“But if you restrain yourself from uttering a vow” (Dt.23:23).
R. Meir says:
“It is far better not to utter a vow at all, than to vow and not fulfill it” (Ecc.5:4).
Better than either is to avoid even the hint of a vow.
R. Judah says:
“It is far better not to utter a vow at all” (Ecc.5:4)—
Better than either is to utter a vow and pay it!2
“As you utter with your lips” (Dt.23:24)—
this is a prescriptive commandment
[to make the avowal out loud].
“Pay attention to your words” (Dt.23:24)—
this is a proscriptive commandment
[not to take the avowal lightly].
“So that you do” (Dt.23:24)—
this is a warning to the court,
to enforce upon you [fulfillment of the vow].
“Exactly what you have vowed” (Dt.23:24)—
this refers to the [value of the] avowed object.
“To HASHEM your God” (Dt.23:24)—
this applies to [vows based upon]
the value of persons (Lv.27:1-8);
dedications made to the priesthood (Lv:27:28);
and consecrations to the Abode (Lv.27:9).3
this is the Voluntary-offering
[that is paired with the Vow-offering].4
“Which you have uttered” (Dt.23:24)—
this refers to consecrations for
maintaining the Abode.5
“With your mouth” (Dt.23:24)—
this refers to [pledging] alms[for the destitute].