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Redemption of Vowed People
1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When a man makes a special votive offering#tn Cf. the note on Lev 22:21. Some take this as an expression for fulfilling a vow, “to fulfill a vow” (e.g., HALOT 927-28 s.v. פלא piel and NASB; cf. NRSV “in fulfillment of a vow”) or, alternatively, “to make a vow” or “for making a vow” (HALOT 928 s.v. פלא piel [II פלא]). Perhaps it refers to the making a special vow, from the verb פָלָא (pala’, “to be wonderful; to be remarkable”), cf. Milgrom, Numbers [JPSTC], 44. B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 151 and 193, suggests that this is a special term for “setting aside a votive offering” (related to פָלָה, palah, “to set aside”). In general, the point of the expression seems to be that this sacrifice is a special gift to God that arose out of special circumstances in the life of the worshiper. based on the conversion value of persons to the Lord,#tn Heb “in your valuation, persons to the Lord,” but “in your valuation” is a frozen form and, therefore, the person (“your”) does not figure into the translation (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 73). Instead of offering a person to the Lord one could redeem that person with the appropriate amount of money delineated in the following verses (see the note on Lev 5:15 above and the explanation in Hartley, 480-81). 3 the conversion value of the male#tn Heb “your conversion value shall be [for] the male.” from twenty years old up to sixty years old#tn Heb “from a son of twenty years and until a son of sixty years.” is fifty shekels by the standard of the sanctuary shekel.#tn See the note on Lev 5:15. 4 If the person is a female, the conversion value is thirty shekels. 5 If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, the conversion value of the male is twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 6 If the person is one month old up to five years old, the conversion value of the male is five shekels of silver,#tn Heb “five shekels silver.” and for the female the conversion value is three shekels of silver. 7 If the person is from sixty years old and older, if he is a male the conversion value is fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 8 If he is too poor to pay the conversion value, he must stand the person before the priest and the priest will establish his conversion value;#tn Heb “and the priest shall cause him to be valued.” according to what the man who made the vow can afford,#tn Heb “on the mouth which the hand of the one who vowed reaches.” the priest will establish his conversion value.
Redemption of Vowed Animals
9 “‘If what is vowed is a kind of animal from which an offering may be presented#tn Heb “which they may present from it an offering.” The plural active verb is sometimes best rendered in the passive (GKC 460 §144.f, g). Some medieval Hebrew mss, Smr, a ms of the Targum, and the Vulgate all have the singular verb instead (cf. similarly v. 11). to the Lord, anything which he gives to the Lord from this kind of animal#tn Heb “from it.” The masculine suffix “it” here is used for the feminine in the MT, but one medieval Hebrew ms, some mss of Smr, the LXX, and the Syriac have the feminine. The referent (this kind of animal) has been specified in the translation for clarity. will be holy. 10 He must not replace or exchange it, good for bad or bad for good, and if he does indeed exchange one animal for another animal, then both the original animal#tn Heb “it and its substitute.” The referent (the original animal offered) has been specified in the translation for clarity. and its substitute will be holy. 11 If what is vowed is an unclean animal from which an offering must not be presented to the Lord, then he must stand the animal before the priest, 12 and the priest will establish its conversion value,#tn Heb “and the priest shall cause it to be valued.” See the note on v. 8 above. whether good or bad. According to the assessed conversion value of the priest, thus it will be. 13 If, however, the person who made the vow redeems the animal,#tn Heb “And if redeeming [infinitive absolute] he redeems it [finite verb].” For the infinitive absolute used to highlight contrast rather than emphasis see GKC 343 §113.p. The referent of “he” (the person who made the vow) and “it” (the animal) have both been specified in the translation for clarity. he must add one fifth to#tn Heb “on,” meaning “on top of, in addition to” (likewise in v. 15). its conversion value.
Redemption of Vowed Houses
14 “‘If a man consecrates his house as holy to the Lord, the priest will establish its conversion value, whether good or bad. Just as the priest establishes its conversion value, thus it will stand.#tn The expression “it shall stand” may be a technical term for “it shall be legally valid”; cf. NLT “assessment will be final.” 15 If the one who consecrates it redeems his house, he must add to it one fifth of its conversion value in silver, and it will belong to him.#tn Heb “and it shall be to him.”
