Leviticus 27:13
But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof to your estimation.
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(13) But if he will at all redeem it.—Better, and if he wishes to redeem it, that is, the man himself who vowed it for the sanctuary. The estimate put upon the animal in question was intended for anyone who wished to purchase it, not excluding, however, the person who vowed it.

He shall add a fifth part.—Whilst anyone else could purchase the animal at the valuation put upon it by the priest, its former owner is to pay a fifth more than the valuation price. This was probably intended as a fine for taking back a thing which he promised to the Lord. For the way in which the fifth part was computed during the second Temple see Leviticus 5:16.

27:1-13 Zeal for the service of God disposed the Israelites, on some occasions, to dedicate themselves or their children to the service of the Lord, in his house for life. Some persons who thus dedicated themselves might be employed as assistants; in general they were to be redeemed for a value. It is good to be zealously affected and liberally disposed for the Lord's service; but the matter should be well weighed, and prudence should direct as to what we do; else rash vows and hesitation in doing them will dishonour God, and trouble our own minds.If he be poorer than thy estimation - Too poor (to pay) thy valuation. Compare Leviticus 27:7, Leviticus 27:11. 9-13. if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the Lord—a clean beast. After it had been vowed, it could neither be employed in common purposes nor exchanged for an equivalent—it must be sacrificed—or if, through some discovered blemish, it was unsuitable for the altar, it might be sold, and the money applied for the sacred service. If an unclean beast—such as an ass or camel, for instance, had been vowed, it was to be appropriated to the use of the priest at the estimated value, or it might be redeemed by the person vowing on payment of that value, and the additional fine of a fifth more. No text from Poole on this verse. But if he will at all redeem it,.... The owner of it, or he that has devoted it, if he is determined to have it again at any rate:

then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation; he shall give the full price for it, as rated by the priest, and for which it might be sold to another man, and a fifth part of the value of it besides; this was done that the full price might be paid for it, the priest not knowing, as it might be, the worth of it so well as the owner; and that the value of consecrated things might be kept to, and to make men careful how and what they devoted, since, though redeemable, they were obliged to pay a large price for them.

But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation.
13. thy estimation] Cp. Leviticus 27:15, etc. The pronoun constitutes a difficulty, as in Leviticus 27:2. There Moses, who seems to be referred to, is himself speaking to the people. Here the reference is apparently to the priest in Leviticus 27:12. In Leviticus 27:23 ‘thy’ cannot have either of these references. The LXX. omits it in all the cases. It is thought to be the insertion of a reviser, in order to harmonize with Leviticus 27:15, where the subject is similar and the pronoun presents no difficulty as applied to Moses, who is there addressed. But it may possibly, as is suggested by the anomalous grammar in the Heb. of Leviticus 27:23, be a survival of a phrase from old directions addressed to the priest, and have thus ceased to bear any definite meaning.The vowing of persons. - "If any one make a special vow, souls shall be to the Lord according to thy valuation." נדר הפליא does not mean to dedicate or set apart a vow, but to make a special vow (see at Leviticus 22:21). The words בּערכּך, "according to thy (Moses') valuation," it is more simple to regard as an apodosis, so as to supply to ליהוה the substantive verb תּהיינה, than as a fuller description of the protasis, in which case the apodosis would follow in Leviticus 27:3, and the verb יקדּישׁ would have to be supplied. But whatever may be the conclusion adopted, in any case this thought is expressed in the words, that souls, i.e., persons, were to be vowed to the Lord according to Moses' valuation, i.e., according to the price fixed by Moses. This implies clearly enough, that whenever a person was vowed, redemption was to follow according to the valuation. Otherwise what was the object of valuing them? Valuation supposes either redemption or purchase. But in the case of men (i.e., Israelites) there could be no purchasing as slaves, and therefore the object of the valuing could only have been for the purpose of redeeming, buying off the person vowed to the Lord, and the fulfilment of the vow could only have consisted in the payment into the sanctuary of the price fixed by the law.

(Note: Saalschtz adopts this explanation in common with the Mishnah. Oehler is wrong in citing 1 Samuel 2:11, 1 Samuel 2:22, 1 Samuel 2:28 as a proof of the opposite. For the dedication of Samuel did not consist of a simple vow, but was a dedication as a Nazarite for the whole of his life, and Samuel was thereby vowed to service at the sanctuary, whereas the law says nothing about attachment to the sanctuary in the case of the simple vowing of persons. But because redemption in the case of persons was not left to the pleasure or free-will of the person making the vow as in the case of material property, no addition is made to the valuation price as though for a merely possible circumstance.)

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