Bible Commentary: Leviticus 27

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Bible Commentary

Leviticus 27

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Redeeming Dedicated Persons and Property

Based on the redemption amounts, some might think God is sexist and ageist. But God does not play favorites. The amounts here have only to do with a practical valuation of how useful the various classes of people would be in carrying out the heavy work of the tabernacle.

Certain dedicated property could be redeemed through paying the valuation plus an additional one fifth. This could even be done with tithes of produce (verses 30-31), but not with the tithe of livestock (verses 32-33). "Every tenth animal was part of the tithe that belonged to God. The owner was not allowed to adjust this procedure so that the animal for the tithe was small, weak, or sickly, nor could he substitute a poor animal for a better one" (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 32-33).

Some today have taken the verses regarding the redeeming of tithes to mean that it is permissible to borrow from their monetary tithes and pay them back by adding a fifth. Yet this is not at all what is meant here. The regulation is about exchanging, not borrowing. Tithes were owed directly to God as the firstfruits of increase. It was not permissible to borrow from them. God said in Exodus 22:29 that the people were not to delay in turning over their firstfruits to Him. Consider that if someone owed some carrots as a tithe, he could redeem them by adding one fifth to their evaluation and paying that in cash. But he could not simply eat the carrots and later grow new carrots to replace them, giving the new ones plus one fifth. That was not allowed. And it would still be wrong today. (To learn more about the subject of tithing, download the free booklet, What Does the Bible Teach About Tithing?)