Redemption of Vowed Fields
16 “‘If a man consecrates to the Lord some of his own landed property, the conversion value must be calculated in accordance with the amount of seed needed to sow it,#tn Heb “a conversion value shall be to the mouth of its seed.” a homer of barley seed being priced at fifty shekels of silver.#tn Heb “seed of a homer of barley in fifty shekels of silver.” 17 If he consecrates his field in the jubilee year,#tn Heb “from the year of the jubilee.” For the meaning of “jubilee,” see the note on Lev 25:10 above. the conversion value will stand, 18 but if#tn Heb “And if.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have adversative force here. he consecrates his field after the jubilee, the priest will calculate the price#tn Heb “the silver.” for him according to the years that are left until the next jubilee year, and it will be deducted from the conversion value. 19 If, however, the one who consecrated the field redeems it,#tn Heb “And if redeeming [infinitive absolute] he redeems [finite verb] the field, the one who consecrated it.” For the infinitive absolute used to highlight contrast rather than emphasis see GKC 343 §113.p. he must add to it one fifth of the conversion price#tn Heb “the silver of the conversion value.” and it will belong to him.#tn Heb “and it shall rise to him.” See HALOT 1087 s.v. קום 7 for the rendering offered here, but see also the note on the end of v. 14 above (cf. J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 476, 478). 20 If he does not redeem the field, but sells#tn Heb “and if he sells.” the field to someone else, he may never redeem it. 21 When it reverts#tn Heb “When it goes out” (cf. Lev 25:25-34). in the jubilee, the field will be holy to the Lord like a permanently dedicated field;#tn Heb “like the field of the permanent dedication.” The Hebrew word חֵרֶם (kherem) is a much discussed term. In this and the following verses it refers in a general way to the fact that something is permanently devoted to the Lord and therefore cannot be redeemed (cf. v. 20b). See J. A. Naudé, NIDOTTE 2:276-77; N. Lohfink, TDOT 5:180-99, esp. pp. 184, 188, and 198-99; and the numerous explanations in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 483-85. it will become the priest’s property.#tn Heb “to the priest it shall be his property.”
22 “‘If he consecrates to the Lord a field he has purchased,#tn Heb “his field of purchase,” which is to be distinguished from his own ancestral “landed property” (cf. v. 16 above). which is not part of his own landed property, 23 the priest will calculate for him the amount of its conversion value until the jubilee year, and he must pay#tn Heb “give” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NLT). the conversion value on that jubilee day as something that is holy to the Lord. 24 In the jubilee year the field will return to the one from whom he bought it, the one to whom it belongs as landed property. 25 Every conversion value must be calculated by the standard of the sanctuary shekel;#tn See the note on Lev 5:15. twenty gerahs to the shekel.
Redemption of the Firstborn
26 “‘Surely no man may consecrate a firstborn that already belongs to the Lord as a firstborn among the animals; whether it is an ox or a sheep, it belongs to the Lord.#tn Heb “to the Lord it is.” 27 If, however,#tn Heb “And if.” it is among the unclean animals, he may ransom it according to#tn Heb “in” or “by.” its conversion value and must add one fifth to it, but if it is not redeemed it must be sold according to its conversion value.
Things Permanently Dedicated to the Lord
28 “‘Surely anything which a man permanently dedicates to the Lord#tn Heb “Surely, any permanently dedicated [thing] which a man shall permanently dedicate to the Lord.” The Hebrew term חֵרֶם (kherem) refers to things that are devoted permanently to the Lord (see the note on v. 21 above). from all that belongs to him, whether from people, animals, or his landed property, must be neither sold nor redeemed; anything permanently dedicated is most holy to the Lord. 29 Any human being who is permanently dedicated#tn Heb “permanently dedicated from among men.” must not be ransomed; such a person must be put to death.
Redemption of the Tithe
30 “‘Any tithe#tn On the “tithe” system in Israel, see R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:1035-55 and esp. pp. 1041-42 on Lev 27:30-33. of the land, from the grain of the land or from the fruit of the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man redeems#tn Heb “And if redeeming [infinitive absolute] a man redeems [finite verb].” For the infinitive absolute used to highlight contrast rather than emphasis see GKC 343 §113.p. part of his tithe, however, he must add one fifth to it.#tn Heb “its one fifth on it.” 32 All the tithe of herd or flock, everything which passes under the rod, the tenth one will be holy to the Lord.#sn The tithed animal was the tenth one that passed under the shepherd’s rod or staff as they were being counted (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 485, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 200). 33 The owner#tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner of the animal) has been specified in the translation for clarity. must not examine the animals to distinguish between good and bad, and he must not exchange it. If, however, he does exchange it,#tn Heb “And if exchanging [infinitive absolute] he exchanges it [finite verb].” For the infinitive absolute used to highlight contrast rather than emphasis see GKC 343 §113.p. both the original animal#tn Heb “it and its substitute.” The referent (the original animal offered) has been specified in the translation for clarity. and its substitute will be holy.#tn Heb “it shall be and its substitute shall be holy.” It must not be redeemed.’”
Final Colophon
34 These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses to tell the Israelites#tn Most of the commentaries and English versions translate, “which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel.” The preposition אֶל (’el), however, does not usually mean “for.” In this book it is commonly used when the Lord commands Moses “to speak [un]to” a person or group of persons (see, e.g., Lev 1:2; 4:2, etc.). The translation “to tell” here reflects this pattern in the book of Leviticus. at Mount Sinai.
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