Leviticus 27:16
And if a man shall sanctify to the LORD some part of a field of his possession, then your estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.
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(16) Some part of a field of his possession.—That is, if he consecrates by a vow to the service of the sanctuary a portion of a field which he inherits from his forefathers, and which, therefore, constitutes a part of his inalienable patrimony, thus distinguishing it from a field which he has acquired by his own purchase. (See Leviticus 27:22.) The words, some part which are in italics, are implied in the Hebrew construction of these words. No man was allowed to vow the whole of his estates to the sanctuary, as he would thereby impoverish his own family.

Thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof.—Better, thy estimation shall be according to its seed, that is, he is not to part with the field thus vowed for the sanctuary, but the priest is to value the area according to the quantity of seed required for sowing it.

An homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.—That is, if the piece of land which he vowed could properly be cropped with one homer, or five bushels and a half of barley seed, he is to value it at £6 9s. 2d. (See Leviticus 27:3.) According to the authorities during the second Temple, these fifty shekels covered the value of the produce for the whole period of forty-nine years, that is, from one jubile year to another, so that a plot of land of the dimensions here described was estimated at a little more than one shekel per annum. The person who made the vow could, under these circumstances, always redeem it, as it would almost amount to a gift to let any stranger buy it at this price. The low value put upon it was evidently designed not to deprive the family of their means of subsistence, since the patrimonial estates were almost always the only source of their livelihood.

Leviticus 27:16. Shall sanctify some part of his field — This intimates that it was not lawful for a man to vow his whole field or estate, because God would have no man’s family made beggars to enrich his sanctuary. The design of consecrating a part to God, was to procure his blessing upon the rest of their possessions. Thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof — That is, it shall be valued according to the quantity of seed required to sow it. A homer of barley-seed shall be valued at fifty shekels — That is, so much land as a homer of barley would sow was to be rated at fifty shekels, or about five pounds seventeen shillings; and so, proportionably, for greater or less quantities of ground so devoted. There is a great difference between this measure and that which occurs Exodus 16:16; this is written homer, and that ghomer. Now, a ghomer was but the tenth part of an ephah, as we learn from Exodus 16:36; whereas the homer, which is the measure here spoken of, was ten ephahs, Ezekiel 45:11. By this we may explain that threatening in Isaiah 5:10, The seed of a homer shall yield an ephah; that is, ten bushels shall yield but one.27:14-25 Our houses, lands, cattle, and all our substance, must be used to the glory of God. It is acceptable to him that a portion be given to support his worship, and to promote his cause. But God would not approve such a degree of zeal as ruined a man's family.Some part of a field of his possession - Rather, a part of the land of his inheritance.

The seed thereof - i. e. the quantity of seed required to sow it properly. Thus the value of about 5 1/2 bushels (an homer) was about 6 pounds, 9 shillings, 2d. (50 shekels. See Exodus 38:24.)

16-24. if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some aprt of a field of his possession, &c.—In the case of acquired property in land, if not redeemed, it returned to the donor at the Jubilee; whereas the part of a hereditary estate, which had been vowed, did not revert to the owner, but remained attached in perpetuity to the sanctuary. The reason for this remarkable difference was to lay every man under an obligation to redeem the property, or stimulate his nearest kinsman to do it, in order to prevent a patrimonial inheritance going out from any family in Israel. A field of his possession, i.e. which is his by inheritance, because particular direction is given about purchased lands, Leviticus 27:22. And he saith part of it, because it was unlawful to vow away all his possessions, because thereby he had disenabled himself from the performance of divers duties by way of sacrifice, almsgiving, &c., and made himself burdensome to his brethren.

According to the seed thereof, i.e. according to the quantity and quality of the land, which is known by the quantity of seed which it can receive and return.

