Day 75: The keeping of vows

Numbers 30:1-16 This unique passage describes the laws regarding vows taken by women, primarily related to marriage and to vows taken while single. According to the culture OF THAT TIME, women were always subject to their fathers or husbands.


Deuteronomy Ch 29-30 These chapters elaborate on the covenant between Moses and the people at Moab. The content of these chapters reiterates the covenant made at Mt. Sinai (Horeb). This covenant largely reflects the Deuteronomic Code (cf. Chapters 12-26). (CCC 708)


Psalm 113 This is the first of six consecutive psalms of praise (or Hallel) in gratitude for Israel’s liberation from Egypt and their eventual arrival in the Promised Land. It touches upon both the transcendence and immanence of God, who is far beyond us in perfection and splendor but nevertheless present to us with his power and love. Nothing would stay in existence without the providential consent of his will. God, in his infinite mercy and love, is especially close to those who suffer afflictions.


Looks far down: A more literal translation of the Hebrew might state that God “stoops” or “bends down” to be closer to those who surfer and to give them honor and joy. (Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, May 18, 2005)


Praise the name of the Lord: God’s name must only be invoked with utmost respect and reverence. To abuse his name by profane language, blasphemy, or ridicule is an offense against the Second Commandment.


He raises the poor...needy: This portion of the psalm expresses a praise that coincides with the words of Mary, who in the Magnificat exclaimed that the Lord has “exalted those of low degree” (Lk 1:52). (CCC 2143, 2378)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 29: Covenant in Moab (Deuteronomy 29:1-29)

In Moab, God renews his covenant with Israel, giving them an expanded law code, which is expressed predominantly in Deuteronomy (Deut 29:1). These new laws are given in response to the BAAL OF PEOR episode (Num 25), in which Israel committed the twin sins of IDOLATRY and SEXUAL IMMORALITY.

  • Keep in mind that we are getting to the last chapters in Numbers and Deuteronomy

  • As the story of the Desert Wanderings Time Period comes to a close, we are going to hear some rules (big surprise, eh?)

  • The timelines are converging Numbers is the beginning, Deuteronomy is the end

  • Fr. Mike says, “Man oh man” a lot.

  • I am not annoyed by this, are you?

  • Numbers 29 is a review of the gifts of the feasts

  • Feast of Booths

  • Feast of Trumpets

  • Day of Atonement - “you shall afflict yourselves” It is a day of sorrow for sins

  • The people would remind themselves of their sins and offer sacrifices

  • You may have noticed the repetition on the offerings at the Feast of Booths

  • The one thing that changed every day, beginning on the first day there were 13 young bulls, then on the second day 12 young bulls and so on and so forth

  • At the 7th day there would be 7 bulls

  • And on the 8th day, a SOLEMN ASSEMBLY, then ONE BULL, ONE RAM, and 7 MALE LAMBS were offered to the Lord

  • The days were marked by these offerings

  • The people were offering so many things during this feast

  • Why?

  • Because it is the FEAST OF ABUNDANCE

  • The Lord gave the people SO MUCH, so they are going to give back to the Lord SO MUCH

  • God doesn’t NEED this

  • But God has ASKED THIS of us

  • In our abundance, to give in abundance is one of the things that is such an incredible blessing

  • When we are surrounded by abundance, to GIVE out of that abundance is such a gift

  • This is what the Feast of Booths is all about

  • Numbers 30 talks about KEEPING OF VOWS

  • The difference between when a man makes a vow, he shall keep the vow

  • It does talk about the dynamic between a man and a woman keeping a vow

  • If a woman is widowed, not married, or not living under her father’s or husband’s home, then she is in control of her own vows

  • In Genesis 3 there is this balance when it comes to the life of the People of Israel

  • The balance has to do with the fact that while men and women, male and female, are created EQUAL IN THEIR DIGNITY

