Numbers 6 (CEV)
Rules for Nazirites
The vow of the Nazirite was to express one’s special desire to draw close to God and to separate one’s self from the comforts and pleasures of this world.
From G. J. Wenham: “The English word Nazirite transliterates Hebrew nazir, meaning “set apart.”
1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel:
If any of you want to dedicate yourself to me by vowing to become a Nazirite, 3you must no longer drink any wine or beer or use any kind of vinegar. Don’t drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins– 4not even the seeds or skins.
5Even the hair of a Nazirite is sacred to me, and as long as you are a Nazirite, you must never cut your hair.
Judges 13:1-5 (NIV)
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
6During the time that you are a Nazirite, you must never go close to a dead body, 7-8not even that of your father, mother, brother, or sister. That would make you unclean. Your hair is the sign that you are dedicated to me, so remain holy.
So — The Nazirite was forbidden to eat or drink anything from the grape vine; this was a form of self-denial connected with the idea of a special consecration to God. Generally speaking, wine and grape products were thought to be a blessing (Proverbs 3:10), something to be gratefully received from God (Psalms 104:15). So one’s diet was consecrated.
The hair was to be allowed to grow all during the period of the vow, and then cut at the conclusion of the vow. This was a way of outwardly demonstrating to the world that this man or woman was under a special vow. So one’s appearance was consecrated.
Dead bodies — even those of a close relative — were not to be approached during the vow of a Nazirite. Separation from death — the effect of sin — was essential during the period of the vow. So one’s associations were consecrated.
9If someone suddenly dies near you, your hair is no longer sacred, and you must shave it seven days later during the ceremony to make you clean. 10Then on the next day, bring two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the sacred tent. 11He will offer one of the birds as a sacrifice for sin and the other as a burnt offering, a sacrifice to please me. You will then be forgiven for being too near a dead body, and your hair will again become sacred. 12But the dead body made you unacceptable, so you must make another vow to become a Nazirite and be dedicated once more. Finally, a year-old ram must be offered as the sacrifice to make things right.
13When you have completed your promised time of being a Nazirite, go to the sacred tent 14and offer three animals that have nothing wrong with them: a year-old ram as a burnt offering, a sacrifice to please me, a year-old female lamb as a sacrifice for sin, and a full-grown ram as an offering of well-being, a sacrifice to ask my blessing. 15Wine offerings and grain sacrifices must also be brought with these animals. Finally, you are to bring a basket of bread made with your finest flour and olive oil, but without yeast. Also bring some thin wafers brushed with oil.
The vow of a Nazirite ended with a public ceremony, with extensive sacrifice.
16The priest will take these gifts to my altar and offer them, so that I will be pleased and will forgive you. 17Then he will sacrifice the ram and offer the wine, grain, and bread.
18After that, you will stand at the entrance to the sacred tent, shave your head,
and put the hair in the fire where the priest has offered the sacrifice to ask my blessing.
19Once the meat from the ram’s shoulder has been boiled, the priest will take it, along with one loaf of bread and one wafer brushed with oil, and give them to you. 20You will hand them back to the priest, who will lift them up in dedication to me. Then he can eat the meat from the ram’s shoulder, its choice ribs, and its hind leg, because this is his share of the sacrifice. After this, you will no longer be a Nazirite and will be free to drink wine. 21These are the requirements for Nazirites. However, if you can afford to offer more, you must do so.
The Blessing for the People
22The LORD told Moses, 23” When Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel, they must say:
24I pray that the LORD
will bless and protect you,
25and that he will show you mercy
26May the LORD be good to you
and give you peace.”
27Then the LORD said, ” If Aaron and his sons ask me to bless the Israelites, I will give them my blessing.”
The three-fold repetition of Lord does not prove the Trinity, but it certainly illustrates it.
- God the Father blesses and keeps His children
- God the Son makes God’s face to shine on us and brings us grace
- God the Holy Spirit communicates God’s attention to us, and gives us peace
2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
HERE the Concordia College Band sings (!) “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” by Peter C. Lutkin.