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In the Gates

Devoted Things

The First Commandment

No other gods


Leviticus 27.28, 29

But no devoted thing that a man devotes to the LORD, of anything that he has, whether man or beast, or of his inherited field, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to the LORD. No one devoted, who is to be devoted for destruction from mankind, shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death.”

Matthew 26.6-13

“Devoted things” might include spoil taken in battle or perhaps simply special offerings to the Lord for one reason or another. Devoting something to the Lord was not to be done frivolously or without full intention of carrying out the offering Once something was devoted, it could not be redeemed. It was the Lord’s.

The same with enemy prisoners. It seems harsh to us to devote enemies to destruction by the sword, but we must remember the danger of allowing that pagan peoples of that day to influence the people of Israel. In the wisdom of God, for that time and place, He determined that the safest course for His people is to eliminate all their enemies who fall into their hands. Israel failed to do this more often than not, and spiritual and moral compromise, even disaster, were frequently the result.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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