Leviticus 27:3
And your estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even to sixty years old, even your estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) And thy estimation shall be of the male.—Better, Then thy estimation of the male shall be (as follows).

From twenty years old even unto sixty years old.—The estimation not only begins with the male, who is the most important person, but takes special notice of his age. The years here specified represent the prime of his life, and he is to be rated not according to his rank or position, but according to the value of his services.

Fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.—Whether the person who makes this vow makes it with regard to himself, or whether he dedicates by it any other member of the community, he is to pay fifty silver shekels, which in our currency would be £6 9s. 2d., if the man thus consecrated is between twenty and sixty years of age. This sum he is to pay, whether rich or poor. For this sum he was liable, during the second Temple, if he said “My value be upon me,” or “This man’s value be upon me,” or “Such a man’s value be upon me.”

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.Rather, When a man makes a special vow which concerns thy valuation of persons to Yahweh, if thy estimation shall be of the male, etc. The expression "thy estimation" is addressed either to Moses or to the priest Leviticus 27:12 : it denoted a legal valuation. The vow of a person was perhaps most frequently made in cases of illness or danger, under the impulse of religions feeling, either in the way of thankfulness for blessings received, or of supplication for something desired. A man might dedicate himself, his wife, his child, or his bondservant. This might have been an old custom; but the Law ordained that he who had taken such a vow should pay a sum of money to the sanctuary, determined according to the age and sex of the person. 2-8. When a man shall make a singular vow, &c.—Persons have, at all times and in all places, been accustomed to present votive offerings, either from gratitude for benefits received, or in the event of deliverance from apprehended evil. And Moses was empowered, by divine authority, to prescribe the conditions of this voluntary duty.

the persons shall be for the Lord, &c.—better rendered thus:—"According to thy estimation, the persons shall be for the Lord." Persons might consecrate themselves or their children to the divine service, in some inferior or servile kind of work about the sanctuary (1Sa 3:1). In the event of any change, the persons so devoted had the privilege in their power of redeeming themselves; and this chapter specifies the amount of the redemption money, which the priest had the discretionary power of reducing, as circumstances might seem to require. Those of mature age, between twenty and sixty, being capable of the greatest service, were rated highest; young people, from five till twenty, less, because not so serviceable; infants, though devotable by their parents before birth (1Sa 1:11), could not be offered nor redeemed till a month after birth; old people were valued below the young, but above children; and the poor—in no case freed from payment, in order to prevent the rash formation of vows—were rated according to their means.

From twenty years old to sixty years old is the best time for strength and service, and therefore is prized at the highest rate. And thy estimation shall be,.... The estimation of the man himself that vowed, or of the priest for him, was not left to be made by either of them at their pleasure, but was to be made according to the following rules, in proportion to the age a person was of to be estimated:

of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old: the account begins with these, because men of an age from the one to the other are fittest for labour, and therefore to be set at the highest price, as they are in the next clause:

even that estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary; a shekel was about half a crown of our money, or somewhat less, so that fifty of these amounted to about six pounds: these shekels were to be of the full weight, according to the standard that was kept in the sanctuary, and were the highest price that was set upon any; and this was paid equally by all of the same age, whether rich or poor: hence it is said,"in estimations there is nothing less than one shekel, nor more than fifty (n).''

(n) Misn. Eracin, c. 2. sect. 1.

And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty {c} shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.

(c) Read the value of the shekel in Ex 30:13.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the shekel of the sanctuary] See on Leviticus 5:15.Verses 3-7. - The sum at which a man between twenty and sixty years of age was to be redeemed was fifty shekels, equal to £6 9s. 2d.; a woman, thirty shekels, or £3 17s. 6d.; a youth between five and twenty years of age, twenty shekels, or £2 11s. 8d.; a maiden between the same ages, ten shekels, or £1 5s. 10d.; a boy between one month and five years, five shekels, or 12s. 11d.; a girl between the same ages, three shekels, or 7s. 9d.; a man above sixty years, fifteen shekels, or £1 18s. 9d.; a woman of the same age, ten shekels, or £1 5s. 10d. In this state of pining away under their enemies, they would confess to themselves their own and their fathers' sins, i.e., would make the discovery that their sufferings were a punishment from God for their sins, and acknowledge that they were suffering what they had deserved, through their unfaithfulness to their God and rebellion against Him, for which He had been obliged to set Himself in hostility to them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; or rather their uncircumcised hearts would then humble themselves, and they would look with satisfaction upon this fruit of their sin. The construction is the following: וזכרתּי (Leviticus 26:42) corresponds to התודּוּ (Leviticus 26:40) as the apodosis; so that, according to the more strictly logical connection, which is customary in our language, we may unite Leviticus 26:40, Leviticus 26:41 in one period with Leviticus 26:42. "If they shall confess their iniquity...or rather their uncircumcised heart shall humble itself...I will remember My covenant." With בּמעלם a parenthetical clause is introduced into the main sentence explanatory of the iniquity, and reaches as far as "into the land of their enemies." With יכּנע או־אז, "or if, etc.," the main sentence is resumed. או, "or rather" (as in 1 Samuel 29:3), bringing out the humiliation of the heart as the most important result to which the confession of sin ought to deepen itself. The heart is called "uncircumcised" as being unsanctified, and not susceptible to the manifestations of divine grace. את־עונם ירצוּ וץ̓הןךח́ףןץףי פב̀ע ב̓לבספי́בע בץ̓פש͂ם (lxx), they will take pleasure, rejoice in their misdeeds, i.e., in the consequences and results of them-that their misdeed have so deeply humbled them, and brought them to the knowledge of the corruption into which they have fallen: a bold and, so to speak, paradoxical expression for their complete change of heart, which we may render thus: "they will enjoy their misdeeds," as רצה may be rendered in the same way in Leviticus 26:43 also.

(Note: Luther has translated עון in this sense, "punishment of iniquity," and observes in the marginal notes, - "(Pleasure), i.e., just as they had pleasure in their sins and felt disgust at My laws, so they would now take pleasure in their punishment and say, 'We have just what we deserve. This is what we have to thank our cursed sin for. It is just, O God, quite just.' And these are thoughts and words of earnest repentance, hating itself from the bottom of the heart, and crying out, Shame upon me, what have I done? This pleases God, so that He becomes gracious once more.")

But where punishment bears such fruit, God looks upon the sinner with favour again. When Israel had gone so far, He would remember His covenant with the fathers ("My covenant with Jacob," יעקב בּריתי: the suffix is attached to the governing noun, as in Leviticus 6:3, because the noun governed, being a proper name, could not take the suffix), and remember the land (including its inhabitants), which, as is repeated again in Leviticus 26:43, would be left by them (become desolate) and enjoy its Sabbaths whilst it was waste (depopulated) from (i.e., away from, without) them; and they would enjoy their iniquity, because they had despised the judgments of the Lord, and their soul had rejected His statues.

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