Numbers 6:4
All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) From the kernels even to the husk.—The word which is rendered kenels is supposed by some to denote sour grapes, and by others the kernels of berries. The word zag denotes the shell or husk.

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.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.From the kernels even to the husk - A sour drink was made from the stones of unripe grapes; and cakes were also made of the husks Hosea 3:1. This interdict figures that separation from the general society of men to which the Nazarite for the time was consecrated.2-8. When either man or woman … shall vow a vow of a Nazarite—that is, "a separated one," from a Hebrew word, "to separate." It was used to designate a class of persons who, under the impulse of extraordinary piety and with a view to higher degrees of religious improvement, voluntarily renounced the occupations and pleasures of the world to dedicate themselves unreservedly to the divine service. The vow might be taken by either sex, provided they had the disposal of themselves (Nu 30:4), and for a limited period—usually a month or a lifetime (Jud 13:5; 16:17). We do not know, perhaps, the whole extent of abstinence they practised. But they separated themselves from three things in particular—namely, from wine, and all the varieties of vinous produce; from the application of a razor to their head, allowing their hair to grow; and from pollution by a dead body. The reasons of the self-restrictions are obvious. The use of wine tended to inflame the passions, intoxicate the brain, and create a taste for luxurious indulgence. The cutting off the hair being a recognized sign of uncleanness (Le 14:8, 9), its unpolled luxuriance was a symbol of the purity he professed. Besides, its extraordinary length kept him in constant remembrance of his vow, as well as stimulated others to imitate his pious example. Moreover, contact with a dead body, disqualifying for the divine service, the Nazarite carefully avoided such a cause of unfitness, and, like the high priest, did not assist at the funeral rites of his nearest relatives, preferring his duty to God to the indulgence of his strongest natural affections. The days were sometimes more, sometimes fewer, as he thought fit to appoint. 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.

All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. nothing that is produced by the grape-vine] R.V. ‘made of the grape-vine,’ though a literal rendering of the Hebrew, is misleading. The meaning is evidently that of Jdg 13:14 ‘nothing that cometh forth (יצא) from the grape-vine.’ This meaning of עשה ‘to make,’ or ‘produce,’ in the course of nature is found with some frequency; e.g. Genesis 1:11 f., Genesis 41:47, Isaiah 5:2; Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 5:10.

from the kernels even to the husk] The Heb. idiom ‘from … to …’ frequently represents the English ‘either … or …’ or ‘neither … nor …’ Cf. Genesis 14:23, lit. ‘from a thread to a shoe-latchet’; Genesis 31:24; Genesis 31:29 ‘from good to bad.’

The words rendered ‘kernels’ (ḥarẓannîm) and ‘husk’ (zâg) are not found elsewhere in the O.T. and their meaning is uncertain.

It is not very natural to speak of the kernels (i.e. the stones or pips) and the husk (i.e. the skin) of the grape as produced by the vine. But no better rendering of the words has been proposed. The general sense, however, is clear. The eating of any sort of grape product is prohibited, even the most trifling or unpalatable parts of the produce of the vine.

The custom of abstaining from wine and intoxicants may have arisen in a remote past from a primitive belief that the spirit or numen of the vine entered into a man when he drank (see Frazer, Golden Bough, i. 359 f.); or, as Jeremiah 35:6 f. suggests in the case of the Rechabites, it arose from a desire to conform closely to ancient nomadic habits after the nation as a whole had become an agricultural community (W. R. Smith, Prophets of Israel, 84 f.). Whatever the origin may have been, the Naziriteship had, in prophetic times, a valuable moral significance as a protest against luxury and sensuality. See Driver on Amos 2:11.

Again, the prohibition of wine is distinct from that of all intoxicants1 [Note: On intoxicants other than wine see Hastings’ DB. ii. 33b.] . The former is probably the more primitive. And the form of the regulations found here may very possibly have been the result of the fusion of ancient practices which were at one time unconnected, and not all observed by earlier Nazirites.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. Numbers 5:29-31 bring the law of jealousy to a formal close, with the additional remark, that the man who adopted this course with a wife suspected of adultery was free from sin, but the woman would bear her guilt (see Leviticus 5:1), i.e., in case she were guilty, would bear the punishment threatened by God. Nothing is said about what was to be done in case the woman refused to take the oath prescribed, because that would amount to a confession of her guilt, when she would have to be put to death as an adulteress, according to the law in Leviticus 20:10; and not she alone, but the adulterer also. In the law just mentioned the man is placed on an equality with the woman with reference to the sin of adultery; and thus the apparent partiality, that a man could sue his wife for adultery, but not the wife her husband, is removed. But the law before us applied to the woman only, because the man was at liberty to marry more than one wife, or to take concubines to his own wife; so that he only violated the marriage tie, and was guilty of adultery, when he formed an illicit connection with another man's wife. In that case, the man whose marriage had been violated could proceed against his adulterous wife, and in most instances convict the adulterer also, in order that he might receive his punishment too. For a really guilty wife would not have made up her mind so easily to take the required oath of purification, as the curse of God under which she came was no easier to bear than the punishment of death. For this law prescribed no ordeal whose effects were uncertain, like the ordeals of other nations, but a judgment of God, from which the guilty could not escape, because it had been appointed by the living God.
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