Leviticus 27:2

Leviticus 27:2

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them
This being an affair which only concerned them; for the Jewish writers say {h}, by this phrase, the children of Israel, Gentiles are excluded:

when a man shall make a singular vow;
an unusual, an uncommon one, a very distinguished one, and even what is wonderful, as the word signifies; as when a man, through uncommon zeal for God and his service, devotes himself, or his children, or his cattle, or his houses or fields, to the Lord: the word "man", the Jewish writers say F9, includes every male, and even a Gentile; yea, it is said all estimate and are estimated, vow and are vowed, priests, and Levites, and Israelites, women and servants F11: the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation: as when a man devoted himself or any that belonged to him to the service of the sanctuary, out of his great zeal for it, as to assist the priests and Levites in the meaner sort of work, as to carry wood and draw water, and sweep the tabernacle, and the like; they were not allowed to do these things, partly because it was not the will of God that any or every Israelite should be employed in such menial service, and partly because there were men appointed for such work, as well as to prevent too great a number of persons in the sanctuary, which would be troublesome, and only stand in one another's way; wherefore, on every devoted person to such service a value or price was set, according to the rules after given, which were to be paid in to the priests for the service of the sanctuary, the repair of the house, &c. see ( 2 Kings 12:4 2 Kings 12:5 ) ; the word may be rendered, agreeably to the accents, "according to thy estimation of souls (or persons) the vow shall be to the Lord" F12; that is, the price of the person devoted, according to the estimation of the priest, or as settled by the Lord in some following verses, shall be given to him: the word "souls" being used, the Jewish doctors understand it of estimation or value of that on which the soul or life depends; thus, for instance, if a man says, the value of my hand or of my feet be upon me, he says nothing; but if he says, the value of my head or of my liver be upon me, he gives the whole value, i.e. of himself; if he says, the half of my value be upon me, he gives the half of it; but if he says, the value of half of me, he gives the whole value: this is the general rule, that on which the soul or life depends pays the whole value F13; for a man cannot live without his head, or without his liver, or when half of himself is taken away.


FOOTNOTES:

F8 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Eracin, c. 1. sect. 2.
F9 Ibid.
F11 Misn. Eracin, sect. 1.
F12 (hwhyl tvpn Kkreb) "pro tua aestimatione animarum, votum erit" Domino, Reinbeck de Accent. Heb. p. 320;
F13 Misn. Eracin, c. 5. sect. 2, 3.
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