Offerings and Dedications.[b] 1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel saying to them: When a person makes a special vow to dedicate people to the Lord by giving the equivalent sum of money, 3 you shall establish the value of a male from twenty to sixty years old as being fifty shekels of silver, according to the measure of the sanctuary,[c] 4 and if it is a woman, then the value is thirty shekels. 5 If the person is from five years old to twenty years old, then the estimated value of the person is twenty shekels for a male and ten shekels for a female. 6 If the person be from one month old to five years old, then the estimation of the value of a male is five shekels and the estimation of the value of a female is three shekels. 7 If a person is sixty years old or older, the estimation of the value of a male is fifteen shekels and the estimation of the value of a female is ten shekels. 8 But if anyone is too poor to pay the estimated value, then he will present himself before the priest and the priest will make an estimation based on the ability of the person vowing to pay. The priest will establish the value.
9 “If he brings an animal as an offering to the Lord, then everything that he has given to the Lord will be holy. 10 He should not exchange it, a good one for a bad one or a bad one for a good one. If he should substitute one animal for another, then both the original and the substitution become holy. 11 If it is an unclean animal, one that a person cannot offer to the Lord, then he will bring the animal before the priest 12 and the priest will determine whether it is good or bad and the priest will give an estimation of its value. This is how it will be established. 13 If the owner wishes to redeem it, he shall add a fifth to your estimation of its value.
14 “If a man sets apart his house as something holy to the Lord, the priest shall make an estimation of it, whether it is good or bad, and the priest shall establish its value. This is how it shall be established. 15 If he desires to redeem the house that he has set apart, he shall add a fifth to its estimated value, and then it shall be his. 16 If a man sets apart a piece of his property to the Lord, then your estimation of its value shall be based on the seed that it takes to sow it, a homer[d] of barley being valued at fifty shekels of silver. 17 If he sets the field apart at the beginning of the Jubilee Year, this shall be your evaluation. 18 But if he sets apart the field after the Jubilee Year, the priest shall determine the value according to the number of years remaining until the Jubilee Year, and thus the evaluation shall be adjusted. 19 If he wishes to redeem the field that he had set apart, then he shall add a fifth to your evaluation and it shall be his. 20 But if he does not redeem the field, or if he sold the field to another person, then it is not to be redeemed anymore, 21 but when the field is released in the Jubilee Year, it shall be holy to the Lord. It will be treated like a priest’s field, and it shall be their property.
22 “If a man sets apart a field that he bought, a field that is not his family’s inheritance, dedicating it[e] to the Lord, 23 then the priest shall make an estimation of its value from then until the Jubilee Year, and the man shall pay the estimation that day as something holy to the Lord. 24 In the Jubilee Year the field shall be returned to the one from whom it was bought, the one whose land it was.
25 “Every estimation is determined according to the shekel of the sanctuary, twenty gerahs[f] to the shekel.
26 Offerings Not Redeemable.[g]“No one shall dedicate the firstborn of an animal, for the firstborn already belongs to the Lord, whether it be an ox or a sheep, it belongs to the Lord. 27 If it is an unclean animal, then he shall redeem it based on its evaluation and add a fifth to its value. If it is not redeemed, then it should be sold for its established value.
28 “But nothing that a person owns and is put under the ban for the Lord, be it man or animal or ancestral property, can be sold or redeemed. Everything set aside is most holy to the Lord. 29 No person under the ban can be redeemed. He must be put to death.
30 “Everything that belongs to the tithe of the land, be it the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree, belongs to the Lord. It is holy to the Lord. 31 If someone wants to redeem his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to its value. 32 As to the tithes of the herd or the flock, of everything passing under the herdsman’s staff, the tenth to pass shall be holy to the Lord. 33 He shall not investigate to see if it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it for another. If he exchanges it, then the first animal and its substitute shall both be holy and are not to be redeemed.” 34 These are the commandments that the Lord gave to Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.
- Leviticus 27:1 This juridical supplement, which may seem dry as dust, provides norms useful in avoiding the exploitation of persons and things consecrated to God.
- Leviticus 27:1 Men were always regarded as taking priority over women, since the latter were considered inferior to them.
- Leviticus 27:3 A (silver) shekel was worth a gram of gold and was divided into twenty gerahs. The measure of the sanctuary was either a specimen kept in the sanctuary or a shekel of greater value. In the ancient Orient women “were worth less”; this was a sign of their inferiority to men.
- Leviticus 27:16 A homer contains about 200 liters, and is equal to 10 ephahs.
- Leviticus 27:22 Dedicating it: anything that was made anathema or forbidden (Hebrew, herem) was solemnly consecrated to God, without reservation and irrevocably; no one could profit by what had thus been consecrated. See Deut 13:14-16; 20:10-15; also Jos 7:1-21.
- Leviticus 27:25 A gerah was the smallest unit of weight: six grains.
- Leviticus 27:26 It is obviously impossible to consecrate to God what is his by right, nor, generally speaking, can it be bought back. This is true of what is anathema or “dedicated” to God: according to a practice inherited from the holy war, that which is consecrated to the Lord in this unqualified fashion must be destroyed, or else (in the perspective adopted by a less warlike mentality) must be reserved exclusively for the priests (Jos 6:17).