A vow is a promise to God, often as a commitment to give something to God in exchange for him doing something for us, as in:
Genesis 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’ house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
We are to pay our vows without exception; therefore it is better to avoid making vows [this includes commitments to donate or do anything] because we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
Remember that vows are commitments as opposed to simple spontaneous gifts. If you have made a commitment [vow] to God, you are obligated to perform it.
The main and proper vow that every converted person has made today is their baptismal commitment to God to “Go and sin no more!”
The second major vow most of us will make is our marriage vows which are made to God that we will fulfill our obligations as a spouse. Yes marriage vows are made to each other and are also made before God and to God.
Other than these it would be very wise to avoid making vows altogether.
Here God gives instructions on the amounts of special offerings [which are called vows in the KJV] which are to be given to the Levites [ministry].
Leviticus 27:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 27:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular (Strong’s 6381 a special 5088 offering) vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation.
27:3 And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 27:4 And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.
27:5 And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 27:6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.
27:7 And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.
Mercy for the Poor
27:8 But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he shall present himself before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to his ability that vowed shall the priest value him.
27:9 And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the LORD, all that any man giveth of such unto the LORD shall be holy. 27:10 He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good: and if he shall at all change beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be holy.
27:11 And if it be any unclean beast, of which they do not offer a sacrifice unto the LORD, then he shall present the beast before the priest: 27:12 And the priest shall value it, whether it be good or bad: as thou valuest it, who art the priest, so shall it be.
The unclean animal may be redeemed by adding a fifth of its value to its true value as an offering.
27:13 But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation.
The gift of a house
27:14 And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the LORD, then the priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it stand. 27:15 And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his.
The gift of agricultural land, shall have its value reckoned by the years to a Jubilee and an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.
27:16 And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. 27:17 If he sanctify his field from the year of jubile, according to thy estimation it shall stand. 27:18 But if he sanctify his field after the jubile, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the jubile, and it shall be abated from thy estimation.
Agricultural land vowed as a gift may be redeemed by paying its value plus a fifth part [20%].
27:19 And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be assured to him.
The giver may refuse to receive his own field back at the Jubilee, and in that case it shall become permanently for the Levites.
27:20 And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more. 27:21 But the field, when it goeth out in the jubile, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest’s.
If a field is not the owners inheritance but which has been bought from another’s inheritance until the Jubilee; the present user of the field may give the produce of that field to the priest, but the field itself shall return back to its original owner.
27:22 And if a man sanctify unto the LORD a field which he hath bought, which is not of the fields of his possession; 27:23 Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubile: and he shall give thine estimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the LORD.
27:24 In the year of the jubile the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong.
Definition of a shekel 27:25 And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel.
The first born may not be consecrated to God because they already belong to God, because the Passover Lamb [spiritually Jesus Christ] has atoned for the firstborn, saving them from death in Egypt. God the Father in heaven gave his first born son and therefore all first born belong to him.
27:26 Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the LORD’s firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the LORD’s.
The first born of an unclean animal shall have its value estimated, and may then either be given to the priests and the Levites, or it may be redeemed by the owner; by paying the value plus 20%.
27:27 And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation.
Anything devoted by vow to God may not be redeemed or withheld; all vows must be paid in full.
27:28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the LORD of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD. 27:29 None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.
Tithing on agricultural produce
A tithe of all our agricultural increase is required by God, and if we desire to keep a certain animal etc; then we are to pay its value plus 20% in money. This law changes the actual tithe from the animal into money for donation.
27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD. 27:31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
All firstborn animals were separated out as belonging to God. Then the other newborn animals were separated from their parents and made to pass in single file before a man who counted them by touching each animal with his rod and shouting out to the recorder; 1, 2 ,3 etc. the tenth animal was then separated out whether good or bad [lame etc] as belonging to God and given to the Levites.
If it was desired to keep the animal as being good [for breeding etc], then it could be valued be the priest and the sum paid with the addition of 20%.
27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. 27:33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
27:34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.