Understanding the difference between promises, vows, covenants and oaths is actually in terms of degree and direction for they may all be synonyms.
While a promise is an oral or written agreement to do or not do something for self or to others, vows are considered solemn promises, implying more commitment to do or not to do something to self or others; and yet it can be exchanged. An oath is an undertaken promise with an intent repercussion if violated, and a covenant is a solemn promise of what to do or not to do between two entities (2 or more persons) for mutual gains and usually sealed with an oath.
However, when a promise or vow or an oath is exchanged between two or more persons – solemnly or in private – it takes the form of a covenant with strong intent to abide and keep to it and sometimes with conscious or unconscious anticipated consequences. Some people actually go to the level of shedding or exchanging or drinking/tasting each other’s blood to seal the covenant. For blood covenant shows more commitment as Jesus Christ offered his Blood to establish New Covenant (cf Matt. 26:26; Heb 12:24). Hence if one enters into such contract or agreement, it should be taken so seriously.
If that the case, in what situation should one make such promise or vow or covenant?
“Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.” (Gen 31:44)
TO BE CONTINUED