ban of devotion to destruction, nothing can change this. How dreadful a consideration for those who dare to resist the gracious pleadings of the Spirit of God! This is the case of those spoken of in Hebrews 6:4-8 and Hebrews 10:26-31.

THE TITHE INVOLVING COMPLETE SANCTIFICATION (vv. 30-34)

The Book of Leviticus fittingly closes with the tithe (one tenth) of the fruit of the land being sanctified to the Lord (v. 30). The number 10 speaks of responsibility, so Israel was responsible to render to God one-tenth of all that He gave them. If so, God would greatly bless them. If a man wanted to redeem a tithe he must add one-fifth to its value (v. 31). This would keep Israel from making greed a motive.

One was not to first inspect his animals with the object of keeping the best and using the other as a tithe, but to give one-tenth without any such inspection (v. 33). A proposed exchange would forfeit the exchange.

In one way this conclusion of Leviticus is prophetic of Israel's eventual great blessing when they give the Lord Jesus His true place. Because He will be honored, they will be greatly blessed. This is just as true for us also. In the measure in which we honor Him now, we shall be spiritually blessed, and in eternity when He is in full measure honored, His saints shall be in full measure blessed. Wonderful anticipation!

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Leviticus 27:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/leviticus-27.html. 1897-1910.

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