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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 6: Nazarites

 

Part 1.3: A Holy Camp

Ch.5: Working for a Pure Camp

Ch. 6: Nazarites

Ch.7: Offerings at the Dedication of the Tabernacle

Ch. 8: Setting Apart the Levites

Ch. 9: Passover & Presence

 

FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 6: Nazarites

 

v.1,2 The Nazirite Vow

v.3-6 Abstentions through the Period of the Vow

v.7-12 Coping with Deaths

v.13-17 Period of Vow Ended with Offerings

v.18-21 Shaved hair burnt and offerings presented as completion of Vow

v.22-27 The Priestly Blessing

 

[Preliminary Notes: Today we have monks or nuns, people who commit themselves to the service of God. Similar vows were not uncommon in Old Testament times, e.g. Jacob [Gen 28:20], Hannah [1 Sam 1:11], sailors [Jon 1:16], and we've already seen the law of redeeming vows in Lev 27 but vows of a Nazarite were relatively rare, yet there clearly were some [Amos 2:11,12]. Samson was a Nazarite [Judg 13:7] and it is possible Samuel was. A Nazarite was supposed to be the epitome of holiness and as a sign of being committed to God he would not cut his hair [thus avoiding the pride that may spring up in self-care]. Likewise he would stay away from anything ‘unclean' and as a dead body was considered unclean there were specific rules if he found himself encountering death (see v.7-12). When he came to the end of the period of the vow, he had to go through a process of righteously doing it via offerings before God. In the New Testament the apostle Paul obviously made a similar vow at one point – see Acts 18:18 – so it was still a practice followed by those seeking to be especially devout.]

  

   

v.1,2 The Nazirite Vow

 

v.1 The Lord said to Moses,

v.2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the Lord as a Nazirite,

   

 

v.3-6 Abstentions through the Period of the Vow

 

v.3 they [i] must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins.

v.4 As long as they remain under their Nazirite vow, they must [ii] not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.

v.5 “‘During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, [iii] no razor may be used on their head . They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long.

v.6 ‘Throughout the period of their dedication to the Lord, the Nazirite [iv] must not go near a dead body.

   

  

v.7-12 Coping with Deaths

v.7-8 Period of Dedication prematurely ended by a death

v.7 Even if their own father or mother or brother or sister dies, they must not make themselves ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of their dedication to God is on their head.

v.8 Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the Lord.

 

v.9 Phase 1: Day of Cleansing by cutting hair

v.9 “‘If someone dies suddenly in the Nazirite's presence, thus defiling the hair that symbolizes their dedication, they must shave their head on the seventh day —the day of their cleansing.

 

v.10-11 Phase 2: Dealing with his sin by offerings

v.10 Then on the eighth day they must bring two doves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

v.11 The priest is to offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to make atonement for the Nazirite because they sinned by being in the presence of the dead body. That same day they are to consecrate their head again.

 

v.12 Phase 3: Day of rededication

v.12 They must rededicate themselves to the Lord for the same period of dedication and must bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. The previous days do not count, because they became defiled during their period of dedication.

   

    

v.13-17 Period of Vow Ended with Offerings

 

v.13 “‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite when the period of their dedication is over. They are to be brought to the entrance to the tent of meeting.

v.14 There they are to present their offerings to the Lord: a year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a year-old ewe lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a fellowship offering,

v.15 together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and a basket of bread made with the finest flour and without yeast—thick loaves with olive oil mixed in, and thin loaves brushed with olive oil.

v.16 “‘The priest is to present all these before the Lord and make the sin offering and the burnt offering.

v.17 He is to present the basket of unleavened bread and is to sacrifice the ram as a fellowship offering to the Lord, together with its grain offering and drink offering.

   

   

v.18-21 Shaved hair burnt and offerings presented as completion of Vow

 

v.18 “‘Then at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the Nazirite must shave off the hair that symbolizes their dedication. They are to take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering.

v.19 “‘After the Nazirite has shaved off the hair that symbolizes their dedication, the priest is to place in their hands a boiled shoulder of the ram, and one thick loaf and one thin loaf from the basket, both made without yeast.

v.20 The priest shall then wave these before the Lord as a wave offering; they are holy and belong to the priest, together with the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. After that, the Nazirite may drink wine.

v.21 “‘This is the law of the Nazirite who vows offerings to the Lord in accordance with their dedication, in addition to whatever else they can afford. They must fulfil the vows they have made, according to the law of the Nazirite.'”

    

     

v.22-27 The Priestly Blessing

 

v.22 The Lord said to Moses,

v.23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

v.24 “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you;
v.25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
v.26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”'

v.27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

  

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 7