A Few Thoughts About Vows

B1 English
C1 a solemn oath, commitment, or undertaking that binds one to a particular act, service, or condition. (Source)
C2 A set of solemn promises committing one to a prescribed role, calling, or course of action, typically to marriage or a monastic career. (Source)
B2 Hebrew
C1 Example: Genesis 28:20 NAS Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear,
C2 1 Samuel 1:11 GW She made this vow, “LORD of Armies, if you will look at my misery, remember me, and give me a boy, then I will give him to you for as long as he lives. A razor will never be used on his head.”
A vow should be for a set time, say a week or a month.
A vow should be for a set circumstance, say asking for wisdom.
A vow should include a sacrifice, say a sum of money (an offering) or some community good deed (the community could be the congregation or civil care).
A vow should include prayer, Bible reading and study, etc.
An answered vow should see God being praised and the prescribed offering completed as soon as possible. (See Psalm 22:25).
An answered vow should give praise and thankfulness to God. (See Psalm 50:14)
A public vow should give a public praise and thankfulness to God publicly.
An unanswered vow should also cause praise and thankfulness to God for NOT allowing it.
An unanswered vow should be understood that the answer is no. If a person vowed to God for wisdom about a certain job, and the job did not come into being, then we shouldn’t try to force obtaining that job.
A vow can be private (only known to God and me), small group (known to God, family, or a few friends, and me), or public (known to a large group of people).
It is better not to vow, and not keep the agreement:
B1 Proverbs 20:25 GW It is a trap for a person to say impulsively, “This is a holy offering!” and later to have second thoughts about those vows.
B2 Ecclesiastes 5:4 BSB When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, because He takes no pleasure in fools. Fulfill your vow.
B3 Ecclesiastes 5:5 BSB It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.
B4 Ecclesiastes 5:6 BSB Do not let your mouth cause your body to sin, and do not tell the messenger that your vow was a mistake. Why should God be angry with your words and destroy the work of your hands?
Other verses and comment
B1 Matthew 5:33-34 BSB Again, you have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you not to swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne.
Adam Clarke comments on this verse:
Thou shalt not forswear thyself] They dishonour the great God, and break this commandment, who use frequent oaths and imprecations, even in reference to things that are true; and those who make vows and promises, which they either cannot perform, or do not design to fulfil, are not less criminal. Swearing in civil matters is become so frequent, that the dread and obligation of an oath are utterly lost in it. In certain places, where oaths are frequently administered, people have been known to kiss their thumb or pen, instead of the book, thinking thereby to avoid the sin of perjury; but this is a shocking imposition on their own souls. See Clarke on De 4:26; “De 6:13”.
Perform unto the Lord thine oaths] The morality of the Jews on this point was truly execrable: they maintained, that a man might swear with his lips, and annul it in the same moment in his heart. Rab. Akiba is quoted as an example of this kind of swearing.
B2 Jephthah:
C1 Judges 11:30-31 GW Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you will really hand Ammon over to me, 31 then whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from Ammon will belong to the LORD. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.
C2 Judges 11:39-40 GW at the end of those two months she came back to her father. He did to her what he had vowed, and she never had a husband. So the custom began in Israel 40 that for four days every year the girls in Israel would go out to sing the praises of the daughter of Jephthah, the man from Gilead.
Adam Clarke comments (go to the passage and read it all as it is remarkably interesting):
Verse 40. To lament the daughter of Jephthah] I am satisfied
that this is not a correct translation of the original lethannoth lebath yiphtach. Houbigant translates the whole verse thus: Sed iste mos apud Israel invaluit, ut virgines Israel, temporibus diversis, irent ad filiam Jepthe-ut eam quotannis dies quatuor consolarentur; “But this custom prevailed in Israel that the virgins of Israel went at different times, four days in the year, to the daughter of Jephthah, that they might comfort her.” This verse also gives evidence that the daughter of Jephthah was not sacrificed: nor does it appear that the custom or statute referred to here lasted after the death of Jephthah’s daughter.
THE following is Dr. Hales’ exposition of Jephthah’s vow:
“When Jephthah went forth to battle against the Ammonites, he vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, ‘If thou wilt surely give the children of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatsoever cometh out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall either be the Lord’s, or I will offer it up (for) a burnt-offering,’ Jud 11:30, 31.
According to this rendering of the two conjunctions, vau in the last clause ‘either,’ ‘or,’ (which is justified by the Hebrew idiom thus, ‘He that curseth his father and his mother,’ Ex 21:17, is necessarily rendered disjunctively, ‘His father or his mother,’ by the Septuagint, Vulgate, Chaldee, and English, confirmed by Mt 15:4, the paucity of connecting particles in that language making it necessary that this conjunction should often be understood disjunctively,) the vow consisted of two parts: 1. That what person soever met him should be the Lord’s or be dedicated to his service; and, 2. That what beast soever met him, if clean, should be offered up for a burnt-offering unto the Lord.
“This rendering and this interpretation is warranted by the Levitical law about vows.
“The neder, or vow, in general, included either persons, beasts, or things dedicated to the Lord for pious uses; which, if it was a simple vow, was redeemable at certain prices, if the person repented of his vow, and wished to commute it for money, according to the age or sex of the person, Le 27:1-8: this was a wise regulation to remedy rash vows. But if the vow was accompanied with cherem, devotement, it was irredeemable, as in the following case, Le 27:28.
“Notwithstanding, no devotement which a man shall devote unto the Lord, (either) of man, or beast, or of land of his own property, shall be sold or redeemed. Every thing devoted is most holy to the Lord.
“Here the three vaus in the original should necessarily be rendered disjunctively, or as the last actually is in our translation, because there are three distinct subjects of devotement to be applied to distinct uses, the man to be dedicated to the service of the Lord, as Samuel by his mother Hannah, 1Sa 1:11; the cattle, if clean, such as oxen, sheep, goats, turtle-doves, or pigeons, to be sacrificed; and if unclean, as camels, horses, asses, to be employed for carrying burdens in the service of the tabernacle or temple; and the lands, to be sacred property.
“This law therefore expressly applied in its first branch to Jephthah’s case, who had devoted his daughter to the Lord, or opened his mouth to the Lord, and therefore could not go back, as he declared in his grief at seeing his daughter and only child coming to meet him with timbrels and dances: she was, therefore necessarily devoted, but with her own consent to perpetual virginity in the service of the tabernacle, Jud 11:36, 37; and such service was customary, for in the division of the spoils taken in the first Midianitish war, of the whole number of captive virgins the Lord’s tribute was thirty-two persons, Nu 31:15-40. This instance appears to be decisive of the nature of her devotement.
“Her father’s extreme grief on the occasion and her requisition of a respite for two months to bewail her virginity, are both perfectly natural. Having no other issue, he could only look forward to the extinction of his name or family; and a state of celibacy, which is reproachful among women everywhere, was peculiarly so among the Israelites, and was therefore no ordinary sacrifice on her part; who, though she generously gave up, could not but regret the loss of, becoming ‘a mother in Israel.’ And he did with her according to his vow which he had vowed, and she knew no man, or remained a virgin, all her life, Jud 11:34-39.
A Few Thoughts About Vows
Vows, Jephthah
Published by Choco on 17 Mar 20

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