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Scripture reading – Numbers 29-30

We began a study of instructions regarding the offerings required by the LORD in Numbers 28 and continued with the same through Numbers 29. Because we have considered the same sacrifices and feasts in earlier devotionals (Leviticus 16 and Leviticus 23), I will limit my study of Numbers 29 to a summary of the offerings and feast days.

Numbers 29

The Law of the Offerings (continued from Numbers 28)

The Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Numbers 29:1-11)

The “Feast of Trumpets” marked the beginning of a new year on the Hebrew calendar (29:1-6), and was followed by the holiest of days, the “Day of Atonement” (29:7-11).  Also known as “Yom Kippur,” the Day of Atonement was the only day the high priest entered the holy of holies with the blood of sacrifice (Leviticus 16).

Of course, believers no longer need a high priest or the blood of sacrifices because Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirement of the sacrificial Passover lamb. By His death on the Cross, He is our High Priest (1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 7:22-28; 9:11-28; 10:19-22).

The “Feast of Tabernacles” (Numbers 29:12-40)

The “Feast of Tabernacles” (29:12-34), also known as Sukkot, followed the “Day of Atonement” and was observed by Israel as a celebration of the harvest. Lasting seven days, the Feast of Tabernacles began with a Sabbath Rest (29:12) and ended with a Sabbath of Rest (29:35-38). Finally, the sacrifices were presented to the LORD for all the congregation (29:39-40).

Numbers 30

The Making and Breaking of Promises and Vows (Numbers 30:1-2)

In my lifetime, I have witnessed a shift in our society’s character from where a man’s word and a handshake were binding, compared to today when contracts are breached without so much as an apology. Therefore, it may surprise you to learn the LORD’s judgment regarding promises and vows (Leviticus 27).

King Solomon warned, “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:4–5).

Vows and covenants were not to be treated lightly, and once a man made a vow, it was binding. There was no exception for men; however, God benevolently allowed for an exception in daughters and wives who might have made hasty, ill-advised vows (30:3-8, 10-15).

Spiritual lesson – Fathers and husbands are accountable and responsible for caring for and protecting the women in their lives.

Sadly, with the demand for “women’s rights,” a man’s privilege of protecting his daughters and wife has been neglected in the 21st century. Consider the vows, pledges, and contracts in Numbers 30 and God’s compassionate care of women (Numbers 30:3-16).

An Unmarried Daughter’s Vow (Numbers 30:3-5)

A daughter, living in her father’s household, was by law under his protection (30:3-5). Should a daughter bind herself with a vow, and upon her father hearing of it but saying nothing, she could not be released from her vow (30:4). However, should a daughter vow, and the father hear of it, he had the authority to recant her vow, and her vow would not be binding (30:5).

A Young Wife’s Vow (Numbers 30:6-8)

When a woman married, she was no longer under her father’s authority but that of her husband. Should she make a vow, and her husband hears but says nothing regarding it, his wife was bound by her vow (30:6-7). A husband, however, hearing of a wife’s vow, had the authority to cancel her oath, and “the LORD [would] forgive her” (30:8).

The Vow of a Widowed or Divorced Woman (Numbers 30:9)

Women who were widowed or divorced were not under the authority of any man. Therefore, they were bound by their vows to the LORD and could not recant them (30:9). Widowed and divorced women were under obligation to fulfill their pledges.

A Wife’s Vows (Numbers 30:10-15)

The law concerning the vows of a wife served as a reminder that she was not only under her husband’s authority but was also under his protection. A husband had the authority to intervene, terminate his wife’s vow, or allow it to stand (30:10-16). Once he learned of her vow, he carried the weight of determining whether or not he would intervene.

Nevertheless, should the husband cause his wife to break her vow unadvisedly, he would do so, bearing the responsibility of “her iniquity” and, therefore, her judgment (30:15).

Closing thoughts:

A man was bound and accountable to God for caring for his wife and daughter(s) as long as they were in his household (30:16). Even so, though society has changed, godly men will love, care, and protect women in their lives. Furthermore, wives and daughters should take comfort in this:

The weight of the axe of God’s judgment hangs over their father or husband.

Questions to consider:

1) What was the law of God concerning vows made by men? (Numbers 30:1)

2) What was the will of God should a daughter make an ill-advised vow? (Numbers 30:3-5)

3) Why should widows and divorced women be especially careful when making a vow? (Numbers 30:9)

4) Who would bear the judgment should a husband cancel his wife’s vow? (Numbers 30:15)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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