A promise made to God of doing some good thing or abstaining from some lawful enjoyment, under the influence of gratitude for divine goodness, of imminent danger, the apprehension of future evils, or the desire of future blessings. To fulfill a vow binding one to sin, was to all sin to sin; but no considerations of inconvenience or loss could absolve one from a vow, Psalms 15:4 Malachi 1:14. Jacob, going into Mesopotamia, vowed the tenth of his estate, and promised to offer it at Beth-el, to the honor of God, Genesis 28:20-22. Moses enacted several laws for the regulation and execution of vows. "If thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee; that which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform," Deuteronomy 23:21,23 Ecclesiastes 5:4-5.
The vows of minors, etc., were not binding without the consent of the head of the family, Numbers 30:1-16. A man might devote himself or his children to the Lord, Numbers 6:2. Jephthah devoted his daughter, Judges 11:30-40; and Samuel was vowed and consecrated to the service of the Lord, 1 Samuel 1:11,27,28. If men or women vowed themselves to the Lord, they were obliged to adhere strictly to his service, according to the conditions of the vow; but in some cases they might be redeemed, Leviticus 27:1-34. These selfimposed services were more in keeping with the ancient dispensation, in which outward sacrifices and observances had so large a share, than with enlightened Christianity. See CORBAN, and NAZARITES.