The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate someone to the Lord by paying the value of that person, here is the scale of values to be used. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty is valued at fifty shekels of silver, as measured by the sanctuary shekel. A woman of that age is valued at thirty shekels of silver. A boy between the ages of five and twenty is valued at twenty shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at ten shekels of silver. A boy between the ages of one month and five years is valued at five shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at three shekels of silver. A man older than sixty is valued at fifteen shekels of silver; a woman of that age is valued at ten shekels of silver. If you desire to make such a vow but cannot afford to pay the required amount, take the person to the priest. He will determine the amount for you to pay based on what you can afford.
“If your vow involves giving an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the Lord, any gift to the Lord will be considered holy. You may not exchange or substitute it for another animal—neither a good animal for a bad one nor a bad animal for a good one. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy. If your vow involves an unclean animal—one that is not acceptable as an offering to the Lord—then you must bring the animal to the priest. He will assess its value, and his assessment will be final, whether high or low. If you want to buy back the animal, you must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent.
“If someone dedicates a house to the Lord, the priest will come to assess its value. The priest’s assessment will be final, whether high or low. If the person who dedicated the house wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the house will again be his.
“If someone dedicates to the Lord a piece of his family property, its value will be assessed according to the amount of seed required to plant it—fifty shekels of silver for a field planted with five bushels of barley seed. If the field is dedicated to the Lord in the Year of Jubilee, then the entire assessment will apply. But if the field is dedicated after the Year of Jubilee, the priest will assess the land’s value in proportion to the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. Its assessed value is reduced each year. If the person who dedicated the field wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the field will again be legally his. But if he does not want to buy it back, and it is sold to someone else, the field can no longer be bought back. When the field is released in the Year of Jubilee, it will be holy, a field specially set apart for the Lord. It will become the property of the priests.
“If someone dedicates to the Lord a field he has purchased but which is not part of his family property, the priest will assess its value based on the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. On that day he must give the assessed value of the land as a sacred donation to the Lord. In the Year of Jubilee the field must be returned to the person from whom he purchased it, the one who inherited it as family property. (All the payments must be measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs.)
“You may not dedicate a firstborn animal to the Lord, for the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats already belong to him. However, you may buy back the firstborn of a ceremonially unclean animal by paying the priest’s assessment of its worth, plus 20 percent. If you do not buy it back, the priest will sell it at its assessed value.
“However, anything specially set apart for the Lord—whether a person, an animal, or family property—must never be sold or bought back. Anything devoted in this way has been set apart as holy, and it belongs to the Lord. No person specially set apart for destruction may be bought back. Such a person must be put to death.
“One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.”
These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.