|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-21 The word Nazarite signifies separation. Some were appointed of God, before their birth, to be Nazarites all their days, as Samson and John the Baptist. But, in general, it was a vow of separation from the world and devotedness to the services of religion, for a limited time, and under certain rules, which any person might make if they pleased. A Nazarite is spoken of as well known; but his obligation is brought to a greater certainty than before. That the fancies of superstitious men might not multiply the restraints endlessly, God gives them rules. They must not drink wine or strong drink, nor eat grapes. Those who separate themselves to God, must not gratify the desires of the body, but keep it under. Let all Christians be very moderate in the use of wine and strong drink; for if the love of these once gets the mastery of a man, he becomes an easy prey to Satan. The Nazarites were to eat nothing that came of the vine; this may teach the utmost care to avoid sin, and all that borders upon it, and leads to it, or may be a temptation to us. They must not cut their hair. They must neither poll their heads, nor shave their beards; this was the mark of Samson being a Nazarite. This signified neglect of the body, and of the ease and ornament of it. Those who separate themselves to God, must keep their consciences pure from dead works, and not touch unclean things. All the days of their separation they must be holy to the Lord. This was the meaning of those outward observances, and without this they were of no account. No penalty or sacrifice was appointed for those who wilfully broke their vow of being Nazarites; they must answer another day for such profane trifling with the Lord their God; but those were to be relieved who did not sin wilfully. There is nothing in Scripture that bears the least resemblance to the religious orders of the church of Rome, except these Nazarites. But mark the difference, or rather how completely opposed! The religious of that church are forbidden to marry; but no such restriction is laid upon the Nazarites. They are commanded to abstain from meats; but the Nazarites might eat any food allowed other Israelites. They are not generally forbidden wine, not even on their fasting days; but the Nazarites might not have wine at any time. Their vow is lasting, even to the end of their lives; the Nazarites' vow was only for a limited time, at their own will; and in certain cases not unless allowed by husbands or parents. Such a thorough difference there is between rules of man's invention and those directed in Scripture, Let us not forget that the Lord Jesus is not only our Surety, but also our example. For his sake we must renounce worldly pleasures, abstain from fleshy lusts, be separate from sinners, make open profession of our faith, moderate natural affections, be spiritually-minded, and devoted to God's service, and desirous to be an example all around us.
Verse 4. - From the kernels oven to the husk, or skin. Of grape-skins it is said that cakes were made which were considered a delicacy (Hosea 3:1, mistranslated "flagons of wine"), but this is doubtful. The Septuagint has οῖνον ἀμὸ στεμφόλων ἕως γιγάρτου, "wine of grape-skins (the liquor of grapes mentioned before) even to the kernel." The expression is best understood as including anything and everything, however unlikely to be used, connected with the grape. It is clear that the abstinence of the Nazirite extended beyond what might possibly intoxicate to what was simply pleasant to the taste, like raisins, or refreshing, like charnels. The vine represented, by an easy parable, the tree of carnal delights, which yields to the appetite of men such a variety of satisfactions. So among the Romans the Flamen Dialis might not even touch a vine.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree,.... Of its leaves, branches, and fruit, especially the latter, put into any sort of food, or infused into any liquor, or mixed with any sauce for food: the days or time of separation were according as the vow was made, for a shorter or longer time; though the Jews (t) say, where the vow is, absolutely expressed, it is always to be understood of thirty days, during which time the Nazarite was not to eat or drink of any composition that had anything the vine in it:
from the kernels even to the husk; the Jews (u) are divided about the two words here used, which of them signifies the outermost part of the grape, and which the innermost; Ben Gersom agrees with us, but it matters not much who are in the right, since both are forbidden: by this part of the law, the people of God, who are spiritual Nazarites, are taught to live temperately and soberly, and to abstain from all appearance of sin: it is pretty remarkable what the Jews (w) say, that when the son of David comes, it will be free for a Nazarite to drink wine on sabbath days and festivals, though not on week days; from whence it appears, they seem to be conscious of a change of the ceremonial law in his days.
(t) Misn. Nazir, c. 1. sect. 3. & c. 6. sect. 3.((u) Misn. Nazir, c. 6. sect. 2. Aben Ezra in loc. (w) T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 43. 1.
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