Gifts to the Temple and their Redemption Values

Leviticus 27:1-25

The Torah goes on to discuss different gifts a person might dedicate to the Tabernacle or Temple, and what it would cost to redeem them in the event that is necessary. It begins by discussing how much he must contribute if he vows to offer the value of a human life (his own or someone else’s). A man of military age in worth 50 silver shekels, a woman worth 30. A minor male over the age of five is worth 20 shekels, and under that he is worth five. A minor female is worth 10 over the age of five, and three if she is younger. A senior male is redeemed at 15 shekels, while a female is redeemed at 10. If the person making the vow cannot afford the set price, the priest may evaluate a price he can afford instead.

 

An animal which is promised to God may not be redeemed, and anyone who substitutes a different animal causes both animals to become holy for God. If the animal is not suitable for the Temple, the priest will set its redemption value, to which a fifth must be added. Likewise, if someone consecrates his house to God, the priest will determine its monetary value so the owner can redeem it, at the cost of an added fifth, for his own use.

 

If the donor consecrates his field, the redemption value should be set according to the number of years it can be worked before the Jubilee, along with an added fifth. If he does not redeem his field, it becomes the priest’s for all eternity and is not returned during Jubilee. If the field he consecrated was not his own heritage, but one he bought from someone else, he must pay its redemption fee, and the field reverts to its original owner in the Jubilee.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why might someone vow to donate their own worth or someone else’s to the Temple?

Comments ( 7 )

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  • Herman Arentsen

    I think that someone who vows to dedicate to the temple doesn't more than the most natural thing.
    Our Creator gave us life in order to serve Him not only on jom rishon (here in Europe) but serve HIM all of our lifes with all of our strength and all of our hearts. The properties we have are HIS and so it is the most natural way to live. Through eartly obligations (eg.family, work, earnings) we cannot respond to this most natural way of living. In that case I think that through clearly setting aside things for HIS service, temporarily or ad olam, one can show his/her willingness to be in the eternal original real natural bond/service.

  • Angela B

    I agree with most of you; one may vow to dedicate their worth or someone else's as a form of gratitude to Yahweh or to simply acknowledge that everything they own is Yahweh's. I also agree with the example of Hannah dedicating Samuel which was in thankfulness to Yahweh for having given her a son, and Jephthah dedicating his daughter which was in thankfulness of the victory Yahweh gave him in battle against Israel's enemies. However, I wish to correct Magda on the point of child sacrifice; these two acts by Hannah and Jephthah were not child sacrifice, they were dedication – it meant Samuel and Jephthah's daughter were to be dedicated entirely to the service of Yahweh all their lives. This meant they were not to marry as seen by Jephthah's daughter's request to her father — that she bewail her virginity for 2 months. See Judges 11:19-37.

  • Sheila

    A vow was a voluntary and solemn promise made to God and it needed to be carried out so the offerings and gifts associated with the vow were considered most holy to the Lord. As Ken mentioned, Hannah is a perfect example. Also Gen28:20-22 —Jacb’s vow at Bethelwas made to God as a promise in expectation of his favour. Because of God”s mercy , I dedicate my body —all that I am — as a living sacrifice to Him each day.

  • Magda

    Another interesting viewpoint that I have read, is that Torah does this to prevent practices (common in the Ancient Near East at that time) like child sacrifice (Jephta’s daughter) and mandatory temple slavery (Samuel). the amount is based on a person’s worth as a laborer.

  • Orli

    We all belong to God. To dedicate ourselves to Him is to simply acknowledge the obvious. All we are, all we own, all we do, all we can become is only Him.

  • Ken

    We have a beautiful example of this in the story of faithful Hannah. 1 Samuel 1:18-21 summarizes the costly loan of her very special son Samuel and the many blessings that resulted from her vow and her loan.

  • Diana Brown

    We know everything created by the Lord’s is His. He allows us to steward things for Him in a shared partnership of trusting faithfulness. Dedicating what we steward for Him back to Him is a heart thing.
    For example, when I worked as a social worker, I always dedicated my car for His Purposes. That way when I worked late into the night on a family situation and was further from my home than I wanted to be at the end of the workday, I took comfort in the fact that I gave the Lord my car to use to help the people I was assigned to engage with. I knew the Lord would care for me in my work and travels because He was my Hope and Refuge, a very present help in time of trouble. It brought peace to my soul.
    Dedication needs to be thoughtfully and not impulsively done so our emotions won’t cloud our perceptions. The Lord knows we are but dust. He loves us in spite of our frail state. He also rewards us to aim higher and drawing near to Him. However, He does want us to reason with Him so our lives aren’t constant trainwrecks. After all, we are to be light bearers of His Truth to those were are perishing. How can we rescue others and need to be rescued ourselves? That is the mystery of the Grace of God. I can’t explain it but I do believe in it. Once I heard….”when you come to the end of yourself and all you have is God, you will find God is all you need.” I believe this.

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