Numbers 6:18
And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) And the Nazarita shall shave . . . —The consignment of his hair to the sacrificial fire formed a solemn and suitable termination of the days of his separation to the Lord during the continuance of his Nazirite vow.

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.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.Shave the head - As the Nazarite had during his vow worn his hair unshorn in honor of God, so when the time was complete it was natural that the hair, the symbol of his vow, should be cut off, and offered to God at the sanctuary. The burning of the hair "in the fire under the sacrifice of the peace offering "represented the eucharistic communion with God obtained by those who realised the ideal which the Nazarite set forth (compare the marginal reference).13-20. when the days of his separation are fulfilled, &c.—On the accomplishment of a limited vow of Nazaritism, Nazarites might cut their hair wherever they happened to be (Ac 18:18); but the hair was to be carefully kept and brought to the door of the sanctuary. Then after the presentation of sin offerings and burnt offerings, it was put under the vessel in which the peace offerings were boiled; and the priest, taking the shoulder (Le 7:32), when boiled, and a cake and wafer of the meat offering, put them on the hands of the Nazarites to wave before the Lord, as a token of thanksgiving, and thus released them from their vow. Of his separation; or, of his Nazariteship, i.e. in which the chief of his Nazariteship or separation to God consisted.

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 been scandalized at his use of his liberty. See Acts 21:26.

In the fire; either,

1. The fire of the altar. But why then is this restrained to the peaceofferings, seeing it was common to the burnt-offerings and to the sinofferings? Or rather,

2. To the fire of the kitchen, upon which the flesh of the peace-offerings was boiled. And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,.... The Targum of Jonathan is,"and the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation without,''without the tabernacle, the door of it, where the people assembled together; so that this was to be done publicly, that it might be known of all, and no offence taken at the Nazarite's drinking wine, and concerning himself for the dead, and attending funerals, for by this action it was known that his Nazariteship was at an end; and whereas the hair of the Nazarite was consecrated to the Lord by his vow, and this vow being punctually fulfilled, it was sacred, and to be presented to the Lord, and to be of no use and service to himself or others, and therefore to be all clean shaven off; for, as Maimonides (z) says, if two hairs only were left, nothing was done, and the command of shaving not kept:

and shall take the hair of the head of his separation; being cut off and shaved:

and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings; under the pot or cauldron, as the Targum of Jonathan, in which the ram for the peace offerings was boiled: this was done in the court of the women in later times, at the southeast of which was a chamber called the chamber of the Nazarites, where they bailed their peace offerings, and shaved their hair and cast it under the pot (a); and this might not be put, as before observed, to any other use; if any of it was made use of in a sack that was made of hair cloth, we are told (b) that sack was to be burnt.

(z) Hilchot Nezirut, c. 8. sect. 6. (a) Misn. Middoth, c. 2. sect. 5. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 16. 1.((b) Misn. Orlah, c. 3. sect. 3.

And the Nazarite shall shave the head {h} of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and {i} put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

(h) In token that his vow is ended.

(i) For the hair which was consecrated to the Lord, might not be cast into any profane place.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. The burning of the hair is of the nature of an offering, and also prevents its desecration. The custom is not confined to the Hebrews, but finds many parallels in antiquity and in primitive races to-day. The hair is considered to be the special seat of the life and strength of the man, and thus represents the man himself when it is offered to the deity.Verse 18. - Shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and shall put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings. It is not said, nor intended, that the hair was offered to God as a sacrifice. If so, it would have been burnt with the burnt offering which represented the self-dedication of the worshipper. It had been holy to the Lord, growing uncut all the days of the vow. The vow was now at an end; the last solemn act of sacrifice, the peace offering, which completed all, and typified that fearless and thankful communion with God which is the end of all religion, was now going on; it was fitting that the hair which must now be shorn, but could not be disposed of in any ordinary way, should be burnt upon the altar of God. In the fire, i.e., on the brazen altar. In later days it seems to have been done in a room assigned to the Nazirites in the court of the women: another deviation from the ordinal law. He was then "to bring a yearling sheep as a trespass-offering;" and the days that were before were "to fall," i.e., the days of consecration that had already elapsed were not to be reckoned on account of their having fallen, "because his consecration had become unclean." He was therefore to commence the whole time of his consecration entirely afresh, and to observe it as required by the vow. To this end he was to bring a trespass-offering, as a payment or recompense for being reinstated in the former state of consecration, from which he had fallen through his defilement, but not as compensation "for having prolonged the days of separation through his carelessness with regard to the defilement; that is to say, for having extended the time during which he led a separate, retired, and inactive life, and suspended his duties to his own family and the congregation, thus doing an injury to them, and incurring a debt in relation to them through his neglect" (Knobel). For the time that the Nazarite vow lasted was not a lazy life, involving a withdrawal from the duties of citizenship, by which the congregation might be injured, but was perfectly reconcilable with the performance of all domestic and social duties, the burial of the dead alone excepted; and no harm could result from this, ether to his own relations or the community generally, of sufficient importance to require that the omission should be repaired by a trespass-offering, from which neither his relatives nor the congregation derived any actual advantage. Nor was it a species of fine, for having deprived Jehovah of the time dedicated to Him through the breach of the vow, or for withholding the payment of his vow for so much longer a time (Oehler in Herzog). For the position of a Nazarite was only assumed for a definite period, according to the vow; and after this had been interrupted, it had to be commenced again from the very beginning: so that the time dedicated to God was not shortened in any way by the interruption of the period of dedication, and nothing whatever was withheld from God of what had been vowed to Him, so as to need the presentation of a trespass-offering as a compensation or fine. And there is no more reason for saying that the payment of the vow was withheld, inasmuch as the vow was fulfilled or paid by the punctual observance of the three things of which it was composed; and the sacrifices to be presented after the time of consecration was over, had not in the least the character of a payment, but simply constituted a solemn conclusion, corresponding to the idea of the consecration itself, and were the means by which the Nazarite came out of his state of consecration, without involving the least allusion to satisfaction, or reparation for any wrong that had been done.

The position of the Nazarite, therefore, as Philo, Maimonides, and others clearly saw, was a condition of life consecrated to the Lord, resembling the sanctified relation in which the priests stood to Jehovah, and differing from the priesthood solely in the fact that it involved no official service at the sanctuary, and was not based upon a divine calling and institution, but was undertaken spontaneously for a certain time and through a special vow. The object was simply the realization of the idea of a priestly life, with its purity and freedom from all contamination from everything connected with death and corruption, a self-surrender to God stretching beyond the deepest earthly ties, "a spontaneous appropriation of what was imposed upon the priest by virtue of the calling connected with his descent, namely, the obligation to conduct himself as a person betrothed to God, and therefore to avoid everything that would be opposed to such surrender" (Oehler). In this respect the Nazarite's sanctification of life was a step towards the realization of the priestly character, which had been set before the whole nation as its goal at the time of its first calling (Exodus 19:5); and although it was simply the performance of a vow, and therefore a work of perfect spontaneity, it was also a work of the Spirit of God which dwelt in the congregation of Israel, so that Amos could describe the raising up of Nazarites along with prophets as a special manifestation of divine grace. The offerings, with which the vow was brought to a close after the time of consecration had expired, and the Nazarite was released from his consecration, also corresponded to the character we have described.

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