Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Pledges To God
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation. 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. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.
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. 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. 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.
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.” (Leviticus 27:1-8)
If a person made a special vow dedicating someone to God, whether it was to be a servant or one of his children, it was to be assigned a cash value according to the abilities and skills of the person. The value had nothing to do with the person’s social or economic standing. The king’s son was of the same value as that of a beggar. This established a value for redemption. Special allowance was made for a person who wanted to give more but couldn’t afford to pay the redemption fee.
“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. 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.
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: And the priest shall value it, whether it be good or bad: as thou valuest it, who art the priest, so shall it be. But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation. ” (Leviticus 27:9-13)
Many times the pledge or vow was made before the animals birth or while it was still a baby. When it grew up it might be turn out to be either better or worse than originally expected. In either case a person might wish to exchange it for a different animal. If the animal was an animal that could be used for sacrifices, then it was to sacrificed, and if the giver felt it wasn’t enough he could give an additional animal.
If it was a non-sacrificial animal, the priest was to set a value for it and if the person wished to keep it, they could buy it back for twenty percent premium, or allow the priests to sell it for whatever they could.
“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. 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.” (Leviticus 27:14-15)
A person could donate their house, and the priest would place a value on it. If the person wished to buy the house back he could give twenty percent over the valuation or the priests could sell the house for more.
“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.
If he sanctify his field from the year of jubilee, according to thy estimation it shall stand. But if he sanctify his field after the jubilee, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the jubilee, and it shall be abated from thy estimation. 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.
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. But the field, when it goeth out in the jubilee, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest's.” (Leviticus 27:16-21)
The value of field that was dedicated to the lord was to be based on the number of years until the year of Jubilee and the amount of seed required to plant the land. He could reclaim the land by paying off the remaining time and a twenty percent fee at any time unless he had leased it out to someone else. If the land had not been reclaimed, or if it had been leased out during the period, then it became property of the priests in the year of Jubilee.
“And if a man sanctify unto the LORD a field which he hath bought, which is not of the fields of his possession; Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubilee: and he shall give thine estimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the LORD. In the year of the jubilee the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong.” (Leviticus 27:22-24)
If a person donated a field that he had bought from someone else, he was to be credited with donating until the year of Jubilee, but land automatically returned to the owner’s family in the year of Jubilee.
“And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel.” (Leviticus 27:25)
Throughout history, governments have tried to inflate the value of money by changing the weight or the precious metal content. The same standard was to apply in all Israel’s dealings with God.