Numbers 6:5
All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come on his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
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(5) There shall no razor come upon his head.—The hair was to be suffered to grow in all its luxuriance during the days of the Nazirite vow. The meaning may be illustrated by reference to Leviticus 25:4-5; Leviticus 25:11, where it is prescribed that in the seventh year the vine was not to be pruned, and that the grapes of “the undressed vine” (literally, the grapes of the Nazirite) should not be gathered.

Numbers 6:5. No razor shall come upon his head — Nor scissors, or other instrument, to cut off any part of his hair. This is the second rule he was to observe, and appointed, partly as a sign of his mortification to worldly delights and outward beauty; partly as a testimony of that purity which he professed, because the cutting off the hair was a sign of uncleanness, as appears from Numbers 6:9; partly that by the length of his hair he might be constantly put in mind of his vow. Holy — That is, wholly consecrated to God and his service, whereby is shown that inward holiness was the great thing which God required and valued in these, and consequently in other rites and ceremonies.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.Among the Jews the abundance of the hair was considered to betoken physical strength and perfection (compare 2 Samuel 14:25-26), and baldness was regarded as a grave blemish (compare Leviticus 21:20 note, Leviticus 13:40 ff; 2 Kings 2:23; Isaiah 3:24). Thus, the free growth of the hair on the head of the Nazarite represented the dedication of the man with all his strength and powers to the service of God.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. No razor, nor scissors, or other instrument to cut off any part of his hair. This was appointed, partly, as a sign of his mortification to worldly delights, and vain affectation of outward beauty, which is promoted by the polling or cutting off the hair; partly, as a testimony of that purity which hereby he professed, because the cutting off the hair was a sign of uncleanness, as appears from Numbers 6:9, and Leviticus 14:8,9; partly, that by the notorious length of his hair he might be constantly minded of his vow, and the exquisite holiness it required, and that others might thereby be admonished and stirred up to the imitation of his holy example; and partly, that he might reserve his hair entirely for God, to whom it was to be offered, Numbers 6:18.

He shall be holy, i.e. wholly consecrated to God and his service, whereby lie shows that inward and substantial holiness was the great thing which God required and valued in these, and consequently in other rites and ceremonies. All the days of the vow of his separation,.... Be the time he has vowed to be a Nazarite a week, a, month, or more, even a thousand days, but not less than thirty, as Ben Gersom observes:

there shall no razor come upon his head; he might not shave his beard, nor cut off his locks, and shave his head, nor cut short his locks with a pair of scissors, nor any with anything by which the hair may be removed, as Ben Gersom; nor pluck off his hair with his hands, as Maimonides says (x); but let it grow as long as it would during the time of his separation, which is expressed in the latter part of the verse:

until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord; to his service, to which he wholly addicted himself as long as his vow continued:

he shall be holy; separate from other men, and their practices and customs, and spend his time in holy exercises, in a religious way, and abstain from what might be a temptation to sin, or in the least hinder him in his acts of devotion:

and shall let the locks of his hair grow; two reasons Fagius gives of this part of the law, the one is, because of the mystery of it; letting the hair grow signified an increase of virtue or grace, as Samson's strength was increased and became very great while his hair was not cut; and so spiritual Nazarites, while they are in the way of their duty, grow in grace, and in knowledge of God and Christ, and all divine things, and grow stronger and stronger in the Lord, and in the power of his might; and Ainsworth hints at the same thing, and also supposes it might be an emblem of the subjection of the saints to Christ, as the letting the hair grow was a sign of the woman's subjection to man: the other is, that it was appointed to take the Israelites off of the errors and superstitious they had imbibed in Egypt, by ordering them to perform those rites and ceremonies to the honour of the true God, which they had used in the service of demons; and for this he cites a passage out of Cyrill; but it does not appear, by any good authority, that such a custom obtained among the Egyptians, or any other Gentiles so early; and what were used among them in later times took their rise from hence, and were imitations of this law; though there seems to be no great likeness between this law of Nazariteship and the customs of the Heathens, who used to consecrate their hair to their deities, Apollo, Hercules, Bacchus, Minerva, and Diana: what seems best to agree is what Lucian says (y), who observes, that young men consecrate their beards, and let their hair grow, consecrated from their birth, which they afterwards cut and lay up in vessels in the temple, some of gold, others of silver.

(x) Hilchot Nezirut, c. 5. sect. 11. (y) De Dea Syria.

All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
5. Second regulation. The hair to be left uncut. This is found in every reference to the Nazirites, both in early and late times. Long hair was the visible mark of consecration.Verse 5. - There shall no razor come upon his head. The meaning of this law is best understood from the case of Samson, whose strength was in his hair, and departed from him when his hair was cut. No doubt that strength was a more or less supernatural gift, and it went and came with his hair according to some supernatural law; but it is clear that the connection was not merely arbitrary, but was founded on some generally received idea. To the Jew, differing in this from the shaven Egyptian and the short-haired Greek, the hair represented the virile powers of the adult, growing with its growth, and failing again with its decay. To use a simple analogy from nature, the uncropped locks of the Nazirite were like the mane of the male lion, a symbol of the fullness of his proper strength and life (cf. 2 Samuel 14:25, 26, and, for the disgrace of baldness, 2 Kings 2:23). In later ages Western and Greek feeling on the subject prevailed over Eastern and Jewish, and a "Hebrew of the Hebrews" was able to argue that "even nature itself" teaches us "that if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him" (1 Corinthians 11:14). No doubt "nature itself" taught the Greek of Corinth that lesson; but no doubt also "nature itself" taught the Jew of Palestine exactly the opposite lesson; and the Apostle himself did not quite discard the earlier sentiment, for he too made a Nazirite vow, and suffered his hair to grow while it lasted (Acts 21:24). The meaning, therefore, of the law was that the whole fullness of the man's vitality was to be dedicated without any diminution to the Lord, as typified by the free growth of his hair. It has been conjectured that it was allowed to the Nazirite to "poll" (κείρασθαι) his hair during his vow, although not to "shave" it (ξυρᾶσθαι); and in this way the statement is explained that St. Paul "polled his head" (κειράμενος τὴν κεφαλὴν, Acts 18:18, compared with Acts 21:24) in Cenchraea, because he had a vow. It is, however, quite evident that any permission to cut the hair is inconsistent with the whole intention of the commandment; for if a man might "poll his head" when he pleased, he would not be distinguished from other men. If it was allowed in the Apostle's time, it is only another instance of the way in Which the commandments of God were made of none effect by the traditions of men. 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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