Leviticus 27:16 MEANING

Leviticus 27:16
(16) Some part of a field of his possession.--That is, if he consecrates by a vow to the service of the sanctuary a portion of a field which he inherits from his forefathers, and which, therefore, constitutes a part of his inalienable patrimony, thus distinguishing it from a field which he has acquired by his own purchase. (See Leviticus 27:22.) The words, some part which are in italics, are implied in the Hebrew construction of these words. No man was allowed to vow the whole of his estates to the sanctuary, as he would thereby impoverish his own family.

Thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof.--Better, thy estimation shall be according to its seed, that is, he is not to part with the field thus vowed for the sanctuary, but the priest is to value the area according to the quantity of seed required for sowing it.

An homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.--That is, if the piece of land which he vowed could properly be cropped with one homer, or five bushels and a half of barley seed, he is to value it at 6 9s. 2d. (See Leviticus 27:3.) According to the authorities during the second Temple, these fifty shekels covered the value of the produce for the whole period of forty-nine years, that is, from one jubile year to another, so that a plot of land of the dimensions here described was estimated at a little more than one shekel per annum. The person who made the vow could, under these circumstances, always redeem it, as it would almost amount to a gift to let any stranger buy it at this price. The low value put upon it was evidently designed not to deprive the family of their means of subsistence, since the patrimonial estates were almost always the only source of their livelihood.

Verses 16-21. - In case a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession, that is, of his hereditary lands, the redemption price is fixed by the quantity of seed required for sowing it. If it requires a homer, or five bushels and a half, of barley seed to crop it, the redemption price is fifty shekels, or £6 9s. 2d., plus one-fifth, that is, £7 15s., supposing that the vow had been made in the year succeeding the jubilee; but if the vow was made at any time after the jubile, the value of the previous harvests was deducted from this sum. The amount does not seem to have been paid in a lump sum, but by annual installments of one shekel and one-fifth of a shekel, equal to 3s. 1 1/5 d., each year. In case he had sold his interest in the field up to the approaching jubilee before making his vow, then no redemption was allowed; he paid nothing, but the field passed from him to the sanctuary at the jubilee.

27:14-25 Our houses, lands, cattle, and all our substance, must be used to the glory of God. It is acceptable to him that a portion be given to support his worship, and to promote his cause. But God would not approve such a degree of zeal as ruined a man's family.And if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession,.... That which he enjoyed by inheritance from his father, to distinguish it from a field of his own purchase, as in Leviticus 27:22; and which might be devoted, not all of it, but a part of it; partly that he might have something to live upon, or to improve for a livelihood for himself and family, and partly that estates might not be alienated entirely from their families and tribes in which they were:

then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof; not according to the field, the goodness or badness of that, one field being good and another bad, as Jarchi observes, but according to the quantity of seed which it produced, or rather which it required for the sowing of it:

an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver; which was near six pounds of our money; and here we must carefully distinguish between an "omer", beginning with an "o", and an "homer", beginning with an "h"; not observing this has led some learned men into mistakes in their notes on this place, for an "omer" was the tenth part of an "ephah", Exodus 16:36; and an "ephah" is but the tenth part of an "homer", Ezekiel 45:11; which makes a very great difference in this measure of barley, for an homer of it contained ten ephahs or bushels; and even according to this account a bushel of barley is rated very high, for ten bushels at fifty shekels, reckoning a shekel half a crown, or them at six pounds five shillings, are at the rate of twelve shillings and sixpence a bushel, which is too high a price for barley; wherefore as an ephah, the tenth part of an homer, contained three seahs or pecks, and which some call bushels, then an homer consisted of thirty bushels, which brings down the value of it to little more than two shillings a bushel, which is much nearer the true value of barley; but the truth of the matter is, that the value of barley for sowing is not ascertained, as our version leads us to think; for the words should be rendered, if the "seed be an homer of barley", it, the field, shall be valued "at fifty shekels of silver": if the field take so much seed to sow it as the quantity of an homer of barley, then it was to be rated at fifty shekels of silver; and if it took two homers, then it was to be rated at an hundred shekels, and so on.

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