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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Numbers 6

Verses 1-27

CHAPTER 6

The Nazarite

1. The vow of a Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-8)

2. The defilement of the Nazarite (Numbers 6:9-12)

3. The law of the Nazarite (Numbers 6:15-21)

4. The blessing of Aaron and his sons (Numbers 6:22-27)

The word Nazarite means, one who is separated. The vow of the Nazarite meant separation unto Jehovah and separation in three things: 1. Separation from wine and strong drink, vinegar of wine, vinegar of strong drink, liquor of grapes, moist or dried grapes, from all that is made of the wine-tree, from the kernels even unto the husks. 2. His hair was to grow long and no razor was to come upon his head. 3. He was to be separated from the dead. This Nazarite vow was only for a certain period of time and not permanent. When it ended he shaved his head and drank wine.

This entire chapter concerning the Nazarite is of intense interest for it contains many helpful and most blessed lessons for us. It is needless to say that no more vows like the vow of the Nazarite can be made in the literal sense of the word, just as there is no longer a special class of priests among God’s people. A Nazarite was a separate one, a saint, and such are we in Christ Jesus. But while the grace of God has constituted us saints, the practical living out of our Nazariteship remains with us. It must be the matter of the willing heart, the heart, which, in devotion to the Lord, yields itself to Him. The wine, strong drink, and all which comes from the vine stands for earthly joys, for pleasures, for that which is pleasing to the old nature. The wine and strong drink stand typically for the intoxicating pleasures which this poor, lost world indulges in and which the god of this age so often uses to dull the heart and the spirituality of the saints. But there are other things mentioned, which in themselves are harmless, like the moist grapes and dried grapes. These represent also earthly joys of a harmless character, but which cannot give to the believer the joy in the Lord which His heart craves. Christ is to be our all in all, the saint does not need anything whatever of earthly joys to sustain him. Christ is sufficient. Asaph reveals the true Nazarite spirit, when He said, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none on earth that I desire beside Thee” (Psalms 73:25). Paul in writing to the Philippians gives the expression of a Nazarite: “For me to live is Christ.” “And furthermore, I consider all things but loss for the sake of the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord; for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

“Legality this is not. Legality is the spirit of self righteousness, or of slavish dread, never of love, or desire after Christ, or of expectation from Him, such as that of which we have been speaking. Carry these ever so far, they can never land you in that in the direction of which they do not even point, but away from it. He who speaks of himself as doing but one thing was neither a legalist nor an extremist. He was simply a man into whose heart, forever filling it, the glory of Christ had shined.

“Let us not confound this, however, with the spirit of asceticism that has peopled monasteries with men fleeing vainly from this world, or scattered through the desert the abodes of the recluse. Nor let us imagine as involved in it any ‘death to nature,’ in which what God has made or instituted is branded as if it were unclean. It is striking that just in these two epistles in which Christian position is most emphasized (Ephesians and Colossians) the duties of earthly relationships are most largely dwelt upon. The lilies of the field could be seen by Him who as Son of Man was here on earth for us arrayed in glory beyond all Solomon’s. His hands indeed had made them, and if not a sparrow fell to the ground without His Father, He could say, ‘I and My Father are one.’ Still as ever is it true that the Lord’s works are manifold, and in wisdom has He made them all: the earth is full of His riches; yea, and His works are sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

“But the Christian Nazarite is Christ’s: therefore in his pleasures, in his business, in his duties, Christ is before him, with him, over him. He has fellowship with the Father and the Son, and there is nothing for him outside this. Here is the principle which makes him of necessity a stranger to what they find pleasure in, who find none in Him. The world’s ‘vine of wine,’ as a whole, he is separate from” (F.W. Grant, Numerical Bible).

The long hair of the Nazarite is not difficult to interpret. 1 Corinthians 11:1-15 gives the key. “if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him. But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given her for a covering.” The long hair of the woman testifies of the authority under which she is put. The long hair of the Nazarite therefore showed that he had humbled himself, made of himself no reputation. He took the place of dependence and loneliness. He gave up his rights and became nothing. And this is the place of blessing and power. The Christian Nazarite in his practical separation to the Lord, loves the low place and delights to follow after Him who emptied Himself and stooped so low. The separation from the dead has the same meaning as in the previous chapter. May it please God to give the writer and every reader of these lines a deeper longing to live as a true Nazarite, separated unto the Lord.

The Nazarite vow ended. Our separation is only as long as we are in the wilderness. The time came when the Nazarite, having fulfilled his vow, drank wine. A time of joy is coming for the saints of God, when His words shall be fulfilled. “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). Then in His presence, delivered completely from sin and an evil world, we shall have joy unending, and instead of the place of lowliness we shall be exalted and share His throne with Him. Oh! for a thousand lives to devote to the Lord Jesus Christ!

The blessing with which this chapter ends gives a precious revelation of the triune God. Three times the Name of Jehovah was put upon the children of Israel; the Father-God, who keeps; Jehovah the Son, who is gracious; Jehovah the Holy Spirit, who gives peace. And there are certain people who deny the triune God and claim that no such doctrine is found in the Bible! How great will be the blessing, when He comes the second time to bless His people and all creation!

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Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Numbers 6". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/numbers-6.html. 1913-1922.