Leviticus 27:3-8 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

3 The price for a man from 20 to 60 years old is 50 shekels[a] of silver. (You must use the official measure for the silver.) 4 The price for a woman who is 20 to 60 years old is 30 shekels. 5 The price for a man from 5 to 20 years old is 20 shekels. For a woman the price is 10 shekels. 6 The price for a boy from one month to five years old is 5 shekels. For a girl, the price is 3 shekels. 7 The price for a man who is 60 years old or older is 15 shekels. The price for a woman is 10 shekels.

8 “If anyone is too poor to pay the price, bring that person to the priest. The priest will decide how much money the person can afford to pay.

Why were men more valuable than women in this passage?

  • I recommend you do some "homework" first, which is kind of expected of original posters (OPs). A good place to start is here: bible.org/seriespage/22-value-vow-leviticus-27#P2721_859564. After reading that commentary you may just have your answer, but if you do not, you may be able to refine your question a little further, as well give the reference I've provided a link to. Welcome to Stack Exchange BHB. Don Dec 6 '18 at 0:33
  • Thank you. I'll look into it once I get internet. Dec 7 '18 at 18:00
  • God is the ultimate Lord and Master, of whom human lords and masters are but a faint image. Humans, in general, are said to be an image of God, by ruling over the beasts; see Genesis 1:25-27. Now, earthly lords and masters rule over their subjects, which were bought and sold as any other commodity. Until this day, employees sell their skills to their employers in exchange for a monthly salary. So the price paid to God mirrors that payed to any other master for a servant. Most works back then were of a physical nature, and males are on average physically stronger than their female counterparts.
    – Lucian
    Dec 22 '18 at 3:39

Because - in a primarily agricultural society - the burden of work fell upon the men. That was the basis of pricing.

This answer by Got Questions (https://www.gotquestions.org/redemption-price.html) put it perfectly:

Males were more expensive to dedicate than females, and males 20–60 years of age required the highest redemption price. The difference in redemption price appears to be based on a person’s ability to work in an agricultural society and on how many years that person could work. A man aged 20–60 was seen as a worker who could perform the best labor, therefore resulting in the highest redemption 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. 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 law of Leviticus 27 recognized that the burden of manual labor fell primarily on the male—and only during the years of his strength. The redemption price had nothing to do with the inherent worth of men and women; it had everything to do with the practicality of production in an agrarian society.

It wasn't sexist, but practical in terms of the societal roles for men & women back in the Old Testament.


Warren Wiersbe in his Wiersbe Bible Commentary, the complete old testament OT in one volume, page 249, says:

The amount of money assigned to each age bracket and sex had nothing to do with the worth of the individual as a person. Everyone was precious to the Lord. The key idea was how much work they would have been able to do. A shekel was the equivalent of a month’s income for a worker, although we don’t know how much buying power it had. Thus a male from 20-60 was evaluated at about 4 years’ income. Put that into modern economic equivalents, and you will rightly conclude that people didn’t rush into making these vows! It would indeed be a costly thing to pay 4 years’ income to fulfill a vow to the Lord.

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