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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 6

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-12

The Nazarite Vows

v. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 2. Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, When either man or woman, for the sex made no difference in the case of such a vow, the only restrictions being given in Chapter 30, shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord, to live as men and women devoted to the Lord, as a special expression of piety,

v. 3. he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, the latter being a very intoxicating liquor made from barley, dates, and honey, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, the fresh, sweet grape-juice, as it comes from the press, nor eat moist grapes, as they come from the vine, or dried, in the form of raisins.

v. 4. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine-tree, from the kernels even to the husk, the prohibition with reference to foods or drinks made from grapes being absolute, as pertaining to the sensual delights with which the Nazarite had nothing to do; he was to be as remote as possible from the spirit of drunkenness.

v. 5. All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head, for the free-growing head of hair was to serve as the symbol of the proper enthusiasm in its steady strength; until the days be fulfilled in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, consecrated, set aside to the Lord, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow, the symbol of the higher, divine power of life.

v. 6. All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body, not become contaminated by contact with it.

v. 7. He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die, being, in this respect, like the high priest. Leviticus 21:11, because the consecration of his God is upon his head. The prohibition of the greater, of course, included the less, and the Nazarite was under obligation to guard against every form of contamination.

v. 8. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord.

v. 9. And if any man die very suddenly by him, without premonition or previous warning, and he, the Nazarite, hath defiled the head of his consecration, his unshorn head being the diadem of his God, the visible sign of his consecrated condition, then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it, for that was the day always chosen for purposes of purification.

v. 10. And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles or two young pigeons, as in the case of Levitical uncleanness, Leviticus 15:14, to the priest, to the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation;

v. 11. and the priest shall offer the one for a sin-offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, reestablish the right relation between the worshiper and Jehovah, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head the same day, consecrate it to the Lord for a second time, for unhindered growth.

v. 12. And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation, begin his period of consecration anew, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass-offering, to absolve the worshiper from all guilt; but the days that were before shall be lost, shall not count for the fulfillment of the vow, because his separation was defiled. For a Christian there are no unusual periods of special sanctification, although we observe certain outward times of particular devotion to the Lord, but his whole life is devoted to the service of his heavenly Father and of his Savior, Jesus Christ.

Verses 13-21

The Nazarite Sacrifices

v. 13. And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled, when he has completed the period for which his vow was in force: He shall be brought unto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation,

v. 14. and he shall offer his offering unto the Lord, one he-lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin-offering, the former to establish complete fellowship between Jehovah and the worshiper, the latter to atone for any sins of weakness that may have happened during the period of separation, and one ram without blemish for peace-offerings,

v. 15. and a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, as they were prescribed for every peace-offering, Leviticus 7:12, and their meat-offering, and their drink-offerings, as they pertained to the burnt offerings and to the peace-offerings, in the form of flour, oil, and wine, Numbers 15:3-15.

v. 16. And the priest shall bring them before the Lord, and shall offer his sin-offering and his burnt offering;

v. 17. and he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace-offerings unto the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall offer also his meat-offering and his drink-offering.

v. 18. And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation, the head of hair which had so long remained unshorn as a token of his devotion to Jehovah, at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace-offerings, thus dedicating the ornamental covering of his head entirely to Jehovah.

v. 19. And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder, the upper part of the fore quarter, of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven;

v. 20. and the priest shall wave them for a wave-offering before the Lord. This is holy for the priest, with the wave-breast and heave-shoulder, Exodus 29:27-28. And after that the Nazarite may drink wine, he is absolved from the external obligations attending his vow.

v. 21. This is the law of the Nazarite "who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the Lord for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get, whatever else he may afford in the line of gifts to Jehovah; according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation. Nazarite vows are not enjoined in the New Testament, but it may often serve for a Christian's self-discipline if he practices some form of self-denial, especially if there are many people in need of assistance.

Verses 22-27

The Form of Public Blessing

v. 22. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 23. Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, especially at the time of dismissal at the end of worship, Leviticus 9:22, saying unto them,

v. 24. The Lord bless thee and keep thee. This first strophe of the blessing forms the general foundation of the entire benediction, of the whole salvation brought to men by revelation. The blessing of Jehovah should be upon them, give to them all prosperity in material and spiritual things in full and rich measure. This includes that He will turn aside every curse, ward off every adversity from those that are His. The providence of God, both in granting blessings and in hindering misfortunes, is thus invoked.

v. 25. The Lord make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. While the face of Jehovah is terrible upon those that oppose Him and strikes down His enemies with the rays of His glory, it is full of the richest and warmest sunlight of salvation to those that turn to Him in faith, Psalms 27:1; Psalms 43:3; Psalms 44:4. But the greatest beauty of this light consists in the fact that it throws rays of mercy into the heart that sighs for mercy and forgiveness. It is the grace of God in the redemption of Jesus Christ that blots out all guilt.

v. 26. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace. From the position of being raised up above the believer and shedding forth the rays of His merciful blessing, the warmth of the love of God sinks down upon the sinner and penetrates his entire being with its miraculous power. The aim of this work on the part of Jehovah is to give to the believer His peace, His salvation. The children of God should have the full assurance that all strife is now a thing of the past, that they are forever rescued out of all the distress and curse of sin and its consequences. The threefold blessing reminds us of the Trinity of the Godhead and of the threefold form of the work of God's goodness and mercy in dealing with His children. There can be no doubt, therefore, that we are justified in finding here a statement of the Trinity of God.

v. 27. And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. The blessing, as spoken by the priest, was not a mere pious wish, but it actually transmitted the divine power of blessing to the people. Every Israelite that believed these words as pronounced upon him went to his home with the blessing of the Lord resting upon him. To this day the members of the congregation are dismissed with the words of this blessing, and should take home with them the merciful goodness of the Triune God, especially the assurance of the forgiveness of their sins.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Numbers 6". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/numbers-6.html. 1921-23.
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