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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Nazarites

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Those under the ancient law who made a vow of observing as Samson and John the Baptist. The Nazarites engaged by a vow to abstain from wine and all intoxicating liquors; to let their hair grow without cutting or shaving; not to enter into any house that was polluted by having a dead corpse in it; nor to be present at any funeral. And if by chance any one should have died in their presence, they began again the whole ceremony of their consecration and Nazariteship

This ceremony generally lasted eight days, sometimes a month, and sometimes their whole lives. When the time of their Nazariteship was accomplished, the priest brought the person to the door of the temple, who there offered to the Lord a he- lamb for a burnt-offering, a she-lamb for an expiatory sacrifice, and a ram for a peace offering. They offered likewise loaves and cakes with wine necessary for the libations. After all this was sacrificed and offered to the Lord, the priest or some other person, shaved the head of the Nazarite at the door of the tabernacles, and burnt his hair, throwing it upon the fire of the altar. Then the priest put into the hand of the Nazarite the shoulder of the ram, roasted, with a loaf and a cake, which the Nazarite returning into the hands of the priest, he offered them to the Lord, lifting them up in the presence of the Nazarite. And from this Nazariteship being now accomplished. Numb. 6: Amos 2:11-12 . Those that made a vow of Nazariteship out of Palestine, and could not come to the temple when their vow was expired, contented themselves with observing the abstinence required by the law, and after that, cutting their hair in the place where they were: as to the offerings and sacrifices prescribed by Moses, which were to be offered at the temple by themselves, or by others for them, they deferred this till they could have a convenient opportunity.

Hence it was that St. Paul, being at Corinth, and having made a vow of a Nazarite, had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, and put off fulfilling the rest of his vow til he should arrive at Jerusalem, Acts 18:18 . When a person found that he was not in a condition to make a vow of Nazariteship, or had not leisure to perform the ceremonies belonging to it, he contented himself by contributing to the expense of the sacrifice and offerings of those that had made and fulfilled this vow; and by this means he became a partaker in the merit of such Nazariteship. When St. Paul came to Jerusalem, in the year of Christ 53, the apostle St. James the Less, with the other brethren, said to him (Acts 21:23-24 , ) that to quiet the minds of the converted Jews, who had been informed that he every where preached up the entire abolition of the law of Moses, he ought to join himself to four of the faithful who had a vow of Nazariteship upon them, and contribute to the charge of the ceremony at the shaving of their heads; by which the new converts would perceive that he continued to keep the law, and that what they had heard of him was not true.


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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Nazarites'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/cbd/n/nazarites.html. 1802.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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