Numbers 6

The Nazirite

1 The LORD said to Moses,
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,
3 they 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.
4 As long as they remain under their Nazirite vow, they must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.
5 “ ‘During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, 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.
6 “ ‘Throughout the period of their dedication to the LORD, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body.
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.
8 Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the LORD.
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.
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.
11 The priest is to offer one as a sin offering[a] 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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
16 “ ‘The priest is to present all these before the LORD and make the sin offering and the burnt offering.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 fulfill the vows they have made, according to the law of the Nazirite.’ ”

The Priestly Blessing

22 The LORD said to Moses,
23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
24 “ ‘ “The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’
27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

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Numbers 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

The law concerning the Nazarites. (1-21) The form of blessing the people. (22-27)

Verses 1-21 The word Nazarite signifies separation. Some were appointed of God, before their birth, to be Nazarites all their days, as Samson and John the Baptist. But, in general, it was a vow of separation from the world and devotedness to the services of religion, for a limited time, and under certain rules, which any person might make if they pleased. A Nazarite is spoken of as well known; but his obligation is brought to a greater certainty than before. That the fancies of superstitious men might not multiply the restraints endlessly, God gives them rules. They must not drink wine or strong drink, nor eat grapes. Those who separate themselves to God, must not gratify the desires of the body, but keep it under. Let all Christians be very moderate in the use of wine and strong drink; for if the love of these once gets the mastery of a man, he becomes an easy prey to Satan. The Nazarites were to eat nothing that came of the vine; this may teach the utmost care to avoid sin, and all that borders upon it, and leads to it, or may be a temptation to us. They must not cut their hair. They must neither poll their heads, nor shave their beards; this was the mark of Samson being a Nazarite. This signified neglect of the body, and of the ease and ornament of it. Those who separate themselves to God, must keep their consciences pure from dead works, and not touch unclean things. All the days of their separation they must be holy to the Lord. This was the meaning of those outward observances, and without this they were of no account. No penalty or sacrifice was appointed for those who wilfully broke their vow of being Nazarites; they must answer another day for such profane trifling with the Lord their God; but those were to be relieved who did not sin wilfully. There is nothing in Scripture that bears the least resemblance to the religious orders of the church of Rome, except these Nazarites. But mark the difference, or rather how completely opposed! The religious of that church are forbidden to marry; but no such restriction is laid upon the Nazarites. They are commanded to abstain from meats; but the Nazarites might eat any food allowed other Israelites. They are not generally forbidden wine, not even on their fasting days; but the Nazarites might not have wine at any time. Their vow is lasting, even to the end of their lives; the Nazarites' vow was only for a limited time, at their own will; and in certain cases not unless allowed by husbands or parents. Such a thorough difference there is between rules of man's invention and those directed in Scripture, Let us not forget that the Lord Jesus is not only our Surety, but also our example. For his sake we must renounce worldly pleasures, abstain from fleshy lusts, be separate from sinners, make open profession of our faith, moderate natural affections, be spiritually-minded, and devoted to God's service, and desirous to be an example all around us.

Verses 22-27 The priests were solemnly to bless the people in the name of the Lord. To be under the almighty protection of God our Saviour; to enjoy his favour as the smile of a loving Father, or as the cheering beams of the sun; while he mercifully forgives our sins, supplies our wants, consoles the heart, and prepares us by his grace for eternal glory; these things form the substance of this blessing, and the sum total of all blessings. In so rich a list of mercies worldly joys are not worthy to be mentioned. Here is a form of prayer. The name Jehovah is three times repeated. The Jews think there is some mystery; and we know what it is, the New Testament having explained it. There we are directed to expect the blessing from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the communion of the ( 2 Corinthians. 13:14 ) yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.

Cross References 51

  • 1. ver 5; S Genesis 28:20; Acts 21:23
  • 2. ver 6
  • 3. Judges 13:5; Judges 16:17; Amos 2:11,12
  • 4. S Leviticus 10:9; S Luke 1:15
  • 5. Ruth 2:14; Psalms 69:21; Proverbs 10:26
  • 6. S Leviticus 25:5
  • 7. Psalms 52:2; Psalms 57:4; Psalms 59:7; Isaiah 7:20; Ezekiel 5:1
  • 8. 1 Samuel 1:11
  • 9. S Leviticus 21:1-3; Numbers 19:11-22
  • 10. Numbers 9:6
  • 11. ver 18
  • 12. S Leviticus 14:9
  • 13. S Leviticus 14:10
  • 14. S Leviticus 5:7; Leviticus 14:22
  • 15. Leviticus 14:11
  • 16. S Exodus 30:10
  • 17. S Genesis 8:20
  • 18. S Exodus 29:36
  • 19. S Leviticus 12:6
  • 20. S Leviticus 5:15
  • 21. Acts 21:26
  • 22. Leviticus 14:11
  • 23. S Exodus 12:5
  • 24. ver 11; Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 14:10; Numbers 15:27
  • 25. S Leviticus 5:15
  • 26. Leviticus 3:1
  • 27. Leviticus 2:1; S Leviticus 6:14
  • 28. S Genesis 35:14; Numbers 15:1-7
  • 29. S Exodus 29:2; Leviticus 2:4
  • 30. Leviticus 1:3
  • 31. ver 10
  • 32. ver 11
  • 33. Leviticus 3:1
  • 34. S Exodus 29:41
  • 35. Leviticus 23:13
  • 36. ver 9; Acts 21:24
  • 37. Leviticus 7:12
  • 38. Leviticus 7:30
  • 39. S Leviticus 27:9
  • 40. S Leviticus 7:34
  • 41. Ecclesiastes 9:7
  • 42. ver 13
  • 43. ver 2
  • 44. Deuteronomy 21:5; 1 Chronicles 23:13
  • 45. S Genesis 28:3; Deuteronomy 28:3-6; Psalms 28:9; Psalms 128:5
  • 46. 1 Samuel 2:9; Psalms 17:8
  • 47. Job 29:24; Psalms 4:6; Psalms 31:16; Psalms 80:3; Psalms 119:135
  • 48. Genesis 43:29; Psalms 25:16; Psalms 86:16; Psalms 119:29
  • 49. Psalms 4:6; Psalms 44:3
  • 50. Psalms 4:8; Psalms 29:11; Psalms 37:11,37; Psalms 127:2; Isaiah 14:7; Jeremiah 33:6; John 14:27
  • 51. Deuteronomy 28:10; 2 Samuel 7:23; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Nehemiah 9:10; Jeremiah 25:29; Ezekiel 36:23

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "purification offering" ; also in verses 14 and 16

Chapter Summary


In this chapter is given the law concerning Nazarites, Nu 6:1,2; which directs what they were to abstain from, from drinking wine, or any strong liquors, from shaving their heads, and defiling themselves with the dead, Nu 6:3-8; and in case of a defilement, directions are given what offerings a Nazarite should bring to be offered for him, Nu 6:9-12; and when the time of his Nazariteship was up, an account is given of what rites and ceremonies should then be performed, Nu 6:13-21; and the chapter is concluded with the form of blessing the children of Israel, to be used by Aaron and his sons, Nu 6:22-27.

Numbers 6 Commentaries