A Vow to GOD is a Perpetual Vow,
and if Broken, has Dire Consequences...
"It is ruin to a man to devour holy ones, and after vows to retract."
Proverbs 20:25



Is everything in the Bible?

Is the Holy Trinity overtly mentioned as the Holy Trinity?
No, not overtly, but
covertly* it is.

Is the
perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary mentioned in the Bible?
Just as for the Holy Trinity, it is not overtly mentioned.
Though like the Holy Trinity, it could be mentioned covertly.
There are Biblical guidelines for a woman to take a vow of chastity, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, a devout Jewess, no doubt knew Old Testament scripture quite well.

*For another example of covert Biblical verses go here.


Some examples of Biblical vows to the Lord:

Numbers 6:2-3, Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: When a man, or woman, shall make a vow to be sanctified, and will consecrate themselves to the Lord: (3) They shall abstain from wine, and from every thing that may make a man drunk. They shall not drink vinegar of wine, or of any other drink, nor any thing that is pressed out of the grape: nor shall they eat grapes either fresh or dried.

Deuteronomy 23:21-22, When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not be slack to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin in you. (22) But if you refrain from vowing, it shall be no sin in you.

1Samuel 1:11, And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."

Acts 18:18, But Paul, when he had stayed yet many days, taking his leave of the brethren, sailed thence into Syria (and with him Priscilla and Aquila), having shorn his head in Cenchrae. For he had a vow.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 
(5) It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.

Psalms 56:12-13, In me, O God, are vows to thee, which I will pay, praises to thee: (13) Because thou hast delivered my soul from death, my feet from falling: that I may please in the sight of God, in the light of the living.


Now here are the verses that could apply to the perpetual virginity of a woman.

Numbers 30:1-16, And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded. (2) If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. (3) If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth; (4) And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. (5) But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the LORD shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her. (6) And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul; (7) And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. (8) But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the LORD shall forgive her. (9) But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her. (10) And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath; (11) And her husband heard, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. (12) But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the LORD shall forgive her. (13) Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void. (14) But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them (15) But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity. (16) These are the statutes, which the LORD commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father's house. 

Does Numbers 30 'prove' the perpetual virginity of the BVM?
Holy Scripture does not say that she made the vow. However, Holy Scripture does not say that she did not make the vow either.
It is entirely possible that The Blessed Virgin Mary did make a vow of perpetual virginity using the guidelines shown in Numbers 30. It would be a powerful tool for justification of her perpetual virginity. Did you notice that those verses were directed mostly towards women, and possibly virgins at that?
Every chapter in Holy Scripture has meaning and Numbers 30 has meaning. Old Testament types are fulfilled by antitypes in the New Testament.
Here is one possible New Testament antitype of the type of Numbers 30:1-16.
Luke 1:26-28, And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, (27) To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary. (28) And the angel being come in, said unto her: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."




EXCERPTS FROM AN APOCRYPHAL BOOK,

THE GOSPEL OF THE NATIVITY OF MARY:

CHAPTER 7. But the virgin of the Lord advanced in age and in virtues; and though, in the words of the Psalmist, her father and mother had forsaken her, the Lord took her up. For daily was she visited by angels, daily did she enjoy a divine vision, which preserved her from all evil, and made her to abound in all good. And so she reached her fourteenth year; and not only were the wicked unable to charge her with anything worthy of reproach, but all the good, who knew her life and conversation, judged her to be worthy of admiration. Then the high priest publicly announced that the virgins who were publicly settled in the temple, and had reached this time of life, should return home and get married, according to the custom of the nation and the ripeness of their years. The others readily obeyed this command; but Mary alone, the virgin of the Lord, answered that she could not do this, saying both that her parents had devoted her to the service of the Lord, and that, moreover, she herself had made to the Lord a vow of virginity, which she would never violate by any intercourse with man. And the high priest, being placed in great perplexity of mind, seeing that neither did he think that the vow should be broken contrary to the Scripture, which says, Vow and pay, nor did he dare to introduce a custom unknown to the nation, gave order that at the festival, which was at hand, all the chief persons from Jerusalem and the neighbourhood should be present, in order that from their advice he might know what was to be done in so doubtful a case. And when this took place, they resolved unanimously that the Lord should be consulted upon this matter. And when they all bowed themselves in prayer, the high priest went to consult God in the usual way. Nor had they long to wait: in the hearing of all a voice issued from the oracle and from the mercy-seat, that, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, a man should be sought out to whom the virgin ought to be entrusted and espoused. For it is clear that Isaiah says: A rod shall come forth from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall ascend from his root; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of wisdom and piety; and he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. According to this prophecy, therefore, he predicted that all of the house and family of David that were unmarried and fit for marriage should bring there rods to the altar; and that he whose rod after it was brought should produce a flower, and upon the end of whose rod the Spirit of the Lord should settle in the form of a dove, was the man to whom the virgin ought to be entrusted and espoused.

