Leviticus 27:26
Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the LORD'S firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the LORD'S.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Only the firstling of the beasts.—Better, nevertheless the firstlings, &c, as this rendering also suits Leviticus 27:28, which begins with the same particle, and which is translated in the Authorised Version, “not withstanding.” Having laid down the regulations about the four classes of objects which may be vowed to the Lord—viz.: 1, persons (Leviticus 27:2-8); 2, animals (Leviticus 27:9-13); 3, houses (Leviticus 27:14-15); and 4, lands (Leviticus 27:16-25)—the legislator concludes by pointing out two exceptions to the rules about votive offerings hitherto discussed. The two classes of objects which are forbidden to be vowed are (1) the firstlings of beasts and (2) devoted things. The firstlings belonged already to the Lord by an express statute (Exodus 13:2). To vow, therefore, to the Lord that which was His own is a mockery.

Which should be the Lord’s firstling.—Rather, which is born as a firstling to the Lord, that is, one which, by virtue of its being a firstling, and by its very birth, is the property of the Lord.

Leviticus 27:26. No man shall sanctify it — By vow; because it is not his own, but the Lord’s already, and therefore to vow such a thing to God is a tacit derogation from, and a usurpation of, the Lord’s right, and a mocking of God by pretending to give what we cannot withhold from him. Ox or sheep — Under these two eminent kinds he comprehends all other beasts which might be sacrificed to God, the firstlings whereof could not be redeemed, but were to be sacrificed; whereas the firstlings of men were to be redeemed, and therefore were capable of being vowed, as we see, 1

Samuel Leviticus 1:11.

27:26-33 Things or persons devoted, are distinguished from things or persons that were only sanctified. Devoted things were most holy to the Lord, and could neither be taken back nor applied to other purposes. Whatever productions they had the benefit, God must be honoured with the tenth of, if it could be applied. Thus they acknowledge God to be the Owner of their land, the Giver of its fruits, and themselves to be his tenants, and dependants upon him. Thus they gave him thanks for the plenty they enjoyed, and besought his favour in the continuance of it. We are taught to honour the Lord with our substance.On the shekel and the gerah, see Exodus 30:13, note; Exodus 38:24, note. 26, 27. Only the firstling of the beasts—These, in the case of clean beasts, being consecrated to God by a universal and standing law (Ex 13:12; 34:19), could not be devoted; and in that of unclean beasts, were subject to the rule mentioned (Le 27:11, 12). No man shall sanctify it, to wit, by vow; because it is not his own, but the Lord’s already, and therefore to vow such a thing to God is a tacit derogation from and a usurpation of the Lord’s right, and a mocking of God by pretending to give him what we cannot withhold from him.

Ox or sheep: under these two eminent kinds he comprehends all other beasts which might be sacrificed to God, the firstlings whereof could not be redeemed, but were to be sacrificed; whereas the firstlings of men were to be redeemed, and therefore were capable of being vowed, as we see 1 Samuel 1:11.

Only the firstlings of the beasts,.... These are excepted from being sanctified, or set apart for sacred uses, for a very good reason, suggested in the next clause:

which should be the Lord's firstling, no man shall sanctify it; it being what he has a claim upon, and ordered to be sanctified to him by a law previous to this, Exodus 13:2; wherefore to sanctify such a creature, would be to sanctify what was his before; not merely in a general sense, in which all creatures are his, but in a special sense, having in a peculiar manner required it as his; and therefore to sanctify, or vow to him, what was his before, must be trifling with him, and mocking of him:

whether it be ox, or sheep; the firstlings of either of them:

it is the Lord's; which he has claimed as his own special and peculiar property, antecedent to any vow of its owner.

Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the LORD'S firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the {n} LORD'S.

(n) It was the Lord's already.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26, 29. Classes which may not be vowed

Firstlings are already the Lord’s (Exodus 13:2). If the firstling is, that of an animal which is reckoned among the ‘unclean’ (according to the rule laid down, ch. Leviticus 11:3), it is to be valued and redeemed at 1 1/5 of its valuation. Driver, Exodus 13:13 (J), points out that P’s law, as given here, is more favourable to the priests. In Exod. the redemption is to be made by a lamb, a less valuable animal.

Verses 26-33. - The law of vows and their commutation is further declared in four subjects:

(1) the firstborn of animals;

(2) things already devoted;

(3) tithes of the produce of the land;

(4) tithes of the produce of the cattle. Verses 26-28. - The firstborn of animals were already the Lord's, and they could not, therefore, be vowed to him afresh; the sacrificial animals were to be offered in sacrifice (Exodus 13:15); the ass was to be redeemed by a sheep or be put to death (Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20); other unclean animals are to be either redeemed at the fixed price, plus one-fifth, or, if not redeemed, sold for the benefit of the sanctuary. Leviticus 27:26What belonged to the Lord by law could not be dedicated to Him by a vow, especially the first-born of clean cattle (cf. Exodus 13:1-2). The first-born of unclean animals were to be redeemed according to the valuation of the priest, with the addition of a fifth; and if this was not done, it was to be sold at the estimated value. By this regulation the earlier law, which commanded that an ass should either be redeemed with a sheep or else be put to death (Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20), was modified in favour of the revenues of the sanctuary and its servants.
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