Leviticus 27:29

Leviticus 27:29

None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be
This is said, not of such men as are devoted to the Lord, as in the preceding verse; for it is not said here as there, "none devoted unto the Lord", but of such as are devoted to ruin and destruction, for whom there was no redemption, but they must die; nor is it said, "which is devoted by men, but of men", or from among men; whether they be devoted by God himself, as all idolaters, and particularly the seven nations of the land of Canaan, and especially the Amalekites, who therefore were not to be spared on any account, but to be put to death, ( Exodus 22:20 ) ( Deuteronomy 7:1 Deuteronomy 7:2 ) ( Deuteronomy 20:16 Deuteronomy 20:17 ) ( 25:19 ) ( 1 Samuel 15:3 ) . So in the Talmud F15, this is interpreted of Canaanitish servants and handmaids; or whether devoted by men to destruction, either by the people of Israel, as their avowed enemies they should take in war, whom, and their cities, they vowed to the Lord they would utterly destroy, ( Numbers 21:2 Numbers 21:3 ) ; and of such Aben Ezra interprets the words of the text; or such as were doomed by the civil magistrates to die for capital crimes, by stoning, burning, strangling, and slaying with the sword. And this sense is given into by many; because the judges kill with many kinds of death, therefore, says Chaskuni, it is said "every devoted thing", as if he should say, with whatsoever of the four kinds of death the judges pass sentence of destruction on a man, he must die that death; so Jarchi and Ben Melech interpret it of such as go out to be slain, i.e. by the decree of the judges; and if one says, his estimation, or the price of him be upon me, he says nothing, it is of no avail:

[but] shall surely be put to death;
as the same writer observes, lo, he goes forth to die, he shall not be redeemed, neither by price nor estimation. The Targum of Jonathan is,

``he shall not he redeemed with silver, but with burnt offerings, and holy sacrifices, and petitions of mercy, because he is condemned by a sentence to be slain.''

And of either, or of all of these, may the words be understood, and not as they are by some, as if Jewish parents and masters had such a power over their children and servants to devote them to death, or in such a manner devote them, that they were obliged to put them to death; for though they had power in some cases to sell, yet had no power over their lives to take them away, or to devote them to death, which would be a breach of the sixth command, and punishable with death; even a master that accidentally killed his servant did not escape punishment; nay, if he did him any injury, by smiting out an eye, or a tooth, he was obliged to give him his freedom, and much less had he power to take away his life, or devote him to destruction. Some have thought, that it was through a mistaken sense of this law, that Jephthah having made a rash vow sacrificed his daughter, ( Judges 11:30-39 ) ; but it is a question whether he did or not.


F15 T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 38. 2.
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