December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Moses then gave the Israelites these instructions, just as the LORD had ordered him.
- Moses said to the heads of the Israelite tribes, "This is what the LORD has commanded:
- 1 When a man makes a vow to the LORD or binds himself under oath to a pledge of abstinence, he shall not violate his word, but must fulfill exactly the promise he has uttered.
- "When a woman, while still a maiden in her father's house, makes a vow to the LORD, or binds herself to a pledge,
- if her father learns of her vow or the pledge to which she bound herself and says nothing to her about it, then any vow or any pledge she has made remains valid.
- But if on the day he learns of it her father expresses to her his disapproval, then any vow or any pledge she has made becomes null and void; and the LORD releases her from it, since her father has expressed to her his disapproval.
- "If she marries while under a vow or under a rash pledge to which she bound herself,
- and her husband learns of it, yet says nothing to her that day about it, then the vow or pledge she had made remains valid.
- But if on the day he learns of it her husband expresses to her his disapproval, he thereby annuls the vow she had made or the rash pledge to which she had bound herself, and the LORD releases her from it.
- The vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, or any pledge to which such a woman binds herself, is valid.
- 2 "If it is in her husband's house that she makes a vow or binds herself under oath to a pledge,
- and her husband learns of it yet says nothing to express to her his disapproval, then any vow or any pledge she has made remains valid.
- But if on the day he learns of them her husband annuls them, then whatever she has expressly promised in her vow or in her pledge becomes null and void; since her husband has annulled them, the LORD releases her from them.
- "Any vow or any pledge that she makes under oath to mortify herself, her husband can either allow to remain valid or render null and void.
- But if her husband, day after day, says nothing at all to her about them, he thereby allows as valid any vow or any pledge she has made; he has allowed them to remain valid, because on the day he learned of them he said nothing to her about them.
- 3 If, however, he countermands them some time after he first learned of them, he is responsible for her guilt."
- These are the statutes which the LORD prescribed through Moses concerning the relationship between a husband and his wife, as well as between a father and his daughter while she is still a maiden in her father's house.
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1  A vow . . . a pledge: here the former signifies the doing of some positive good deed, in particular the offering of some sacrifice; the latter signifies the abstaining from some otherwise elicit action or pleasure; cf Numbers 30:14.
2  In her husband's house: after her marriage. This contrasts with the case given in Numbers 30:7-9.
3  He countermands them: he prevents their fulfillment. Since he has first allowed the vows to remain valid, he can no longer annul them.
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