The Solemn Old Testament Vow versus today's casual marriage vow

A key differerence between a today's casual vow and solemn Bibllica vow has to do with the consequences. The Biblical vow involved severe consequences for those who broke it. Today's casual vows, which might include words such as "I swear to God..." have little to do with God's actual guidelines. They are usually just human expressions with no real tie to Biblical guidelines.

Simple statements or a quote from the Bible such as Daschle's reference Isaiah 9 has nothing to do with a vow. He tried to bring hope and encouraging words to his anxious listeners. There is no sign of any intention to come before God with a vow concerning his own promise and offerering to God. Therefore he would not face the severe Biblical judgement for breaking a vow made to God.

Here are some examples of the Biblical vow. Some were made lightly with no concern about consequences, others were serious and brought severe consequences:

"Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, 'If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.
     "So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the Lord delivered them into his hands. And he defeated them.... Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
     "When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was shis daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he ttore his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.” (Jdg 11:30-35)

"...Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace,then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar mshall be God’s house, nand of all that You give me I will surely give a 5tenth to You.”(Ge 28:20-22)

"Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ "And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see.... I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.’ ”  (Ge 31:11-13)

"So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of lthe 3tabernacle of the Lord. 10 mAnd she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and 4wept in anguish. 11 Then she nmade a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed olook on the affliction of Your maidservant and premember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and qno razor shall come upon his head.”
The New King James Version. 1982 (1 Sa 1:9-11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
13 gFor You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God

In the hlight of the living?

The New King James Version. 1982 (Ps 56:11-13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

"We will serve the Lord (v. 18), for he is our God, who has graciously engaged himself by promise to us, and to whom we have by solemn vow engaged ourselves.’’
Henry, M. (1996, c1991). Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume (Jos 24:15). Peabody: Hendrickson.

I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people,
19 In the qcourts of the Lord’s house,
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
The New King James Version. 1982 (Ps 116:18-19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

"We will serve the Lord (v. 18), for he is our God, who has graciously engaged himself by promise to us, and to whom we have by solemn vow engaged ourselves.’’
Henry, M. (1996, c1991). Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume (Jos 24:15). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Purpose in your heart not to sin. Make a solemn vow to oppose all sin in your life. The psalmist did that: “I have sworn, and I will confirm it, that I will keep Thy righteous ordinances” (Ps. 119:106). Unless you have that kind of determination in your life, you will find you are easily entangled by sin. In fact, it is that kind of bold affirmation and earnest heart that is at the root of all holy living. Until you make that kind of conscious commitment to the Lord, you’re going to battle the same things over and over—and be defeated.
That same psalm contains this wonderful verse: “I shall run the way of Thy commandments, for Thou wilt enlarge my heart” (v. 32). Distance runners’ hearts are usually larger than average. The many miles running in training actually conditions the heart to enable it to pump blood more efficiently during long periods of exercise. David was saying that God would equip him spiritually with a heart that fit him to run the race he had committed himself to. In other words, God will honor your commitment to lay aside sin.
Be suspicious of your own spirituality. Paul said, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). The seducing subtlety of our own heart will sometimes ensnare us at the very moments of our greatest spiritual victories. We can all be deceived quite easily; except for the grace of God, we would fall into any and every sin. Learn to seek that grace and never become confident in your own flesh (Phil. 3:3).
MacArthur, J., F., Jr. (1994). The vanishing conscience (Electronic ed.). Logos Library Systems (206). Dallas: Word Pub.

. In this day when marriage vows are taken so lightly, we need to remember that God judges all immoral people, whether believers or unbelievers.

Wiersbe, W. W. (1997, c1992). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament (372). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

18 So Paul still remained 5a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. pHe had his hair cut off at qCenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 2
The New King James Version. 1982 (Ac 18:18-20). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may qshave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. 25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, rwe have written and decided 5that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from 6sexual immorality.”

The New King James Version. 1982 (Ac 21:23-25). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.