"Their Vows to YHVH."
This Bible Study is provided by http://www.theseason.org/ with permission from it's author, R. Christopherson.
Leviticus 27:1 "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,"
Leviticus 27:2 "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation."
A "singular vow" is a special vow to the Lord; because the vow was separate into negative or positive, restraining or promising a commitment to God. For it is either to be binding or loosing of the vow commitment. "Persons" as used here, in the Hebrew text is "nephesh" or from the soul.
The point here is that making a vow is not a sin, but to make a vow, good or bad, and not making good on that vow was a sin against God. This is when one person makes a vow to commit another person to the Lord. It is done today when parents baptize their baby, or dedicate themselves to bring up their child unto the Lord. In these early days, an Israelite could not become a slave, so the only way to make a value commitment to cover a debt or gain an income, was to put a value on the person, for a certain time period. This is very similar to what is done today as a person binds himself under contract to work for a person, or company. The time frame is established and the pay rate per week, month, or hour. God is instructing the children of Israel as to how they must establish the rates of hiring, and the redeeming back of that contract.
Remember that no contract could extend beyond the day of jubilee, for on that day, all contracts are terminated. All men are set free, and all property is returned to the original owner. All these contractual agreements had to go through the priest, as he was the government of the nation at this time, and when a contract was broken, there will a fine or fee of one fifth of the agreement that was left on the contract that would have to be paid.
Leviticus 27:3 "And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary."
"Estimation" means determining a value to the person or property. The shekel later was of the king, but at this time the monetary unit was established by the Sanctuary, the priests. He put the labor value of a man over the age of twenty years old, but under 50; at fifty shekels of silver.
Leviticus 27:4 "And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels."
"It" as used here in the text is referring to the soul of this woman of the same age, that made this labor commitment. Her rate of pay was 30 shekels. So we see that there was a labor difference in wages that went back thousands of years before Christ, and it was set by God Himself.
Leviticus 27:5 "And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels."
This required even the children be paid for their help.
Leviticus 27:6 "And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, they thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver."
Leviticus 27:7 "And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, they thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels."
God is setting these rates, and giving them to Moses to be passed on to the priests. The priests then established these rates for the entire nation of community of the twelve tribes of Israel. So if a person was bound to the sanctuary, as a commitment to God, then all these payments had to be paid to the sanctuary.
I think of it as paying your taxes, the rates of income are set by the priest, and the rate of taxes on that income is established and fixed. When you don't or can't pay your taxes, then a bondage or agreement is set on your time or goods until you do, and to redeem your way out of that contract with the priest will cost you one fifth more than what is left in the agreement. All payments are made in silver shekels, much the same way we pay in dollars, or monetary units today. Remember that the government of the Israelites at this time were the priests, and the sanctuary. And the supreme court of the land, and final authority was YHVH our heavenly Father. He gave the orders through Moses, who passed them on to the priests. The priests carried out the duties of regulating according to God's laws and statutes.
Leviticus 27:8 "But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he shall present himself before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to his ability that vowed shall the priest value him."
If a person was to poor to pay any shekel or do the work required of him, then he would go to the priest, and the priest would set a value on this person, and handle the affairs of that person. The judgment was left entirely up to the priest.
Leviticus 27:9 "And if it be a beast, whereof men being an offering unto the Lord, all that any man giveth of such unto the Lord shall be holy."
This then is dealing with animals that were given to the sanctuary, and to the Lord for His Word. Any animal that was given must be a clean beast, on that could be offered to in a sacrifice offering.
Leviticus 27:10 "He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good: and if he shall at all change beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be holy."
This is saying that if the first animal was good, and the second animal had a blemish, only the first could be sacrificed, the second could not be sacrificed because it had a blemish. The blemished animals then would be given to the priests for their sustenance, and for their family.
Leviticus 27:11 "And if it be any unclean beast, of which they do not offer a sacrifice unto the Lord, then he shall present the beast before the priest:"
Remember that only the clean animals could be offered in sacrifice offerings to the Lord.
Leviticus 27:12 "And the priest shall value it, whether it be good or bad: as thou valuest it, who art the priest, so shall it be."
This is saying that what ever animal is given to the priest, that value should not be high or low, but a medium value to it. It is the priest that sets the value of the gift.
Leviticus 27:13 "But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation."
However if after the person has vowed an animal to God, and then changes his mind, a value of the animal is made, and that value is increased by one fifth, twenty percent for the redemption of the animal. If this was to be a tithe, then one fifth more had to be added to make the vow right.
Leviticus 27:14 "And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the Lord, then the priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it stand."
"His house" is "his own house and the things that are within it". Again, when a man sell his home, a medium price has to be set on the house and belongings.
Leviticus 27:15 "And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his."
Again, the person has the right to buy back his home, if later he changes his mind. However one fifth has to be added to the original price. Of course this is taking about vowed items.
Leviticus 27:16 "And if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver."
