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Why was the redemption price for men and women different in Leviticus 27:3–8?


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redemption price
Question: "Why was the redemption price for men and women different in Leviticus 27:3–8?"

In Leviticus 27, instructions are given regarding vows made on behalf of various people in dedication to the Lord. When a vow was made, the amount of the offering varied based on age and gender. The redemption price for men and women was different, as shown in the following list:

Males 60 and over: 15 shekels
Females 60 and over: 10 shekels
Males ages 20—60: 50 shekels
Females ages 20—60: 30 shekels
Males ages 5—20: 20 shekels
Females ages 5—20: 10 shekels
Males ages 0—5: 5 shekels
Females ages 0—5: 3 shekels

A shekel was believed to be the value of a worker for an entire month, so even one shekel was a large amount for the average person. For those too poor to pay the set amount, the priest would determine an appropriate price.

Clearly, the males 20—60 years of age required the highest price, and males were more expensive to dedicate than females. The reason appears to be based on the person’s ability to work in an agricultural society and on how many years that person could work. A male aged 20—60 was seen as someone who could perform the best labor, therefore resulting in the highest price. Those over 60 and under 20 could do some work, but not as much, traditionally. Those 5 years old and under required the lowest price, as they would have been unable to work much or at all.

It is important to note that the Bible begins with the creation of male and female in the image of God and of equal value in His sight. Genesis 1:27 states, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” The New Testament notes different roles for men and women but affirms the equality of both. Galatians 3:28 teaches, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Recommended Resources: Leviticus, New International Commentary on the Old Testament by Gordon Wenham and Logos Bible Software.

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Why was the redemption price for men and women different in Leviticus 27:3–8?

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