Numbers 30

Listen to Numbers 30

Men and Vows

1 Moses spoke to 1the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, "This is what the LORD has commanded.
2 2If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or 3swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. 4He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Women and Vows

3 "If a woman vows a vow to the LORD and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father's house in her youth,
4 and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand.
5 But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the LORD will forgive her, because her father opposed her.
6 "If she marries a husband, while under her 5vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself,
7 and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand.
8 But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her 6vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. 7And the LORD will forgive her.
9 (But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.)
10 And if she vowed in her husband's house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath,
11 and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand.
12 But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and 8the LORD will forgive her.
13 Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, her husband may establish,[a] or her husband may make void.
14 But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them.
15 But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then 9he shall bear her iniquity."
16 These are the statutes that the LORD commanded Moses about a man and his wife and about a father and his daughter while she is in her youth within her father's house.

Numbers 30 Commentary

Chapter 30

Vows to be kept. (1,2) The cases wherein vows might be released. (3-16)

Verses 1-2 No man can be bound by his own promise to do what he is already, by the Divine precept, forbidden to do. In other matters the command is, that he shall not break his words, through he may change his mind.

Verses 3-16 Two cases of vows are determined. The case of a daughter in her father's house. When her vow comes to his knowledge, it is in his power either to confirm it or do it away. The law is plain in the case of a wife. If her husband allows her vow, though only by silence, it stands. If he disallows it, her obligation to her husband takes place of it; for to him she ought to be in subjection, as unto the Lord. The Divine law consults the good order of families. It is fit that every man should bear rule in his own house, and have his wife and children in subjection; rather than that this great rule should be broken, or any encouragement be given to inferior relations to break those bonds asunder, God releases the obligation even of a solemn vow. So much does religion secure the welfare of all societies; and in it the families of the earth have a blessing.

Cross References 9

  • 1. Numbers 1:4, 16; Numbers 7:2
  • 2. Deuteronomy 23:21; Ecclesiastes 5:4; See Leviticus 27:2
  • 3. See Leviticus 5:4
  • 4. Job 22:27; Psalms 22:25; Psalms 50:14; Psalms 66:13, 14; Psalms 116:14, 18; Nahum 1:15
  • 5. Psalms 56:12
  • 6. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 7. ver. 12
  • 8. ver. 8
  • 9. See Leviticus 5:1

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


Mention being made, in the latter part of the preceding chapter, of vows to be performed to the Lord, besides the sacrifices directed to; here some account is given of them, and men are charged to fulfil, and not break them, Nu 30:1,2 but as to women, if a maid, being in her father's house, made a vow in his hearing, and he silent at it, her vow stood; but if he disapproved of it, it was null and void, Nu 30:3-5 and so a wife, when she vowed a vow in the hearing of her husband, and he said not ought against it, it was valid; but if he objected to it, it stood for nothing, Nu 30:6-8, likewise a widow, or one divorced, that made a vow in her husband's house, before he died, or she was put away from him, and he did not contradict it, it remained in force and to be fulfilled; but if he made it void, it stood not, and she was forgiven, Nu 30:9-12 it being in an husband's power to confirm or make null a vow or oath, made by his wife to afflict her soul; but if he made any void after he heard them, and had been silent, he himself was to bear her iniquity, Nu 30:13-16.

Numbers 30 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.