Fifty shekels of silver, not to be paid yearly, till the year of jubilee, as some would have it, but once for all, as is most probable,

1. Because here is no mention of any yearly payment, but only of one payment, and we must not add to the text.

2. Because it is most probable that lands and all things were favourably and moderately valued, so that men might be rather encouraged to make such vows upon just occasions, than to be deterred from them by excessive impositions. But if this were yearly rent, it was an excessive rate, and much more than the land ordinarily yielded. For an omer is but the tenth part of an ephah, Exodus 16:36, and therefore not above a pottle of our measure, which quantity of seed would not extend very far, and in some lands would yield but an inconsiderable crop, especially in barley, which was cheaper than wheat, and which for that reason, among others, may seem to be here mentioned rather than wheat. And if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession,.... That which he enjoyed by inheritance from his father, to distinguish it from a field of his own purchase, as in Leviticus 27:22; and which might be devoted, not all of it, but a part of it; partly that he might have something to live upon, or to improve for a livelihood for himself and family, and partly that estates might not be alienated entirely from their families and tribes in which they were:

then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof; not according to the field, the goodness or badness of that, one field being good and another bad, as Jarchi observes, but according to the quantity of seed which it produced, or rather which it required for the sowing of it:

an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver; which was near six pounds of our money; and here we must carefully distinguish between an "omer", beginning with an "o", and an "homer", beginning with an "h"; not observing this has led some learned men into mistakes in their notes on this place, for an "omer" was the tenth part of an "ephah", Exodus 16:36; and an "ephah" is but the tenth part of an "homer", Ezekiel 45:11; which makes a very great difference in this measure of barley, for an homer of it contained ten ephahs or bushels; and even according to this account a bushel of barley is rated very high, for ten bushels at fifty shekels, reckoning a shekel half a crown, or them at six pounds five shillings, are at the rate of twelve shillings and sixpence a bushel, which is too high a price for barley; wherefore as an ephah, the tenth part of an homer, contained three seahs or pecks, and which some call bushels, then an homer consisted of thirty bushels, which brings down the value of it to little more than two shillings a bushel, which is much nearer the true value of barley; but the truth of the matter is, that the value of barley for sowing is not ascertained, as our version leads us to think; for the words should be rendered, if the "seed be an homer of barley", it, the field, shall be valued "at fifty shekels of silver": if the field take so much seed to sow it as the quantity of an homer of barley, then it was to be rated at fifty shekels of silver; and if it took two homers, then it was to be rated at an hundred shekels, and so on.

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 {i} homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.

(i) Homer is a measure containing ten ephahs, read of an ephah in Ex 16:16,36.

16. fifty shekels of silver] meaning apparently that at the rate of one shekel a year this shall be the maximum amount of redemption payment. The standard in these cases was to be ‘the shekel of the sanctuary.’ See Driver, Exodus 30:13 (where the same words are used), for discussion as to the meaning and value of the shekel thus denominated.Verses 16-21. - In case a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession, that is, of his hereditary lands, the redemption price is fixed by the quantity of seed required for sowing it. If it requires a homer, or five bushels and a half, of barley seed to crop it, the redemption price is fifty shekels, or £6 9s. 2d., plus one-fifth, that is, £7 15s., supposing that the vow had been made in the year succeeding the jubilee; but if the vow was made at any time after the jubile, the value of the previous harvests was deducted from this sum. The amount does not seem to have been paid in a lump sum, but by annual installments of one shekel and one-fifth of a shekel, equal to 3s. 1 1/5 d., each year. In case he had sold his interest in the field up to the approaching jubilee before making his vow, then no redemption was allowed; he paid nothing, but the field passed from him to the sanctuary at the jubilee. When animals were vowed, of the cattle that were usually offered in sacrifice, everything that was given to Jehovah of these (i.e., dedicated to Him by vowing) was to be holy and not changed, i.e., exchanged, a good animal for a bad, or a bad one for a good. But if such an exchange should be made, the animal first dedicated and the one substituted were both to be holy (Leviticus 27:9, Leviticus 27:10). The expression "it shall be holy" unquestionably implies that an animal of this kind could not be redeemed; but if it was free from faults, it was offered in sacrifice: if, however, it was not fit for sacrifice on account of some blemish, it fell to the portion of the priests for their maintenance like the first-born of cattle (cf. Leviticus 27:33).
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