Numbers 6:1-21

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.’ ”

Numbers 6:1-21 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 6

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 6:1-21 In-Context

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 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.’ ”
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;

Cross References 43

  • 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

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "purification offering" ; also in verses 14 and 16
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.