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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 6

A.M. 2514. B.C. 1490.

The law of the Nazarites. What they were to abstain from, Numbers 6:1-8 . How to be cleansed from casual uncleanness, Numbers 6:9-12 . How to be discharged from their vow, Numbers 6:13-21 . The form of blessing the people, Numbers 6:22-27 .

Verse 1

Numbers 6:1. The foregoing law about women, suspected of adultery, is here followed by another relating to the conduct of those who, by a singular course of religious devotion, were desirous to prevent all such sins; namely, by making vows of uncommon purity, and devoting themselves to God in an extraordinary manner. These persons were called Nazarites; that is, persons voluntarily separated from the world, and dedicated to the worship and service of God, with peculiar strictness. With respect to these, God appointed the following rules to be observed.

Verse 2

Numbers 6:2. Man or woman For both sexes might make this vow, if they were free and at their own disposal: otherwise their parents or husbands could disannul the vow. A vow of a Nazarite Whereby they sequestered themselves from worldly employments and enjoyments, that they might entirely consecrate themselves to God’s service, and this either for their whole life-time, or for a less and limited space of time.

Verse 3

Numbers 6:3. Separate himself from wine The first is, that every person so devoted should, during the whole time of his vow, taste no wine, nor any thing that had wine in it, nor any inflammatory liquors, which are incitements to lust; that so, by perfect temperance, his mind might be in a fit disposition for every part of the service of God. Vinegar The word חמצ , chamets, thus rendered, properly means fermentation, and the clause might have been rendered, shall drink no fermentation of wine. Strong drink Liquor made of dates or other fruit. See Leviticus 10:9. Nor eat grapes Which he was forbidden to do for greater caution, to keep him at the farther distance from wine.

Verse 4

Numbers 6:4. All the days of his separation Some were perpetual Nazarites, being peculiarly devoted to God from the womb, as Samson and John the Baptist. But Moses here speaks of such as made themselves Nazarites only for a time, which might be longer or shorter, as they thought fit to appoint.

Verse 5

Numbers 6:5. No razor shall come upon his head Nor scissors, or other instrument, to cut off any part of his hair. This is the second rule he was to observe, and appointed, partly as a sign of his mortification to worldly delights and outward beauty; partly as a testimony of that purity which he professed, because the cutting off the hair was a sign of uncleanness, as appears from Numbers 6:9; partly that by the length of his hair he might be constantly put in mind of his vow. Holy That is, wholly consecrated to God and his service, whereby is shown that inward holiness was the great thing which God required and valued in these, and consequently in other rites and ceremonies.

Verses 6-7

Numbers 6:6-7. He shall come at no dead body This was the third thing enjoined. For defilement by the dead made men unclean seven days; so that they might not approach the place of divine worship, Numbers 19:11-13. Therefore, that the Nazarites might be always fit to attend upon the service of God, they were to avoid this legal defilement. Of course, they were not to attend upon any funeral solemnity, no, not even of the nearest relations. His father Wherein he was equal to the high-priest, being, in some sort, as eminent a type of Christ, and therefore justly required to prefer the service of God, to which he had so fully given himself, before the expressions of his affections to his dearest and nearest relations. The consecration That is, the token of his consecration; namely, his long hair.

Verse 9

Numbers 6:9. He shall shave his head Because his whole body, and especially his hair, was defiled by such an accident, which was to be imputed either to his own heedlessness, or to God’s providence so ordering the matter; possibly for the punishment of his other sins, or for the quickening him to more purity and detestation of all dead works, whereby he would be defiled.

Verses 11-12

Numbers 6:11-12. A sin-offering Because such a pollution was, though not his sin, yet the chastisement of his sin. He sinned by the dead That is, contracted a ceremonial uncleanness, which is called sinning, because it was a type of sin, and a violation of a law, though through ignorance and inadvertency. Hallow his head Begin again to hallow or consecrate it.

The days of his separation As many days as he had before vowed to God. Lost Hebrew, fall to the ground; that is, be void, or of none effect.

Verse 14

Numbers 6:14. A sin-offering Whereby he confessed his miscarriages, notwithstanding the strictness of his vow, and all the diligence which he could use, and consequently acknowledged his need of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, the true Nazarite. For peace-offerings For thankfulness to God, who had given him grace to make, and, in some measure, to keep such a vow. So he offered all the three sorts of offerings, that he might so far fulfil all righteousness, and profess his obligation to observe the will of God in all things.

Verse 18

Numbers 6:18. At the door of the tabernacle Publicly, that it might be known that his vow was ended; and therefore he was at liberty as to those things from which he had restrained himself for a season, otherwise some might have taken offence at his use of his liberty. The fire Upon which the flesh of the peace-offerings was boiled.

Verse 19

Numbers 6:19. The shoulder The left shoulder, as it appears from Numbers 6:20, where this is joined with the heave-shoulder, which was the right shoulder, and which was the priests’ due in all sacrifices, (Leviticus 7:32,) and in this also. But here the other shoulder was added to it, as a special token of thankfulness from the Nazarites for God’s singular favours vouchsafed unto them. The hands That he may give them to the priest, as his peculiar gift.

Verses 20-21

Numbers 6:20-21. May drink wine And return to his former manner of living. That his hand shall get Besides what he shall voluntarily give according to his ability.

Verse 23

Numbers 6:23. Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons Among other good offices which the priests were appointed to perform, one was to bless in the name of the Lord, Deuteronomy 21:5. Hereby God put an honour upon them, for the less is blessed of the better, Hebrews 7:7; and hereby he gave great comfort and satisfaction to the people, who were taught to look on the priest as God’s mouth to them, and as blessing them in his name who commands the blessing out of Zion. And the priest was wont to pronounce it as one having authority, with his hands lifted up, and his face toward the people. Now in this he was a type of Christ, who came into the world to bless us, Acts 3:26, as the High-Priest of our profession, and left the earth in the very act of blessing his disciples with uplifted hands, Luke 24:50. Bishop Pearson mentions it as a tradition of the Jews, that the priests blessed the people only at the close of the morning sacrifice, and that they omitted it in the evening, “to show, says he, that in the last days, the days of the Messiah, the benediction of the law should cease, and the blessing of Christ should take place.” On this wise shall ye bless Thus, or in these words; and yet it is probable they were not confined to these very words. At least we find holy men, as Moses, David, and Solomon, blessing the people in other words. It is remarkable that, in the form here prescribed, the name Jehovah is three times repeated, and each time with a different accent in the original. The Jews themselves think that some mystery is hereby intended; and has not God explained what it is in the New Testament, having directed us to be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and to expect the blessing from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost?

Verses 24-26

Numbers 6:24-26. The Lord bless thee Bestow upon you all manner of blessings, temporal and spiritual. Keep thee That is, continue his blessings to thee, and preserve thee in and to the use of them; keep thee from sin, and its bitter effects. Shine upon thee Alluding to the shining of the sun upon the earth, to enlighten, and warm, and renew the face of it. The Lord love thee, and make thee know that he loves thee. We cannot but be happy, if we have God’s love; and we cannot but be easy, if we know that we have it. Lift up his countenance That is, look upon thee with a cheerful and pleasant countenance, as one that is well pleased with thee and thy services. Peace Peace with God, with thy own conscience, and with all men; all prosperity is comprehended under this word.

Verse 27

Numbers 6:27. Put my name Shall call them by my name, shall recommend them to me as my own people, and bless them, and pray unto me for them as such; which is a powerful argument to prevail with God for them.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 6". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/numbers-6.html. 1857.