Friday, August 8, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Numbers 30:3-16

Your assignment was to read Numbers 30:3-16 carefully.
A woman who makes a neder to the Lord and prohibits something to herself in the house of her father when she is a naarah
And her father hears her neder and the prohibition she places on herself and holds his tongue toward her, all her neders are established and all her prohibitions that she placed on herself shall be established.
If her father dissuades her on the day that he hears any of her neders or prohibitions that she placed on herself, it shall not be established and the Lord will pardon her for her father dissuaded her.
If she is already married and has neders on her or a statement of her own mouth that she prohibited to herself.
And her husband hears, on the day that he heard and holds his tongue, her neders and prohibitions are established that she placed on herself.
If on the day of her husband hearing he dissuaded her and annulled her neder that was on her and what she spoke with her mouth that she prohibited herself, the Lord shall pardon her.
The neder of a widow or divorcee all that she prohibited herself is established.
If she made a neder in the house of her husband or prohibited something to herself with an oath
And her husband heard and held his peace toward her and didn’t prohibit her, all her neders and prohibitions that she placed on herself shall stand.
If her husband absolutely annulled them on the day he heard what came out of her mouth for her neders or prohibitions on herself, they shall not stand, her husband annulled them and the Lord will pardon her.
Every neder and oath of prohibition to oppress the soul her husband may establish it or annul it.
But if her husband actually held his peace toward her for twenty-four hours, all her neders or prohibitions that she places on herself are established, he established them because he held his peace toward her on the day he heard.
If he definitely annulled them after he heard them, he shall bear her sin.
These are the laws that the Lord commanded Moshe between a man and his wife, a father and his daughter when she is a naarah in the house of her father.
First, only the vows of a naarah can be annulled.  She is underage.  She cannot be trusted to keep her neder, her performance oath, or her self-prohibition.  That would be “using Gd’s name for nothing.”
Second, these vows can only be annulled by her father or husband, and by her father only while she lives in his house.  If she is bonded out, and designated as a future bride, her husband has to annul her vow. 
BUT the annulment has to happen “on the day he heard it.”  This goes with the idea I discussed before, that a buyer can only claim fraud the day he bought the goods.  “If he held his peace,” he can never after that annul her vow. 
This is another example of an exception that proves there was a contrary rule that is unexpressed, but there is another exception that also proves a contrary rule.  The first exception is that these rules apply to a naarah whether married or unmarried.  The contrary, unexpressed rule is that they don’t apply to an adult woman.  She has to keep her vows if made while she was an adult.  If she made them while she was a naarah and her father or husband didn’t annul them, then she still has to keep them. 
The other exception is a widow or divorcee.  If the naarah was designated a bride and the bridegroom dies, even if she is still a naarah, any vows she made without the bridegroom annulling them, or any vows she makes after his death, even if she returns to her father’s house, are binding.

You may have noticed something that seems a little screwy. That's for next week.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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