There are two sets of regulations here, one for the land that is an inheritance, and one where it is not. "as an inheritance" deals with land that cannot be sold, but only rented for a set period of time, or to the time of the jubilee. The other case is where the land was purchased from someone else, and free from the original possession that had to be returned at jubilee. In the first case it is looking at the productivity that the land would yield over the set period of time. The value of any land was set at the cost of the seed to plant this area of land. The cost of the seed was set at fifty shekels for a homer of barley seed.
Leviticus 27:17 "If he sanctify his field from the year of jubile, according to thy estimation it shall stand."
If you sold this land at the day of jubilee, then there could be no change in the amount of the vow. It is set for fifty years, the time when your inheritance could reestablish a new vow.
Leviticus 27:18 "But if he sanctify his field after the jubile, then the priest shall recon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the jubile, and it shall be abated from thy estimation."
So if a pledge was made to the church, or sanctuary and it was made after the year of the jubilee, then a valuation had to be made, to determine the actual value of the field.
Leviticus 27:19 "And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be assured to him."
Again, if the man wanted to buy back, redeem the land of his pledge, it would cost him one fifth more than the value based on time, that was left on the contract.
Leviticus 27:20 "And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more."
Once a field had been sold, another family could not step in and redeem the field, but only the one that sold it.
Leviticus 27:21 "But the field, when it goeth out in the jubile, shall be holy unto the Lord, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest's."
"Devoted" as used in the Hebrew text is "haram"; meaning it denotes a total and complete separation, which does not admit the possibility of redemption. So if you vowed a land, and did not redeem it, but in fact sold that land to someone else, then on the year of jubilee, it would not go to the original owner, but to the priest's and the use of the sanctuary. Do you see how the priest plays the role of the government, in the collecting of money, and the decisions dealing with land control.
Leviticus 27:22 "And if a man sanctify unto the Lord a field which he hath brought, which is not of the fields of his possession;"
This now deals with a field that was not part of an original possession, that has to be returned in an inheritance at jubilee.
Leviticus 27:23 "Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubile: and he shall give thine estimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the Lord."
To put a "Estimation" on a land or person, is to make a "valuation" of the property, much the way we do for taxes today. In this case, the man would pay each year a set amount, and the priest would estimate what the value of the land would produce. This set both the value of the land and the amount owed the Sanctuary. Think of this as a tax on income, where as in the inheritance land, it would be paid once and for all, like the sales tax on land purchased at the time of sale.
Leviticus 27:24 "In the year of jubile the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong."
This deals with Leviticus 25:21-28; each year the land goes back to the family that it was originally assigned to by Joshua and the tribal Elders.
Leviticus 27:25 "And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel."
A "gerahs" was a single flat sided coin that the shekel was made of. There were no kings here, and it was the shekel of the sanctuary.
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"
So from here on, we get into things that are forbidden to be used in making a vow. The reason that it is forbidden to be vowed, is that they are already YHVH's and God has allowed man to use them.
Leviticus 27:27 "And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation."
Leviticus 27:28 "Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, bother of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord."
Leviticus 27:29 "None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death."
Leviticus 27:30 "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord."
Leviticus 27:31 "And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof."
Leviticus 27:32 "And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord."
The custom for the Hebrews to count and keep track of their animals and herds, was to have the animals pass through a small opening where just one could pass through at a time. As each animal passed under the rod, over the small opening, every tenth animal was marked and taken for the tithe. It was not given for the farmer to choose which was to be given, for by the leading of the herd itself lining up to pass through gave the selection of what was God for the tithe and what could be kept for the farmer.
This custom is referred to in Ezekiel 20:36, 37 "Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord."  "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:" 
Just as those animals lined up themselves to pass through the small gate, the house of Israel will also pass under the rod to be judged if they are worthy to be brought under the bond of the covenant. Our heavenly Father on judgment day will once more claim and mark those a belonging to Him, or not. God the Father set the way to Himself and eternal life, and there is no other way but by passing under the rod, and being identified as one of His. No one will sneak in our Heavenly Father's eternal kingdom unannounced and tagged by Him. Jesus sets the record straight on this matter in John 10:11 - 18; that He knows each of His sheep and His sheep know their master, Jesus Christ. Each soul must pass under the rod, and as they do, Our Lord marks his own and singles them out for himself.
Ezekiel 20:38 "And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and they that transgress against Me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord."
It will be God that does the purging out from among the sheep, the rebels that refuse to come under the blood of Christ in repentance can not enter; its looking far into the future.
Leviticus 27:33 "He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.' "
"Whether it be good or bad"; whether the value is a positive or negative value determines where a change will come, or not.
Leviticus 27:34 "These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai."
This documents that all the instructions that are given and written within the book of Leviticus were given by God to Moses during his visits to Mount Sinai. This sets the time at the beginning of the journey through the wilderness. It fixes a time at about 1490 B. C, and the crossing over the river Jordan, to enter into the battle at Jericho about 1450 B.C., some forty years later.