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Special Promises

30 Moses spoke with all the leaders of the Israelite tribes and told them about these commands from the Lord:

“If a man makes a special promise to the Lord or makes a promise with an oath, he must not break his promise. He must do everything he said he would do.

“A young woman might still be living in her father’s house. And that young woman might make a special promise to give something to the Lord. If her father hears about the promise and agrees, the young woman must do what she promised. But if her father hears about the promise and does not agree, she is free from her promise. She does not have to do what she promised. Her father stopped her, so the Lord will forgive her.

“A woman might make a special promise to give something to the Lord and then get married. If the husband hears about the promise and does not object, the woman must do what she promised. But if the husband hears about the promise and refuses to let her keep her promise, the wife does not have to do what she promised. Her husband broke the promise—he did not let her do what she said. So the Lord will forgive her.

“A widow or a divorced woman might make a special promise. If she does, she must do exactly what she promised.

10 “A married woman might make a promise to give something to the Lord. 11 If her husband hears about the promise and lets her keep her promise, she must do exactly what she promised. She must give everything she promised. 12 But if her husband hears about the promise and refuses to let her keep the promise, she does not have to do what she promised. It doesn’t matter what she promised to do; if her husband is against it, this ends her duty to do it. And the Lord will forgive her. 13 A married woman might promise to give something to the Lord, or she might promise to do without something,[a] or she might make some other special promise to God. The husband can stop any of these promises, and the husband can let her keep any of these promises. 14 How does the husband let his wife keep her promises? If he hears about the promises and does not stop them, the woman must do exactly what she promised. 15 But if the husband hears about the promises and stops them, he is responsible for breaking her promises.”[b]

16 These are the commands that the Lord gave to Moses. These are the commands about a man and his wife, and about a father and his daughter who is still young and living at home in her father’s house.

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 30:13 do without something Literally, “humble her soul.” Usually this means to make the body suffer in some way, such as by not eating food.
  2. Numbers 30:15 he … her promises Literally, “he carries her guilt.”

Vows

30 [a]Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel:(A) “This is what the Lord commands: 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.(B)

“When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge 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.(C) But if her father forbids her(D) 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.

“If she marries after she makes a vow(E) or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. But if her husband(F) 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.(G)

“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.(H) 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.[b] 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(I) 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.

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 30:1 In Hebrew texts 30:1-16 is numbered 30:2-17.
  2. Numbers 30:13 Or to fast

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