Numbers 30

Numbers 30 is about God’s commandments regarding vows.  For a man, God’s law was pretty simple.  “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth”.  You say it as a vow, and you are bound to it.  The power of the spoken word is made very clear here.  It is not anything to mess around with.  If we make a vow, we need to fulfill it.

But the balance of the chapter focuses on women and the vows they may make.  This chapter makes it clear that a woman is under the protection of her father, or her husband if she has one, when it comes to vows.  Either a father or husband could oppose a vow that his daughter or wife made, and that would nullify what was said.  Men didn’t have that luxury – a sort of take it back option.  But women were not only under the authority, but more importantly under the protection of the man in their patch.

This really gives us a picture of God’s design for the family and marriage, and defines the real definition of submission.  It is about protection, not giving orders and telling someone what to do.  Submission simply put is to come under the authority and protection of another – and in God’s design – that is daughters and wives for the most part.  God’s plan at this time said “if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand”.

The husband or father not only had the final authority, but more importantly carried the responsibility.  “Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, her husband may establish, or her husband may make void”.  A lot of times women may bristle at the thought of submission.  That’s because the focus hasn’t really been on the true definition according to God’s plan, but man’s twisted definition of lording over and taking advantage of a woman.  God’s design makes it a beautiful thing.  Man’s twisting of that design has made it less than desirable and positive.  But as we see here, God is providing a place of protection and makes the man responsible to pay attention and take action to protect his wife or daughter.

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