Numbers 30 Commentary

Numbers 30 Commentary

The aim of these instructions on vows seems to be an encouragement to treat one’s relationship with the LORD very seriously. The LORD isn’t an inanimate object like a stone that you can easily paint in different colors at will. So vows must be made seriously.

Another easy pick from this chapter is the order of authority expected in the community of God’s people. An unmarried woman living under the roof of her father is actually free to make vows to give or abstain from something. If a check by her father confirms that she has made a ‘good’ vow, then she remains under the vow and the conditions thereof. The exception though is that her father may cancel the deal and the LORD doesn’t hold the young woman accountable under these circumstances.

It provided another layer of safety for women regarding vows. A man’s role in God’s creation is to take responsibility while the woman’s role is to share responsibility with a man in her life. The measure of grace given to her regarding decision-making is one of shared accountability. Therefore her father or her husband can cancel her vows – and the LORD is agreeable. She, therefore, honors the LORD by obedience.

A Christless society is very unforgiving on men! Many are left in ruins as a consequence of a bad decision here and there. Judgment is often very harsh. The thought of one (father or husband) who can cancel and reverse stupid decisions for women is very cool.

These instructions may easily lead one to think of a possible denial of a right to honor the LORD. No. Emphasis is on the special privilege of the young woman or a married woman to have her vows revoked by another. Men didn’t have this chance. If a foolish decision came out, the man suffered the consequences all by himself. The lack of recourse for men in case of stupidity in decision-making leaves us with a need for mediation. A very foolish decision isn’t a good enough reason for one to die. Mediation is available. It is easy to see the cross in these lines.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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