The Value of a Man
Is it just me or does anyone else get excited about the book of Leviticus? IKR 😊! But while reading Leviticus 27 – in the Amplified – particularly verses 2 and 3, I saw something that I had never seen before. It reads,
Say to the Israelites, When a man shall make a special vow of persons to the Lord at your valuation, Then your valuation of a male from twenty years old to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.
The definition for valuation means ‘to set in order; estimate’. Therefore, this could now read,
Say to the Israelites, When a man shall make a special vow of persons to the Lord at [Moses’] valuation, then [Moses’] valuation [estimate] of a male from twenty years old to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.
The thing I took away from those verses is that first and foremost, ALL men were VALUED the same. None were higher. None were lower. Reminds me of the Declaration of Independence when Thomas Jefferson wrote,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Ironically the man who had a female slave/side chick by the name of Sally Hemmings, did in fact treat her as an equal to his wife, Martha. But I digress.
But while I have your attention, let me ask you a question? Who do those verses, Leviticus 27:2 and 3 remind you of? If you responded Judas, then you’re absolutely correct. Matthew 26:14-16 says,
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.
This is what the chief priests had VALUED Jesus’ life to be worth…only it WASN’T in accordance to the Mosaic standard set forth in the law.
The law stated that a male from twenty years old to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. They ESTIMATED or VALUED Jesus’ life at 40% LESS THAN the sanctuary standard. They considered the Lord LESS THAN A MAN, thus proving that our Lord can and was touched with the feeling of our infirmity of worthiness, significance and importance to others, because even His life was valued less than men’s standard.
The other thing is that the chief priests valuation came IMMEDIATELY AFTER Jesus’ encounter with the woman with the alabaster box. Just a few verses or moments before,
‘a woman came to Jesus having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples (which included Judas Iscariot) saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
This woman valued Jesus’ life at a year’s wage. ONE YEAR. Which according to today’s standard would be valued at anywhere between $30k - $36k today. A shekel today is worth ¢.29. At that rate, the 30 shekels they offered would be a total of $8.70 today. Her value of Jesus was 97 times what they thought the Lord was worth. 97. Not only that but Leviticus 27:4 says, “And if the person is a female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels.” They gave Jesus the same valuation as a woman which was 20 shekels or 40% less than that of a man. This is one of those #SMH moments because even today, people devalue and under-appreciate the Lord Jesus which is evidenced in how they value and/or devalue, us.
I must admit, when I read Leviticus 27 in the New King James Version, I was hurt because I knew it spoke of slavery. And though I’ve written a book entitled, ‘A Black Choctaw’s Take On The Constitution and Faith’ where I explain the biblical premise of slavery, I still found myself having to remind myself of why. But to know that the high priest and others devalued the Lord, and that someone, even back then, had been valued at a certain price, today, seems almost unconscionable, Yet it’s in the Word of God, and it happened.
Today, God doesn’t set a set valuation of men or women between the ages of 20 – 60, yet even in 2022, people place values on who we are – according to their standard; especially as women. Hence, high valued men and women. Rest in peace Kevin Samuels. And just like the chief priests – the chief economists, mathematicians, statisticians, accountants, NUMBERS GUYS of their day were way off with their projections, they still are today. Because had they known they were crucifying the Lord of glory and that people like you and me were to come, they never would have. I don’t know about you but from this moment on, I will seriously consider the value of others and never devalue what the people of God mean to me. Never will I ever let unbelievers place a value on the people of the kingdom of God.
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