“Nevertheless no devoted offering that a man may devote to the Lord of all that he has, both man and beast, or the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted offering is most holy to the Lord. No person under the ban, who may become doomed to destruction among men, shall be redeemed, but shall surely be put to death.”-Leviticus 27:28-29
Verse 28 presents yet another category of offerings that cannot be sold or redeemed.
The King James calls this category of offerings a “devoted offering“.
The NIV refers to it as something “a person owns and devotes to the Lord“.
The Complete Jewish Bible says something “consecrated unconditionally“.
I would say each one of these expressions is suitable.
What they’re all getting at is that this category of offering is something PERMANENTLY consecrated to YHWH.
None of them can be redeemed.
I wouldn’t get too hung up on the many expressions a given Bible translation may use to refer to the different categories of offerings.
The important thing to recognize is that there are a number of different categories of giving or setting of things apart for God and they each have their own rules and purposes.
For example, the idea promoted in the church that all we have to do is mechanically pay our 10% tithe and then we’re off the hook and don’t have any other obligations is unknown in the Scriptures.
Again, the tithe was just one category of giving, it was NOT the sum total of all giving.
Now verse 29 is interesting.
Depending on which Bible translation you’re reading, it says that no person who has been “devoted“ or “set-apart“ can be redeemed.
The King James uses the interesting expression of “a person under the ban“.
What’s happening here is that this is just the Biblical way of saying that a person who has been given the death penalty for a capital crime CANNOT be redeemed for money.
That person must die!
This is fascinating.
Let’s explore this concept a bit.
Up until now, we’ve been studying about the many things that are devoted or set apart for God and then BAM, right out of nowhere, we run into a verse talking about somebody who has committed a capital crime, a negative thing being lumped into the same category with all the other positive things.
What’s going on here?
What’s the connection?
Pay attention, because there is a very strong connection between somebody committing a crime deserving of the death penalty and the setting apart of things for YHWH.
What I’m about to share with you will give you an understanding of how the God of Israel and the Hebrew legal system views justice.
Recall from our studies in Leviticus chapter 26 that for every law that God established, there was a blessing for those who obeyed and a curse for those who disobeyed.
And further recall that the penalty for violating some of God’s laws was the physical death of the perpetrator.
This had nothing to do with the deliberations or decisions of human lawmakers.
This was God’s decision which was given to Moses and immortalized in the Torah.
Here’s the key point.
If God demands the life of a person, that person’s life becomes DEVOTED to God.
It is exactly the same principle that if a sheep or bull is set apart for God, those animals also become DEVOTED to God.
Is the connection clear now?
In ancient Israel, when a man faced a judge for committing a death-penalty deserving crime, the judge had no right to allow his personal feelings or personal ideas of morality to interfere with what the Torah clearly says must be done to this man.
It is NOT the judge who determines the murderer must die for committing murder.
It is God who makes that determination.
It is simply the judge’s duty to properly assess that the murderer is indeed guilty and then in obedience to God’s Torah make sure that man is executed.
Are you getting this?
A murderer who is to be executed for breaking God’s law is being set apart for God.
The idea is that God is taking back the life He had originally given that person.
And remember ALL LIFE BELONGS TO YHWH.
Hence, according to the Hebrew mindset, the person who commits a capital crime, is ATONING FOR HIS OWN GUILT by in a sense paying his very own life.
For the non-capital crimes, an animal substitute sufficed.
In other words, for non-capital transgressions, a guilty man’s sins were transferred to the animal and then God accepted the life of the animal offering as a SUBSTITUTE for the life of the guilty man.
To conclude, the whole point I want to make here is that the murderer once condemned becomes God’s HOLY property.
In fact, if something is set apart for YHWH, whether it is the result of something negative or positive, it become God’s HOLY property, period.
And remember what we’ve learned about God’s HOLY property.
The consequence for trespassing on God’s HOLY property is DEATH, period.