  • EQUALLY MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE AND LIKENESS

  • BECAUSE OF THE FALL, there is a sense of IMBALANCE

  • We don’t like this and it is unfair in some ways

  • The law here when it comes to the woman’s father or husband is able to cancel out the woman’s vow IS NOT because it is the way it OUGHT TO BE

  • It is ascribing THAT’S HOW LIFE IS IN A BROKEN WORLD

  • This is IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND

  • WE DO NOT LIVE IN AN IDEAL WORLD

  • EVERY ONE OF THE LAWS IS NOT WRITTEN FOR AN IDEAL WORLD

  • All the Laws of Leviticus and Numbers are given to the People of Israel BECAUSE THEY ARE LIVING IN A BROKEN WORLD

  • You do not need to give Laws to people that are NOT LIVING IN A BROKEN WORLD

  • God is giving the NEXT STEP to these people

  • When you are living in a relationship with each other and with God, your temptation is going to be to use each other, to manipulate each other, to dominate each other, to ignore God, or to NOT GIVE TO GOD WHAT HE IS DUE

  • The law is here to PUT A CAP ON ALL THOSE THINGS

  • These laws do not fit in OUR TIME AND PLACE NECESSARILY

  • When it comes to VOWS, a Vow is defined as a PROMISE MADE TO GOD

  • That VOW IS BINDING

  • A VOW is not the same as a RESOLUTION

  • Any time we make a VOW or PROMISE TO GOD, it is REALLY SERIOUS

  • So much so that here in Numbers it talks about that if you are RELEASED from a Vow, it will not be held against you

  • If you are NOT RELEASED FROM YOUR VOW, or you DO NOT LIVE UP TO YOUR VOW, then it WILL BE HELD AGAINST YOU

  • This is a SERIOUS THING to make a PROMISE TO THE LORD

  • It is one of the reasons Jesus talks about RASH OATHS and TAKING THE VOW LIGHTLY

  • Jesus said, “Don’t swear upon the hair on your head because you can’t make one hair white or black on your own.”

  • “Don’t swear upon the Temple…”

  • “Don’t swear upon the earth because it is God’s footstool…”

  • “Don’t swear upon Heaven because it is God’s throne…”

  • Jesus was not PROHIBITING the use of Vows

  • Jesus was HIGHLIGHTING the fact that the use of Vows PROLIFERATED in the early 1st Century AD when Jesus was walking this earth

  • Jesus was highlighting that we HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL when we are making vows to the Lord

  • We are taking our lives into our hands when we do this

  • Deuteronomy 29: Here is God making a new covenant in many ways in the Plains of Moab

  • They are about to head into the Promised Land

  • Moses is about to come to the end of his life

  • Here is the RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT

  • This is the RENEWED INVITATION AND COMMAND OF GOD

  • DO NOT TURN TO OTHER GODS because that is what the Israelites are going to WANT TO DO

  • This might sound like a broken record

  • This TEMPTATION is ALWAYS PRESENT

  • “Let me just fit in”

  • “Let me just look like everyone else”

  • God says they CANNOT LOOK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, not because they are SPECIAL, but because THEY BELONG TO GOD

  • Pray for each other

  • Pray for Fr. Mike as we continue on this incredible incredible journey


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we do give you praise. We give you glory. We thank you for this day. We thank you for the gift of your Word. We thank you for the gift of your heart, because you share your heart with us by sharing your Word with us. In a special way, we give you praise for sharing the Word made Flesh, Jesus Christ, with us, and giving us access to your heart, Father. In Jesus Christ, and the power of your Holy Spirit, you give us access to your heart and we give you praise for that. Especially as we are coming closer and closer to the end of this desert wandering, and coming into the period of Conquest and Judges, we ask you to please give us courage, give us strength, give us a persistence and a perseverance to be able to continue to listen to your Word, to allow it to shape our heart. And above all, give us your Holy Spirit that we can have access to your heart and that we have the courage to pursue you with EVERYTHING WE ARE. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”