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In order to annul a vow, there must be a reason to annul it. Usually, that reason is of the form, "If I had known XYZ, I never would have taken that oath!" The 9th perek of Masechet Nedarim discusses annulling vows using the reason that something happened after the oath was taken which, had the person who swore known it would happen, he wouldn't have sworn ...
The Malbim says that they could not release their oath since they had an alternative solution which was the scenario that they enacted.
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