Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:12: “You shall not swear by my name falsely, and profane the name of your Elohim. I am Yahweh.”
When you make “big promises,” or swear an oath, it should always be done in the Name of our Almighty Father, to hold us to our word and make us accountable for our actions. But is it that simple? Let us examine the origin of the word “oath/swear” to extract the truth from it.
The word “swear” or “oath,” as seen in the previous scripture example, is derived from the Hebrew word “sheva“ שָׁבַע (H7650 – shä·vah) which means “to swear, take an oath, swear by the name of Elohim, and/or to curse.“
The picture that we see is very reminiscent to the saying “holding something over my head,” it is literally “the pressing shade/covering of the House/Family.” The pressure of an oath made in Yahweh’s name casts shade over you until you fulfill your word, hence the desire to quickly fulfill an oath and remove that shade between you and the Father so that you can Walk in His light!
First instance of Sheva in the Scriptures:
Beresheit (Genesis) 21:23: “And now, swear to me by Elohim, not to be untrue to me, to my offspring, or to my descendants. Do to me according to the kindness that I have done to you and to the land in which you have dwelt.”
– This was the conversation between Avraham and Avimelek, Avimelek seek peace and an oath between the two to settle the dispute of a seized well of water. Avraham then dug a new well, gave Avimelek 7 ewe lambs as a witness, and called the well Be’ersheva (Beersheba) because the two of them made an oath there!
Other instances of Sheva:
Beresheit (Genesis) 22:15-17:
(15) And the Messenger of יהוה called to Avraham a second time from the heavens,
(16) and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares יהוה, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
(17) that I shall certainly bless you, and I shall certainly increase your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore, and let your seed possess the gate of their enemies.
Beresheit (Genesis) 24:2-4:
(2) And Avraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh,
(3) so that I make you swear by יהוה, the Elohim of the heavens and the Elohim of the earth, that you do not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Kenaʽanites, among whom I dwell,
(4) but to go to my land and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Yitschaq.”
Shemoth (Exodus) 13:4-6:
(4) “Today you are going out, in the month Aviv.
(5) And it shall be, when יהוה brings you into the land of the Kenaʽanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hiwwites, and the Yevusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month.
(6) Seven days you eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day is a festival to יהוה.”
Vayikra (Leviticus) 5:6: ‘Or when a being swears, speaking rashly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man swears rashly with an oath, and it has been hidden from him, when he shall know it, then he shall be guilty of one of these.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:2-5:
(2) “When any being sins, and committed a trespass against יהוה, and has lied to his neighbor about a deposit, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or shall extort from his neighbor,
(3) or has found what was lost and has lied concerning it, or did swear falsely, so that he sins in regard to any one of all these that a man does,
(4) then it shall be, when he sins, and shall be guilty, that he shall return what he took by robbery, or what he has extorted, or the deposit which was deposited with him, or the lost item which he found,
(5) or all that about which he swore falsely. He shall repay its total value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whom it belongs, on the day of his guilt offering.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:12: ‘And do not swear falsely by My Name and so profane the Name of your Elohim. I am יהוה.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 30:2: “When a man vows a vow to יהוה, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he does not break his word, he does according to all that comes out of his mouth.”
Other verses: Num 5:19-22; 11:12; 14:16-23; 32:10-11; Deu 1:8, 34-35; 2:14; 4:21,31; 6:10, 13, 18, 23; 7:8, 12-13; 8:1, 18; 9:5; 10:11, 20; 11:9, 21; 13:17; 19:8; 26:3,15; 28:9-11; 29:13; 30:20; Jos 2:12-20; 9:18-20; Jdg 2:1,15; 15:12; 1Sa 3:14; 14:27-28; 19:6; 20:3, 17, 42; 24:21-22; 28:10; 2Sa 3:9, 35; 19:7, 23; 21:2, 17; also 1Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Psalms, Songs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hoshea, Amos, Micah, Zephaniah, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Do not take oaths lightly or swear falsely, the responsibility falls upon your own head. Make oaths in the Name of the Almighty and seek to complete them with urgency to allow His honor and esteem to be poured out on you for your faithfulness. May Yahweh bless your words, your oaths, and all that you set your hand to do!