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Numbers Thirty

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Numbers 30:1 And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded.

Numbers 30:2 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. These statutes concerning vows were possibly given at this time because it had only recently become a problem in the camp. Perhaps the imminence of the long-awaited Canaanite campaign had stimulated numerous rash vows which would be difficult to fulfill. Such vows usually were accompanied by a sort of bargain with God, expecting Him to do something in return (e.g., Jephthah's vow, Judges 11:30, 31). Such bargains made with God or promises made in God's name became blasphemies if made lightly and tentatively, and these statutes were intended to stress their gravity. Although vows were never commanded, once made they must be fulfilled, since God's name had been involved.

Numbers 30:3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth;

If a woman also vow. Because a daughter's vow might place obligations on her father, or a wife's on her husband, provision was made for such a vow to be disallowed by the man involved, provided such action was taken as soon as it be learned about it.

Numbers 30:4 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.

Numbers 30:5 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.

Numbers 30:6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;

Numbers 30:7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.

Numbers 30:8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the LORD shall forgive her.

Numbers 30:9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.

Numbers 30:10 And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath;

Numbers 30:11 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.

Numbers 30:12 But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the LORD shall forgive her.

Numbers 30:13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.

Numbers 30:14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.

Numbers 30:15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.

Numbers 30:16 These are the statutes, which the LORD commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father's house.

These are the statutes. As with a number of the other statutes given under the Mosaic law these would be in effect only until superseded by higher laws brought by Christ (Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12). There is no Biblical warrant for vows or oaths by Christians; their simple word should be their bond.