New European Commentary


About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

Deeper Commentary


Lev 27:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying-
This chapter is as it were an appendix to the Law because it concerns vows which were freewill decisions to give something to God and weren’t part of the legal demands which God made upon His people in the previous chapters. It’s good for us to at times make a special commitment to God from a joyful heart. The values attached to people in the next verses seem to speak of the price that should be paid if a person wished to cancel the dedication of themselves or even of others which they had made. It seems Jephthah may have been ignorant of these provisions and therefore suffered immensely from not paying attention to all God’s law (Jud. 11:31-40).

Lev 27:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘When a man makes a vow, the persons shall be for Yahweh by your valuation.
Lev 27:3 Your valuation shall be of a male from twenty years old even to sixty years old, even your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.
Lev 27:4 If it is a female, then your valuation shall be thirty shekels.
Lev 27:5 If the person is from five years old even to twenty years old, then your valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels.
Lev 27:6 If the person is from a month old even to five years old, then your valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver.
Lev 27:7 If the person is from sixty years old and upward; if it is a male, then your valuation shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels.
Lev 27:8 But if he is poorer than your valuation, then he shall be set before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the ability of him who vowed shall the priest value him-

This provision seems to foresee the possibility that a totally poor person would dedicate themselves to God’s service (e.g. doing some work related to the maintenance of the sanctuary) and yet need to change that commitment (perhaps to care for a sick and dying relative), and yet have nothing to pay for his own redemption. This freewill dedication of oneself to God’s service is alluded to when Paul praises some of the Macedonian believers for devoting their own selves to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5), and the family of Stephanas for having ‘ceremonially consecrated’ themselves to serving their fellow believers (1 Cor. 16:15 Gk.). What could we devote ourselves to do, remembering that wealth is no barrier to making this kind of devotion?

Lev 27:9 If it is an animal, of which men offer an offering to Yahweh, all that any man gives of such to Yahweh becomes holy.
Lev 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 animal for animal, then both it and that for which it is changed shall be holy-

Changing what we have given to God according to new circumstances isn’t encouraged; we should give and assume that what we gave is now not ours any longer. Giving should be frank and final, with no thought of regret afterwards or considering what might have been if we had not given it- e.g. letting our mind wander around the possibilities of what we could have used money for if we’d not given it to God.


Lev 27:11 If it is any unclean animal, of which they do not offer as an offering to Yahweh, then he shall set the animal before the priest;
Lev 27:12 and the priest shall value it, whether it is good or bad. As you the priest values it, so shall it be.
Lev 27:13 But if he will indeed redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of it to its valuation.
Lev 27:14 When a man dedicates his house to be holy to Yahweh, then the priest shall evaluate it, whether it is good or bad: as the priest shall evaluate it, so shall it stand.
Lev 27:15 If he who dedicates it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of your valuation to it, and it shall be his.
Lev 27:16 If a man dedicates to Yahweh part of the field of his possession, then your valuation shall be according to the seed for it: the sowing of a homer of barley shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.
Lev 27:17 If he dedicates his field from the Year of Jubilee, according to your valuation it shall stand.
Lev 27:18 But if he dedicates his field after the Jubilee, then the priest shall reckon to him the money according to the years that remain to the Year of Jubilee; and a reduction shall be made from your valuation.
Lev 27:19 If he who dedicated the field will indeed redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of your valuation to it, and it shall remain his.
Lev 27:20 If he will not redeem the field, or if he has sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed anymore;
Lev 27:21 but the field, when it goes out in the Jubilee, shall be holy to Yahweh, as a field devoted; it shall be owned by the priests.
Lev 27:22 If he dedicates to Yahweh a field which he has bought, which is not of the field of his possession,
Lev 27:23 then the priest shall reckon to him the worth of your valuation up to the Year of Jubilee; and he shall give your valuation on that day, as a holy thing to Yahweh-

The value of all things is relative to the Year of Jubilee, which speaks of the return of Christ (see on 25:10,15,20).

Lev 27:24 In the Year of Jubilee the field shall return to him from whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land belongs.
Lev 27:25 All your valuations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs to the shekel.
Lev 27:26 Only the firstborn among animals, which is made a firstborn to Yahweh, no man may dedicate it: whether an ox or sheep, it is Yahweh’s-

We should avoid the temptation to give what we owe to God anyway as if it is a gift of special freewill devotion.

Lev 27:27 If it is an unclean animal, then he shall buy it back according to your valuation, and shall add to it the fifth part of it; or if it isn’t redeemed, then it shall be sold according to your valuation-
The redemption of unclean devoted animals was to be at the basis of the animals value plus one fifth (Lev. 27:27). But the firstborn of donkeys were to be redeemed with a lamb, and a lamb would have been of less value than a newborn donkey. The firstborn of the donkey was to be redeemed by a lamb (Ex. 13:13) as a ritual reminder of the power of the Passover lamb's redemption. The value of its blood was far greater than its commercial value. And this was to point forward to the value of the blood of the Lord Jesus, far more precious than of any gold or silver (1 Pet. 1:18). The donkey was the most common domestic animal, and it was an unclean animal. It was therefore representative of common people, in their unclean state. Firstborn donkeys were to be redeemed because they were to be understood as represetantive of God's people, redeemed by the Passover lamb.    

Lev 27:28 Notwithstanding, no devoted thing that a man shall devote to Yahweh of all that he has, whether of man or animal, or of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy to Yahweh.
Lev 27:29 No one devoted, who shall be devoted from among men, shall be ransomed: he shall surely be put to death.
Lev 27:30 All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is Yahweh’s. It is holy to Yahweh.
Lev 27:31 If a man redeems anything of his tithe, he shall add a fifth part to it.
Lev 27:32 All the tithe of the herds or the flocks, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to Yahweh.
Lev 27:33 He shall not analyze whether it is good or bad, neither shall he change it; and if he changes it at all, then both it and that for which it is changed shall be holy. It shall not be redeemed’-
God told Israel that He wanted altars made of earth; but He knew they would want to make altars of stone like the other nations, and He made allowance for this (Ex. 20:24,25). The Law has several examples of this living on different levels. "Ye shall let nothing of (the Passover) remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire" (Ex. 12:10) is an evident example. God foresaw their disobedience to His stated principle, and made a concession and provision. Or take the Law’s ruling about tithes: “...neither shall he change it: and if he change it...” (Lev. 27:33).

We should not be carefully calculating in our giving to God, trying to do so at minimal cost to ourselves.


Lev 27:34 These are the commandments which Yahweh commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.