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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
Numbers 6

 

 

Verses 1-21

Nazirite vows (6:1-21)

The name Nazirite is not to be confused with Nazarene (the name for a citizen of Nazareth). It comes from the Hebrew word nazir, whose meaning indicates that a Nazirite vow was one of separation. People could make such a vow if they wanted to declare openly that they had set themselves apart to God for a certain period to do some particular service (6:1-2).

Nazirites expressed their commitment to their vow by submitting to three specific requirements. By refusing wine and anything likely to produce it, they showed their temporary refusal of the enjoyments of life. At the same time they ensured they would not lose control of themselves through drunkenness. By letting their hair grow, they made it clear to the general public that they were living under the conditions of the vow. By not touching anything dead, they emphasized to themselves and others the holiness that their service for God required (3-8).

No remedy was available for those who broke a vow deliberately. If they accidentally touched a dead body they could ask forgiveness through a ceremony in which they offered two birds (the usual offering for ceremonial uncleanness; Leviticus 15:13-15) and a lamb (an additional guilt offering; Leviticus 5:6). But the time they had observed the vow was lost and they had to begin all over again (9-12).

At the end of the period of their vow, Nazirites offered sacrifices and shaved all hair from the head. They were no longer bound by the three specific conditions of the Nazirite vow (13-20). As for the thing vowed, they must have done what they had promised. Their sincerity would be indicated by the voluntary offering of any additional sacrifices they could afford (21).


Verses 22-27

The priestly blessing (6:22-27)

When the priests blessed the people, the blessing they pronounced was a reminder that God alone provided Israel with health, prosperity, protection and safety. In his grace and mercy he would be patient with their failures, correct their weaknesses and give them the full enjoyment of his unlimited blessings. They were God's own people (22-27).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Numbers 6:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/numbers-6.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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