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Numbers 6:1-21 – The Nazirite Vow

Summary

Men or women could consecrate themselves in special service to the Lord for a period of time through this "Nazirite" vow.

Analysis

While all Israel was called upon to serve God, people could voluntarily "separate themselves to the LORD" in a special way through this Nazirite vow. "Nazirite" comes from the Hebrew nazir, meaning to separate or consecrate. See the further description of this vow under Introductory Issues. Special rules apply to the vows of women (Numbers 30:3-16).

Numbers 6:1-21

The Nazirites

6The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When either men or women make a special vow, the vow of a nazirite,* to separate themselves to the Lord, 3they shall separate themselves from wine and strong drink; they shall drink no wine vinegar or other vinegar, and shall not drink any grape juice or eat grapes, fresh or dried. 4All their days as nazirites* they shall eat nothing that is produced by the grape-vine, not even the seeds or the skins.

5 All the days of their nazirite vow no razor shall come upon the head; until the time is completed for which they separate themselves to the Lord, they shall be holy; they shall let the locks of the head grow long.

6 All the days that they separate themselves to the Lord they shall not go near a corpse. 7Even if their father or mother, brother or sister, should die, they may not defile themselves; because their consecration to God is upon the head. 8All their days as nazirites* they are holy to the Lord.

9 If someone dies very suddenly nearby, defiling the consecrated head, then they shall shave the head on the day of their cleansing; on the seventh day they shall shave it. 10On the eighth day they shall bring two turtle-doves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 11and the priest shall offer one as a sin-offering and the other as a burnt-offering, and make atonement for them, because they incurred guilt by reason of the corpse. They shall sanctify the head that same day, 12and separate themselves to the Lord for their days as nazirites,* and bring a male lamb a year old as a guilt-offering. The former time shall be void, because the consecrated head was defiled.

13 This is the law for the nazirites* when the time of their consecration has been completed: they shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 14and they shall offer their gift to the Lord, one male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt-offering, one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin-offering, one ram without blemish as an offering of well-being, 15and a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of choice flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, with their grain-offering and their drink-offerings. 16The priest shall present them before the Lord and offer their sin-offering and burnt-offering, 17and shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest also shall make the accompanying grain-offering and drink-offering. 18Then the nazirites* shall shave the consecrated head at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and shall take the hair from the consecrated head and put it on the fire under the sacrifice of well-being. 19The priest shall take the shoulder of the ram, when it is boiled, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them in the palms of the nazirites,* after they have shaved the consecrated head. 20Then the priest shall elevate them as an elevation-offering before the Lord; they are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is elevated and the thigh that is offered. After that the nazirites* may drink wine.

21 This is the law for the nazirites* who take a vow. Their offering to the Lord must be in accordance with the nazirite* vow, apart from what else they can afford. In accordance with whatever vow they take, so they shall do, following the law for their consecration.

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10 February 2011

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