The first vow recorded in the bible was that of Jacob. His father Isaac had told him to take of himself a wife from the daughters of his uncle Laban, and had given him the blessing of his father, Abraham. Jacob had dreamed the dream of the ladder set on the earth with its top reaching from heaven with the angels of God ascending and descending. God spoke to him and said, "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham" and blessed Jacob with the promise given to Abraham, that of giving him the land and the promise that of his descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Jacob made a vow saying "If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father's house in safety, then the Lord will be my God." God gave that to Jacob and more, though it took twenty years. He really didn't even need to make the vow, God always was and always will be the God of Jacob. But God honored Jacob's vow and Jacob did also.

When Moses gave his commandments concerning the burnt offerings, the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings shall be eaten the same day. If the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, it was not required that it be eaten the same day but whatever was left over could be eaten the next day. It was an abomination to eat it on the third day. Laws like this served as types toward the Christian era. Peace offerings to accomplish a vow were to be perfect, without blemish. A vow was to be valued according to the age and sex of the person making the vow. Many would shave their head like Paul did when he made a vow. They would purify themselves. Nazarite vows were a call to separate from worldly pleasures, to be clean, holy and consecrated. This is the Christian call to sanctification when we vow to serve the Lord. If even one man in the congregation does not fulfill the requirements concerning the vow, it was up to the priest to make an atonement for the whole congregation.

A vow is very serious. These are statutes which the Lord commanded Moses. "If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth." "When you shall vow a vow unto the Lord your God, you shall not slack to pay it: for the Lord your God will surely require it of you and it would be sin in you. But if you shall forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in you." Solomon writes, "When you vow a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools: pay that which you have vowed. Better is it that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay."

Every vow under Jewish law required a trip to Jerusalem. They were legally bound to make an offering in the temple. Jephthah vowed to the Lord that all under his household would be the Lord's if the Lord would fight against his enemies. The Lord delivered them into his hands and Jephthah was obedient. The Lord had shut up Hannah's womb until she had vowed to give a manchild to the Lord and Samuel was born. David's son Absalom stole the hearts of Israel and vowed a vow to serve the Lord but was disobedient and was killed. David vowed a vow to build a habitation to the God of Jacob and it was fulfilled with Solomon's Temple. "Praise waits for you, Oh God, in Zion," sings David, "and unto you shall the vow be performed. Oh you that hears prayer, unto you shall all flesh come." God responded through David, "If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon your throne for evermore." "Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God: let all that be round about Him bring presents unto Him that ought to be feared."
[291, Genesis 28, Leviticus 7, 22, 27, Numbers 6, 15, 30, Deuteronomy 23, Judges 11, Psalms 65, Ecclesiates 5, Acts 18, 21]

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