God spoke to Moses. He said,
"Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them: If anyone wants to vow the value of a person to the service of God,
set the value of a man between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels of silver, according to the Sanctuary shekel.
For a woman the valuation is thirty shekels.
If the person is between the ages of five and twenty, set the value at twenty shekels for a male and ten shekels for a female.
If the person is between one month and five years, set the value at five shekels of silver for a boy and three shekels of silver for a girl.
If the person is over sixty, set the value at fifteen shekels for a man and ten shekels for a woman.
If anyone is too poor to pay the stated amount, he is to present the person to the priest, who will then set the value for him according to what the person making the vow can afford.
"If he vowed an animal that is acceptable as an offering to God, the animal is given to God and becomes the property of the Sanctuary.
He must not exchange or substitute a good one for a bad one, or a bad one for a good one; if he should dishonestly substitute one animal for another, both the original and the substitute become property of the Sanctuary.
If what he vowed is a ritually unclean animal, one that is not acceptable as an offering to God, the animal must be shown to the priest,
who will set its value, either high or low. Whatever the priest sets will be its value.
If the owner changes his mind and wants to redeem it, he must add twenty percent to its value.
"If a man dedicates his house to God, into the possession of the Sanctuary, the priest assesses its value, setting it either high or low. Whatever value the priest sets, that's what it is.
If the man wants to buy it back, he must add twenty percent to its price and then it's his again.
"If a man dedicates to God part of his family land, its value is to be set according to the amount of seed that is needed for it at the rate of fifty shekels of silver to six bushels of barley seed.
If he dedicates his field during the year of Jubilee, the set value stays.
But if he dedicates it after the Jubilee, the priest will compute the value according to the years left until the next Jubilee, reducing the value proportionately.
If the one dedicating it wants to buy it back, he must add twenty percent to its valuation, and then it's his again.
But if he doesn't redeem it or sells the field to someone else, it can never be bought back.
When the field is released in the Jubilee, it becomes holy to God, the possession of the Sanctuary, God's field. It goes into the hands of the priests.
"If a man dedicates to God a field he has bought, a field which is not part of the family land,
the priest will compute its proportionate value in relation to the next year of Jubilee. The man must pay its value on the spot as something that is now holy to God, belonging to the Sanctuary.
In the year of Jubilee it goes back to its original owner, the man from whom he bought it.
The valuations will be reckoned by the Sanctuary shekel, at twenty gerahs to the shekel.
"No one is allowed to dedicate the firstborn of an animal; the firstborn, as firstborn, already belongs to God. No matter if it's cattle or sheep, it already belongs to God.
If it's one of the ritually unclean animals, he can buy it back at its assessed value by adding twenty percent to it. If he doesn't redeem it, it is to be sold at its assessed value.
"But nothing that a man irrevocably devotes to God from what belongs to him, whether human or animal or family land, may be either sold or bought back. Everything devoted is holy to the highest degree; it's God's inalienable property.
"No human who has been devoted to destruction can be redeemed. He must be put to death.
"A tenth of the land's produce, whether grain from the ground or fruit from the trees, is God's. It is holy to God.
If a man buys back any of the tenth he has given, he must add twenty percent to it.
A tenth of the entire herd and flock, every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod, is holy to God.
He is not permitted to pick out the good from the bad or make a substitution. If he dishonestly makes a substitution, both animals, the original and the substitute, become the possession of the Sanctuary and cannot be redeemed."
These are the commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai for the People of Israel.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)