Numbers 30:3
If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth;
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(3) If a woman also . . . —Four distinct cases are contemplated in the following verses in regard to vows taken by women:—(1) that of an unmarried woman, living, in her youth, in the house of her father; (2) that of a woman who is unmarried at the time of making a vow, but enters into the state of marriage before the vow is fulfilled; (3) that of a widow, or of a divorced woman; and (4) that of a married woman. The sanctity and obligations of the fifth commandment are distinctly recognised and enforced in these verses. (See Matthew 15:4-5.) Whenever the vow which the young daughter had made should come to the ears of her father, he had the power either to ratify or to disannul it. If he remained silent the vow was ratified; if he disallowed the vow, the obligation to fulfil it no longer remained in force.

30:3-16 Two cases of vows are determined. The case of a daughter in her father's house. When her vow comes to his knowledge, it is in his power either to confirm it or do it away. The law is plain in the case of a wife. If her husband allows her vow, though only by silence, it stands. If he disallows it, her obligation to her husband takes place of it; for to him she ought to be in subjection, as unto the Lord. The Divine law consults the good order of families. It is fit that every man should bear rule in his own house, and have his wife and children in subjection; rather than that this great rule should be broken, or any encouragement be given to inferior relations to break those bonds asunder, God releases the obligation even of a solemn vow. So much does religion secure the welfare of all societies; and in it the families of the earth have a blessing.Being in her father's house in her youth - It was not ordinarily until her betrothal or marriage, that the female passed (some suppose by purchase) from the power of her father to that of her husband. 3. If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth—Girls only are specified; but minors of the other sex, who resided under the parental roof, were included, according to Jewish writers, who also consider the name "father" as comprehending all guardians of youth. We are also told that the age at which young people were deemed capable of vowing was thirteen for boys and twelve for girls. The judgment of a father or guardian on the vow of any under his charge might be given either by an expressed approval or by silence, which was to be construed as approval. But in the case of a husband who, after silence from day to day, should ultimately disapprove or hinder his wife's vow, the sin of non-performance was to be imputed to him and not to her [Nu 30:15]. If a woman, or a man in the same circumstances, a son or a servant, as plainly appears from hence, because the reason of this law is perfectly the same in both sexes, which is, that such persons have given away what was not their own, but another’s, even their superior’s right, which is against the rule and law of natural reason, and against the word of God, which binds all persons to give to every one their due. He instanceth only in the woman, because that sex is both by creation and sin put into a state of subjection, but under the chief and most unquestionable kind all other subjects in like circumstances are comprehended, as is very usual.

Being in her father’s house, i.e. under his care, power, and government, which she is whilst she continues in her father’s house, being a virgin, as appears by the opposition of a married woman, Numbers 30:6, and of a widow, and divorced woman, Numbers 30:9, and by this phrase of being in her father’s house, for when she marries, she is removed into her husband’s house, Ruth 1:9. Or, being in, or of her father’s family, the word house being commonly used for family; for when she marries, she is translated and removed into another family.

In her youth; when not only her sex, but her age, disenables her for vowing; and this clause is added not by way of restriction, as if’ virgins in their riper years were freed from their parents’ jurisdiction, and at their own disposal, (which undoubtedly they are not,) but by way of addition, or amplification, q.d. especially (which particle is here to be understood, such defects of particles being frequent in the Hebrew tongue) in her youth, which is commonly reckoned about her twelfth or thirteenth year.

If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord,.... Who has not passed thirteen years, as the Targum of Jonathan:

and bind herself by a bond; lay herself under obligation to perform her vow by an oath: being in her father's house; unto the twelfth year, as the same Targum; that is, that is under his care, tuition, and jurisdiction, whether she literally, or properly speaking, is in the house or no at the time she vows; so Jarchi interprets it of her being in the power of her father, though not in his house, she being not at age to be at her own disposal, but at his: wherefore it is added:

in her youth; which, as the same writer explains it, signifies that she is"neither a little one, nor at age; for a little one's vow is no vow, and one at age is not in the power of her father to make void her vow: who is a little one? our Rabbins say, one of eleven years of age and one day, her vows are examined, whether she knows on whose account she vows and consecrates, or devotes anything; one vows a vow that is twelve years and one day old, there is no need to examine them.''He seems to refer to a passage in the Misnah (t),"a daughter of eleven years and one day, her vows are examined; a daughter of twelve years and one day, her vows are firm, but they are to be examined through the whole twelfth year.''

(t) Niddah, c. 5. sect. 6.

If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth;
3. in her youth] Old unmarried women are not mentioned. But since marriage was, in the eyes of a Jew, a religious duty, this class of women must have been very small, and would probably be subject to the same rule as widows.

Verse 3. - If a woman vow a vow. The fragmentary nature of this section appears from the fact that, after laying down the general principle of the sacredness of vows, it proceeds to qualify it in three special cases only of vows made by women under authority. That vows made by boys were irreversible is exceedingly unlikely; and indeed it is obvious that many cases must have occurred, neither mentioned here nor in Leviticus 27, in which the obligation could not stand absolute. In her father's house in her youth. Case first, of a girl in her father's house, who had no property of her own, and whose personal services were due to her father. Numbers 30:3Numbers 30:3-15 contain the rules relating to positive and negative vows made by a woman, and four different examples are given. The first case (Numbers 30:3-5) is that of a woman in her youth, while still unmarried, and living in her father's house. If she made a vow of performance or abstinence, and her father heard of it and remained silent, it was to stand, i.e., to remain in force. But if her father held her back when he heard of it, i.e., forbade her fulfilling it, it was not to stand or remain in force, and Jehovah would forgive her because of her father's refusal. Obedience to a father stood higher than a self-imposed religious service. - The second case (Numbers 30:6-8) was that of a vow of performance or abstinence, made by a woman before her marriage, and brought along with her (עליה, "upon herself") into her marriage. In such a case the husband had to decide as to its validity, in the same way as the father before her marriage. In the day when he heard of it he could hold back his wife, i.e., dissolve her vow; but if he did not do this at once, he could not hinder its fulfilment afterwards. שׂפתיה מבטא, gossip of her lips, that which is uttered thoughtlessly or without reflection (cf. Leviticus 5:4). This expression implies that vows of abstinence were often made by unmarried women without thought or reflection. - The third case (Numbers 30:9) was that of a vow made by a widow or divorced woman. Such a vow had full force, because the woman was not dependent upon a husband. - The fourth case (Numbers 30:10-12) was that of a vow made by a wife in her married state. Such a vow was to remain in force if her husband remained silent when he heard of it, and did not restrain her. On the other hand, it was to have no force if her husband dissolved it at once. After this there follows the general statement (Numbers 30:13-16), that a husband could establish or dissolve every vow of performance or abstinence made by his wife. If, however, he remained silent "from day to day," he confirmed it by his silence; and if afterwards he should declare it void, he was to bear his wife's iniquity. עונה, the sin which the wife would have had to bear if she had broken the vow of her own accord. This consisted either in a sin-offering to expiate her sin (Leviticus 5:4.); or if this was omitted, in the punishment which God suspended over the sin (Leviticus 5:1).
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