On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 23, Lesson 5

Sorry, but time prohibits correcting the grammar in these lessons, Pastor Ovid Need


Moses is continuing on with the laws of holiness. These laws are the dividing line between the holy and unholy, the lawkeeper and the lawbreaker. The obedience of these laws by God's people marked their separation from the sin around them and their separation to the Lord their God. We see that not only did this separate the lawkeeper from sin, it also separated him from disease, Ex. 15:26; Deut. 7:15; 28:60. It separated him from an early death, and, based upon his obedience to the gospel, also separated him from eternal death.

Probably one of the things which does more to identify a person as a child of God is covered here in Deut. 23:21-23. Very few people today can be trusted to keep their word. This is indeed sad, yet, this reflects society's attitude toward the Lord God. All sin is sin against God, Ps. 51:4, therefore, as there is less of a conscience toward God there is less of a need to avoid sin seen by individuals.

We find several laws concerning vows. Lev. 27 covers one form of the vow. There we have a promise made by anyone who dedicates and gives his own person, or a portion of his property, to the Lord for delivering him from some danger and distress, or for bringing to his possession some desired earthly good. It gives directions for redeeming the thing vowed, and that price of redemption paid to His sanctuary.

Then in Num. 6:1-21, we have the vow of the Nazarite.

The one we want to look at is in Num. 30:1-16. Let's look at it in today's context.

1. What did the person do in v. 2? ___________________________________________________

2. Once this was done, what was not permitted, v. 2: Deut. 23:23? ____________________

a. There were cases when this did not apply. If a woman was single, living at home under her father's authority, and her father heard her promise and didn't say anything, what took place, Num. 30:3-4? ________________________________________________________________________ ______

b. If her father spoke against her promise, what took place, v. 5?

3. Now the woman who had made a vow in her dad's house gets married. She is under that vow (v. 6, marg.= her vows were upon her) when she comes under her husband. What could her new husband do, vv. 7 8?______________________________________________________________________ _

4. How about a woman's promise who is no longer under a husband, v. 9?

5. Then we have the married woman who is in her husband's house when she makes her promise. Notice, the same thing stands. In all of these situations, when must the one in authority speak up, vv. 10-14? ___________________________________________________________________

a. What if her authority (father or husband as the case may be) decides at a later time that she cannot fulfill her word and prevents her, v. 15?

We see this principle of authority spoken of very strongly in the NT, Eph. 5:22-33; I Pet. 3:1-7. Solomon also had some very strong words to say along this line, Ecc. 5:4-6. Solomon's words can be taken in two ways. First, when we promise to do something which is good and right, it is SIN not to accomplish it. Secondly, and equally as important, we see that if a promise is made, and then we are later shown that it involves sin to carry out that promise, the promise must be confessed as such and that promise voided. We cannot allow the words of our mouth (a promise) to cause our flesh to sin. Once again, we see that all actions, including words, must be compared with God's Word. Man's word (promise) concerning a certain matter is not what makes something right or wrong. Only GOD'S Word can make that determination. Then we must speak and act in terms of that Word.

Keep in mind that the only binding vow is a vow which is made in accordance with God's Word. Let's look at Jephthah's vow. In Judges 11 we see that he made a vow to God (v. 31) to make a burnt offering of whatever came first from his house to meet him if the Lord would give his vic­tory. His daughter met him first. This was an unscriptural vow. No place in God's word does He even hint at human sacrifice (except Rom. 12:1, 2, where the human sacrifice is required as a "reasonable service"). Jephthah's vow was unscriptural, therefore, he should not have made it; he did, the Lord gave him the victory, yet he should NOT have fulfilled it. He should have confessed the sin of a rash vow and kept his daughter, v. 35.

The heathen influence was strong and the indication is that he kept it, offering her as a burnt offering. He was under NO OBLIGATION to fulfill the vow. In fact, he was under an obliga­tion to God's word to break that vow as a SIN. His obligation was to God's law-word. The victory Jephthah was given was not because of this vow, but because he obeyed God and went to battle. Therefore, if he did fulfill the vow, he committed murder.

We are in no less of a fix today. The heathen influence is so strong that we feel once we say something it must be done and really don't stop to consider if we are violating a scriptural principle or not as we do it.

Also, here many times a person finds out that it will cost more than they had planned so they try to get out of their commitment. Not only is Solomon very strong on this in Ecc. 5:6, but we find what David said about this in Ps. 15:4. There is a difference here between personal sacrifice and a sacrifice of God's principles and priorities. We can never sacrifice His principles to do ANYTHING. OUR VOWS MUST BE MADE AND KEPT IN RELATIONSHIP TO HIS WORD.

God has some very strong words to say about keeping our word. Not long ago, multi-million dollar deals were made on a hand shake. As we have turned from God, now there are armies of lawyers dedicated to finding loop-holes in contracts so they can be broken. As Christians, let's work to keep our word "good as gold".

Deut. 23:24-25 is pretty well self-evident. God permitted a passer-by to eat of the fruit as much as he wanted, but he couldn't take it with him. This shows us that all the earth is the Lord's along with everything in it. The fruit of our labor is not ours to do with as we see fit. It can only be used in a manner consistent with God's word, and here He allows the passer-by to eat as much as he pleases. Our Lord practiced even this law while He walked here on this earth, Matt. 12:1.