Numbers 30

Vows

1 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the LORD commands:
2 When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.
3 “When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the LORD or obligates herself by a pledge
4 and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand.
5 But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the LORD will release her because her father has forbidden her.
6 “If she marries after she makes a vow or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself
7 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand.
8 But if her husband forbids her when he hears about it, he nullifies the vow that obligates her or the rash promise by which she obligates herself, and the LORD will release her.
9 “Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her.
10 “If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath
11 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her and does not forbid her, then all her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand.
12 But if her husband nullifies them when he hears about them, then none of the vows or pledges that came from her lips will stand. Her husband has nullified them, and the LORD will release her.
13 Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself.[a]
14 But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them.
15 If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he must bear the consequences of her wrongdoing.”
16 These are the regulations the LORD gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and his young daughter still living at home.

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. S Numbers 1:4
  • 2. Deuteronomy 23:21-23; Judges 11:35; Job 22:27; Psalms 22:25; Psalms 50:14; Psalms 61:5,8; Psalms 76:11; Psalms 116:14; Proverbs 20:25; Ecclesiastes 5:4,5; Isaiah 19:21; John 1:16; Jonah 2:9
  • 3. ver 7
  • 4. ver 8,12,15
  • 5. S Leviticus 5:4
  • 6. S Genesis 3:16
  • 7. ver 5
  • 8. Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18
  • 9. S ver 5

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 30

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