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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Numbers 30

 

 

Verses 1-16

LAWS CONCERNING VOWS

(vs.1-16)

Under law it was permitted to the people to make vows as to what they might do in the future, for man is looked at as under probation so long as he is under law. But this time of probation for Israel (which is a sample of all mankind) has proven mankind to be untrustworthy as regards keeping what he promises. Therefore the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 5:33-37 announces, "Again you have heard what was said of those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. but I say to you, do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No', 'No' for whatever is more than these is from the evil one." Therefore, vows have no place in Christianity. There is only One who has perfectly kept His vows, as the Lord Jesus say in Psalms 116:18, "I will pay My vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people." The Lord did this at Calvary, and we rest on the absolute truth of His word which could not fail, rather than on our own reliability.

The law required any man who made a vow to be kept strictly to his word, and do all that he vowed to do (v.2). A young woman, however, who still lived with her father, if she made a vow, could be overruled by her father at the time she made it. if he did not overrule it, then the law obliged her to keep it (vs.3-5).

The case was similar if a woman was married. Even as she had made the vow before marriage, when her husband heard of it he was in a position to cancel her obligation. But if he did not cancel it on hearing of it, then the vow remained in force (vs.6-8)

The status of a vow of a widow or a divorced woman would not change when she was no longer married. If her husband had before made void her vow, then the vow would not stand. If he had not made it void, then she remained under obligation to keep it (vs.9-15).

A woman, so naturally influenced by her emotions, might not realize the implications of a vow she makes, while a man, characterized more by a cold, calculating intelligence, might be more cautious. In contrast to this, however, Israel made a rash promise when Moses proposed the law without even telling them what that law was (Exodus 10:8); secondly, when he told them (Exodus 24:3) and thirdly, when he wrote it and read it to them (Exodus 24:4-7). All three times they promised to keep it. They had full opportunity to be aware of all that was involved in the law, so that they had no excuse for breaking it. Yet they broke their vow very soon after making it. How much better for us then that we should depend on the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus, not trusting our own reliability.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Numbers 30:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/numbers-30.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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