Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them
Whom the following law only concerned, and not Gentiles; so runs the Jewish canon,
``the Gentiles have no Nazariteship, though they may bring their vows and freewill offerings as an Israelite, yet if they vow the vow of a Nazarite, the law of the Nazarite is not obliging on them, or they bound by it; but it is free for them to drink wine, and defile themselves for the dead; for it is written, "speak unto the children of Israel" F17:''when either man or woman shall separate [themselves] to vow a vow of a
or "do a wonderful thing" F18; something unusual and uncommon, and what is out of the way of the men of the world, who give themselves up to pleasure, and have little regard to the worship and service of God; wherefore for a person, a man or woman, to vow abstinence from wine and dress, and from the company of others, and to oblige themselves to strict and close devotion to God, was something singular and surprising. This is to be understood of such persons who were at their own disposal; for such that were in their minority, and under the power of parents, or were married women, if they vowed, their vows did not stand, and their parents or husbands could disannul them, unless they had consented to them by their silence, when they heard them made, ( Numbers 30:3-14 ) . There were various sorts of Nazarites; some were appointed by God, as Samson; some were devoted by their parents, as Samuel; and some by themselves, concerning whom is this law more especially; some were perpetual Nazarites, a Nazarite for life, as the two persons just mentioned; though the Jews distinguish between a Samsonian Nazarite, and a perpetual one F19; and some were only for a certain time, according as they vowed:
to separate [themselves] unto the Lord;
the Targum of Jonathan is, "to the name of the Lord"; to the honour of his name. Such persons devoted themselves, and set apart their time to serve the Lord in a stricter and purer manner than others, and therefore were had in great account, ( Lamentations 4:7 ) ( Amos 2:11 ) ; they were types of Christ, who, though he was not strictly a Nazarite, but a Nazarene, yet answered to the Nazarites in his being set apart in divine predestination by his Father to the office of Mediator; in the sanctification of himself, and devoting himself, his time and service, to his Father's glory; and in his being holy and harmless in his life and conversation, and separate from sinners: and they were also emblems of the special people of God, who are a separate people in election, redemption, and calling, and in the intercession of Christ; and as they will be at the last judgment, and to all eternity, and should be now separate from others in their lives and conversations.
F17 Misn. Nazir, c. 9. sect. 1. Maimon & Bartenora in ib.
F18 (alpy) "mirificaverit", Montanus; "si mirandum aliquid fecerit", Munster; and some in Fagius and Vatablus; so Aben Ezra.
F19 Misn. Nazir, c. 1. sect. 2.