Moses speaks to the heads of the tribes about making promises. This message will be passed on to the people from there.
I find it interesting that Moses didn’t have the congregation assembled for this message. It went to the leaders instead. They would be held responsible for passing on the message. These were however the commands and statutes of the Lord so the heads of the tribes were to convey them EXACTLY as Moses shared them.
My mother once said that a man enters this world with two things he can claim as his own; his name and his word. Pray that you receive a clean pair and endeavor to keep them so to pass on to your children. God deals with man and woman’s word. He wants them to remain pure too.
God is head over all. When He established the hierarchy of the family He put Adam in a place of authority over Eve. This doesn’t mean that man is superior to women but he answer to God for her as his charge. He is held responsible for what takes place in the home.
Because God placed men as the head He expects more from him. He expects men to honor their word. And He expects men in the position of authority over a daughter or wife to exercise honor over her word.
Men have always been looked upon as able to enter into binding contracts, promises or covenants AFTER they reach the age of maturity. In every society on earth men are seen as bound by their oaths. God said nothing to change that. When Jesus taught He told people not to make oaths because we are not in control of tomorrow. To keep you from breaking your word “let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5:12). God’s Law dealt with this issue by requiring man to do all he could to keep his word.
Women were looked at differently in bible times that most are today. Today a woman can enter into binding contracts, promises and oaths too. Actually women could enter into those same things when God gave His Law but there were stipulations attached. A woman who was widowed, divorced or unmarried of age and living independently could enter into any of these three binding oaths the same as a man. Her word stood as she had no one in authority over her. This was why the daughters of Zelophehad were able to enter into a covenant for a birthright of property in the Promised Land. They had neither husband nor father over them.
But a wife or a girl, or woman, still living in her father’s home could have her oaths nullified. This didn’t mean that either of these states made a woman’s word untrustworthy but that authority could be exercised over her to prevent her from performing promises she had made. The intervention regarding her promises had to be made as soon as her words were known to the one in authority over her. If she was not told her oaths were put aside she was expected to keep her word the same as any man.
I would say it is in the best interest even today for both, those in authority and those subject to authority, to be in agreement regarding promises/oaths. These kinds of conflicts can tear a marriage apart. Maybe this is why God made a “chain of command” even for the home.
I find it interesting that God doesn’t say that the husband or father has to nullify the promise the day it is made but the day he finds out about it. Sometimes things are hidden for a time. God says that if the husband or father doesn’t nullify the promise as soon as he hears about it and objects but does nullify it later that the blame falls on him. He is held liable for the breach of promise. The wife doesn’t have an automatic out if she feels she can’t keep her promise. If the husband didn’t object when he heard it she is bound by her word.
I’ve made personal promises that no one else knows about. They are promises between me and God. One or two of them might be called into question if shared but they are right for me.
Because of my husband’s health I do most of the “promise making” in our home. I make sure that he is part of the process though. I try not to enter into any agreements that he hasn’t heard with me or at least knows of. Quite often he forgets what was discussed so I get to reiterate it MANY times and explain the rationale behind it. It gets old but he needs to feel a part of the process.
Father God, thank You for creating a “chain of command” in the home. I can’t always follow it in my home but I try to honor it at least. Help me in showing honor to my husband even when I can’t do as he would like all the time. Keep me from agreeing to things that I believe he would have trouble with too. I want to be open with him in all things. THAT’S a big order for me in some areas! You know those areas God. They are the ones I have trouble being open with anyone about, even myself sometimes. Thank You that there is forgiveness when I get in over my head too.
Thank You Father that ALL Your promises are true. Those ones I can count on for eternity!