'No devoted thing, which is devoted of man, is ransomed, it is surely put to death.
Leviticus 27:29 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Which shall be devoted of men - Every man who is devoted shall surely be put to death; or, as some understand it, be the Lord's property, or be employed in his service, till death. The law mentioned in these two verses has been appealed to by the enemies of Divine revelation as a proof, that under the Mosaic dispensation human sacrifices were offered to God; but this can never be conceded. Had there been such a law, it certainly would have been more explicitly revealed, and not left in the compass of a few words only, where the meaning is very difficult to be ascertained; and the words themselves differently translated by most interpreters. That there were persons, devoted to destruction under the Mosaic dispensation, is sufficiently evident, for the whole Canaanitish nations were thus devoted by the Supreme Being himself, because the cup of their iniquity was full; but that they were not sacrificed to God, the whole history sufficiently declares. Houbigant understands the passage as speaking of these alone; and says, Non alios licebat anathemate voveri, quam Chananaeos, quos jusserat Deus ad internecionem deleri. "It was not lawful to devote any persons to death but the Canaanites, whom God had commanded to be entirely extirpated." This is perfectly correct; but he might have added that it was because they were the most impure idolaters, and because the cup of their iniquity was full. These God commanded to be put to death; and who can doubt his right to do so, who is the Maker of man, and the Fountain of justice? But what has this to do with human sacrifices? Just nothing. No more than the execution of an ordinary criminal, or a traitor, in the common course of justice, has to do with a sacrifice to God. In the destruction of such idolaters, no religious formality whatever was observed; nor any thing that could give the transaction even the most distant semblance of a sacrifice. In this way Jericho was commanded to be destroyed, Joshua 6:17, and the Amalekites, Deuteronomy 25:19; 1 Samuel 15:3 : but in all these cases the people commanded to be destroyed were such sinners as God's justice did not think proper to spare longer. And has not every system of law the same power? And do we not concede such power to the civil magistrate, for the welfare of the state? God, who is the sovereign arbiter of life and death, acts here in his juridical and legislative capacity; but these are victims to justice, not religious sacrifices. It may be necessary just farther to note that two kinds of vows are mentioned in this chapter: -
1. The נדר neder, (see on Leviticus 7 (note))., which comprehends all those things which, when once devoted, might be redeemed at a certain price, according to the valuation of the priest.
2. The חרם cherem, those things vowed to God of which there remained no power of redemption; they were most holy, i. e., so absolutely devoted to God that they could neither be changed, alienated, nor redeemed: probably because no mental reservation had been made, as in the above case may be supposed. On this ground the word was afterward applied to the most solemn and awful kind of excommunication, meaning a person so entirely devoted to the stroke of vindictive justice, as never to be capable of receiving pardon; and hence the word may be well applied in this sense to the Canaanites, the cup of whose iniquity was full, and who were consigned, without reprieve, to final extermination.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Numbers 21:2,3 And Israel vowed a vow to the LORD, and said, If you will indeed deliver this people into my hand...
1 Samuel 15:18-23 And the LORD sent you on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites...
which shall be devoted. That is, either that every person devoted to the service of God shall not be redeemed, but die in that devoted state, or, that such as were devoted to death by appointment and law of God, as the Canaanites were, shall be put to death.
Leviticus 27:29 Parallel CommentariesApart Completely Death Destroyed Destruction Devoted Ransomed Redeemed Surely UtterlyApart Completely Death Destroyed Destruction Devoted Ransomed Redeemed Surely UtterlyTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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