The Law of the Nazarite in His
2-8. When either man or woman … shall vow a
vow of a Nazarite—that is, "a separated one," from a
Hebrew word, "to separate." It was used to designate a class of
persons who, under the impulse of extraordinary piety and with a view
to higher degrees of religious improvement, voluntarily renounced the
occupations and pleasures of the world to dedicate themselves
unreservedly to the divine service. The vow might be taken by either
sex, provided they had the disposal of themselves (Nu 30:4), and for a limited period—usually
a month or a lifetime (Jud 13:5; 16:17). We do not know, perhaps, the whole
extent of abstinence they practised. But they separated themselves from
three things in particular—namely, from wine, and all the
varieties of vinous produce; from the application of a razor to their
head, allowing their hair to grow; and from pollution by a dead body.
The reasons of the self-restrictions are obvious. The use of wine
tended to inflame the passions, intoxicate the brain, and create a
taste for luxurious indulgence. The cutting off the hair being a
recognized sign of uncleanness (Le 14:8, 9), its unpolled luxuriance was a symbol
of the purity he professed. Besides, its extraordinary length kept him
in constant remembrance of his vow, as well as stimulated others to
imitate his pious example. Moreover, contact with a dead body,
disqualifying for the divine service, the Nazarite carefully avoided
such a cause of unfitness, and, like the high priest, did not assist at
the funeral rites of his nearest relatives, preferring his duty to God
to the indulgence of his strongest natural affections.
9-12. If any man die very suddenly by him, and he
hath defiled the head of his consecration—Cases of sudden
death might occur to make him contract pollution; and in such
circumstances he was required, after shaving his head, to make the
prescribed offerings necessary for the removal of ceremonial defilement
(Le 15:13; Nu 19:11). But by the terms of this law an
accidental defilement vitiated the whole of his previous observances,
and he was required to begin the period of his Nazaritism afresh. But
even this full completion did not supersede the necessity of a sin
offering at the close. Sin mingles with our best and holiest
performances, and the blood of sprinkling is necessary to procure
acceptance to us and our services.
13-20. when the days of his separation are
fulfilled, &c.—On the accomplishment of a limited vow of
Nazaritism, Nazarites might cut their hair wherever they happened to be
18:18); but the hair was to
be carefully kept and brought to the door of the sanctuary. Then after
the presentation of sin offerings and burnt offerings, it was put under
the vessel in which the peace offerings were boiled; and the priest,
taking the shoulder (Le 7:32),
when boiled, and a cake and wafer of the meat offering, put them on the
hands of the Nazarites to wave before the Lord, as a token of
thanksgiving, and thus released them from their vow.
Nu 6:23-27. The Form of
Blessing the People.
23-27. Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying,
On this wise ye shall bless the congregation of Israel,
&c.—This passage records the solemn benediction which God
appointed for dismissing the people at the close of the daily service.
The repetition of the name "Lord" or "Jehovah" three times, expresses
the great mystery of the Godhead—three persons, and yet one God.
The expressions in the separate clauses correspond to the respective
offices of the Father, to "bless and keep us"; of the Son, to be
"gracious to us"; and of the Holy Ghost, to "give us peace." And
because the benediction, though pronounced by the lips of a fellow man,
derived its virtue, not from the priest but from God, the encouraging
assurance was added, "I the Lord will bless them."