The common characteristics described above set some broad guidelines while leaving the vower enough leeway for self-expression within the biblical tradition of vowing.
Clearly, each vower is unique, and every vow comes from a unique interaction of a vower and his or her circumstances.
The four vows discussed here share eight common characteristics: (1) a voluntary vow can be made by anyone and everyone, man or woman, individual or group; (2) the unidentified narrator and not the vower defines the act as a vow; (3) the vower is in a state of distress and seeks the Lord's support via the vow; (4) the vower uses language that manifests some intensity of feeling, as well as a personal relationship with the Lord; (5) the vows show a complex concern with urgent human issues and fears; (6) the vower addresses the Lord directly and in a personal manner; (7) the vower sets forth a condition for the Lord to meet; (8) the vower follows the condition with a promise to dedicate something--a service or property--to the Lord as thanks for the Lord's support.
As illustrated by the four examples, a vow to the Lord deserved careful thought on the part of the vower for three prime reasons.
We know that our four vowers are addressing the Lord.