CHAPTER 8. Now there was among the rest Joseph, of the house and family of David, a man of great age: and when all brought there rods, according to the order, he alone withheld his. Wherefore, when nothing in conformity with the divine voice appeared, the high priest thought it necessary to consult God a second time; and He answered, that of those who had been designated, he alone to whom the virgin ought to be espoused had not brought his rod. Joseph, therefore, was found out. For when he had brought his rod, and the dove came from heaven; and settled upon the top of it, it clearly appeared to all that he was the man to whom the virgin should be espoused. Therefore, the usual ceremonies of betrothal having been gone through, he went back to the city of Bethlehem to put his house in order, and to procure things necessary for the marriage. But Mary, the virgin of the Lord, with seven other virgins of her own age, and who had been weaned at the same time, whom she had received from the priest, returned to the house of her parents in Galilee.

CHAPTER 9. And in those days, that is, at the time of her first coming into Galilee, the angel Gabriel was sent to her by God, to announce to her the conception of the Lord, and to explain to her the manner and order of the conception. Accordingly, going in, he filled the chamber where she was with a great light; and most courteously saluting her, he said: Hail, Mary! O virgin highly favoured by the Lord, virgin full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou above all women, blessed above all men that have been hitherto born. And the virgin, who was already well acquainted with angelic faces, and was not unused to the light from heaven, was neither terrified by the vision of the angel, nor astonished at the greatness of the light, but only perplexed by his words; and she began to consider of what nature a salutation so unusual could be, or what it could portend, or what end it could have. And the angel, divinely inspired, taking up this thought, says: Fear not, Mary, as if anything contrary to thy chastity were hid under this salutation. For in choosing chastity, thou hast found favour with the Lord; and therefore thou, a virgin, shalt conceive without sin, and shalt bring forth a son. He shall be great, because He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth; and He shall be called the Son of the Most High, because He who is born on earth in humiliation, reigns in heaven in exaltation; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end; forasmuch as He is King of kings and Lord of lords, and His throne is from everlasting to everlasting. The virgin did not doubt these words of the angel; but wishing to know the manner of it, she answered: How can that come to pass? For while, according to my vow, I never know man, how can I bring forth without the addition of man's seed? To this the angel says: Think not, Mary, that thou shalt conceive in the manner of mankind: for without any intercourse with man, thou, a virgin, wilt conceive; thou, a virgin, wilt bring forth; thou, a virgin, wilt nurse: for the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee, without any of the heats of lust; and therefore that which shall be born of thee shall alone be holy, because it alone, being conceived and born without sin, shall be called the Son of God. Then Mary stretched forth her hands, and raised her eyes to heaven, and said: Behold the hand-maiden of the Lord, for I am not worthy of the name of lady; let it be to me according to thy word.

CHAPTER 10. Joseph therefore came from Judaea into Galilee, intending to marry the virgin who had been betrothed to him; for already three months had elapsed, and it was the beginning of the fourth since she had been betrothed to him. In the meantime, it was evident from her shape that she was pregnant, nor could she conceal this from Joseph. For in consequence of his being betrothed to her, coming to her more freely and speaking to her more familiarly, he found out that she was with child. He began then to be in great doubt and perplexity, because he did not know what was best for him to do. For, being a just man, he was not willing to expose her; nor, being a pious man, to injure her fair fame by a suspicion of fornication. He came to the conclusion, therefore, privately to dissolve their contract, and to send her away secretly. And while he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, thou son of David, fear not; that is, do not have any suspicion of fornication in the virgin, or think any evil of her; and fear not to take her as thy wife: for that which is begotten in her, and which now vexes thy soul, is the work not of man, but of the Holy Spirit. For she alone of all virgins shall bring forth the Son of God, and thou shalt call His name Jesus, that is, Saviour; for He shall save His people from their sins. Therefore Joseph, according to the command of the angel, took the virgin as his wife; nevertheless he knew her not, but took care of her, and kept her in chastity. And now the ninth month from her conception was at hand, when Joseph, taking with him his wife along with what things he needed, went to Bethlehem, the city from which he came. And it came to pass, while they were there, that her days were fulfilled that she should bring forth; and she brought forth her first-born son, as the holy evangelists have shown, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns God from everlasting to everlasting.

Knowing full well that 'THE GOSPEL OF THE NATIVITY OF MARY' is not inspired Scripture, it is nevertheless interesting reading. Apocryphal gospels were rejected by the Catholic Church for one reason or another, but there are some truths within them.

Elucidation:

1. GOD chose Mary to be the mother of His Son.
2. Through His Archangel Gabriel, she is praised three times as being precisely, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women".
3. In Luke 1:28, she is praised three times as being 'full of grace', the 'Lord is with her', and 'blessed is she among women'.
4. A vow to GOD of perpetual virginity by a young woman as documented in Numbers 30, is a possible qualifier for her to receive those three praises.
5. Heaven is a perfect state of being. There is no stain of sin in Heaven.
6. It is hard to believe that the Son of GOD would come down from such a perfect Heavenly environment to dwell for nine months in an imperfect human environment.  
7. GOD did not choose just any woman to bear His Son. That is why He chose Mary, a pure and sinless virgin, since GOD and sin are mutually excludable. 
8. St. Joseph had a sense of trepidation when finding her with child, until an angel of GOD explained to him in a dream that it came about by the power of the Holy Spirit.
9. Holy Scripture does not say that Mary had other children, as some would have us believe.

The circumstantial evidence presented here strongly suggests that the Blessed Virgin Mary did indeed take the vow.




Written by Bob Stanley, July 22, 2008



 Back to Home Page...