I heard about a man on an airplane in turbulent weather. Everyone was afraid. As you looked around the plane, people had their eyes closed, mouthing prayers. A minister heard the prayer of the man next to him: “Lord, if you will get me on the ground safe and sound, I will give you half of everything I own.”
The plane eventually landed safely and the minister turned to the man next to him, introduced himself and remarked that he had heard the man’s vow. The man replied: “Perhaps you didn’t hear the follow-up prayer. I told God if I ever got on another plane he could have everything.”
In moments of crisis, religious people make all kinds of commitments they might not otherwise make. God says: ‘I take vows very seriously. You make them, you must follow through. You will not lie to me.”
Chapter thirty deals with the vows of those who are not responsible because, for whatever reason, they are not totally free to make those vows. In ancient society, this would include young females, and adult females who were not independent of either their father or husband’s house.
There is nothing said here about the vows of boys or young men not yet making their own way; not here or anywhere else. But this is a feature of Old Testament law: not everything is nailed down. One must take what is said, and reason from what is intended to apply it to all cases. The bottom line is as follows: All people are free to make vows. Those not free to make all their own decisions may have their vows nullified by those in charge of them, but the seriousness of making a vow is so great that those in charge must speak quickly to the issue. If they do not, the vow stands.