Numbers 6:12
And he shall consecrate to the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.
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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.Prescriptions to meet the case of a sudden death taking place "by him" (i. e. in his presence). The days of the dedication of the Nazarite had to be recommenced.9-12. If any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration—Cases of sudden death might occur to make him contract pollution; and in such circumstances he was required, after shaving his head, to make the prescribed offerings necessary for the removal of ceremonial defilement (Le 15:13; Nu 19:11). But by the terms of this law an accidental defilement vitiated the whole of his previous observances, and he was required to begin the period of his Nazaritism afresh. But even this full completion did not supersede the necessity of a sin offering at the close. Sin mingles with our best and holiest performances, and the blood of sprinkling is necessary to procure acceptance to us and our services. The days of his separation; as many days as he had before separated or vowed unto God. Lost, i.e. not reckoned or imputed to him. Heb. full, to wit, to the ground, i.e. be void or of none effect. And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation,.... He was to begin his account again, from the time of his shaving his head, and devote as many days to the service of the Lord as what he had vowed before:

and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering; we see how much trouble and expense were brought by a single act of pollution, and that involuntary too; how much more need is there of an atoning sacrifice for the sins of men, even for all of them, and for which only the sacrifice of Christ is sufficient?

but the days that were before shall be lost; which were before the pollution, how near soever the time of Nazariteship being at an end was, whether his vow was for thirty days, or a hundred, or a whole year; be it what it will, and the pollution happened on the last of those days, all were lost; he was obliged to begin again, and go through the whole time he at first vowed; and this was the case if he drank the least quantity of wine, or shaved ever so little of the hair of his head, or was any ways polluted by the dead; and this severity, as it may seem, was used to make him cautious that he broke not his vow by any means:

because his separation was defiled; in the case instanced in, by the dead, but it was the same if he broke the law of Nazariteship in any of the other articles of it.

And he shall {f} consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the {g} days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

(f) Beginning at the eighth day, when he is purified.

(g) So that he shall begin his vow anew.

12. he shall separate &c.] He shall separate anew the whole period of the vow upon which he had originally entered.

a guilt-offering] This was the most expensive part of the ritual. Opinions differ as to the exact force attaching to it. But the distinctive feature of the offering in other cases seems to have been that it involved an act of reparation for wrong done (see on Numbers 5:6-8). In the present case it is probably reparation for the delay in the completion of the vow and therefore of the sacrifices which consummated it.Verse 12. - For a trespass offering. Rather, "for a guilt offering." Hebrew, asham (see Leviticus 5). The asham always implied guilt, even though it might be purely legal, and it was to be offered in this case in acknowledgment of the offence involved in the involuntary breach of vow. In the education of conscience, on anything lower than the "perfect law of liberty," it was only possible to secure thoroughness and consistency at the cost of introducing much that was arbitrary and destined to pass away. Something similar must always be tolerated in the moral education of children. The days that were before shall be lost. Literally, "shall fall." Septuagint, ἅλογοι ἔσονται, "shall not be counted." Because the Nazarite wore the diadem of his God upon his head in the growth of his hair, and was holy to the Lord during the whole period of his consecration, he was to approach no dead person during that time, not even to defile himself for his parents, or his brothers and sisters, when they died, according to the law laid down for the high priest in Leviticus 21:11. Consequently, as a matter of course, he was to guard most scrupulously against other defilements, not only like ordinary Israelites, but also like the priests. Samson's mother, too, was not allowed to eat anything unclean during the period of her pregnancy (Judges 13:4, Judges 13:7, Judges 13:14).
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