Numbers 6:7
He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is on his head.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) He shall not make himself unclean . . . —The law of the Nazirite in this respect was equally stringent with that of the high priest (Leviticus 21:11), and more stringent than that which was imposed upon the priests generally (Leviticus 21:2-3).

The consecration.—Better, the separation (Hebrew, nezer). So also in Numbers 6:9.

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.The consecration of his God - i. e. the unshorn locks: compare Leviticus 25:5 note, where the vine, left during the Sabbatical year untouched by the hand of man, either for pruning or for vintage, is called simply a "Nazarite."

The third rule of the Nazarite interdicted him from contracting any ceremonial defilement even under circumstances which excused such defilement in others: compare Leviticus 21:1-3.

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. For his father, or for his mother; wherein he was equal to the high priest, Leviticus 21:11, being, in some sort, as sacred a person, and as eminent a type of Christ, Hebrews 7:26, and therefore justly required to prefer the service of God, to which he had so fully and peculiarly given himself, before the expressions of his affections to his dearest and nearest relations.

The consecration, i.e. the token of his consecration, to wit, his long hair.

Of his God, i.e. whereby he hath devoted himself to his God in an eminent manner. The genitive case of the object. He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die,.... Aben Ezra adds also, for his wife, and for his daughter, and for others; what even the priests of the Lord, the common priests might do, a Nazarite might not, not come near any of his relations when dead, as to touch them, to close their eyes, or wash their bodies, and provide for their funeral, and attend that, or to be where they were; in this respect they were upon a level with the high priest, who was forbid the same, which shows how sacred these persons were; see Leviticus 21:1; this may instruct spiritual Nazarites to abstain from the company and conversation of sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, and from all dead works and sinful actions, which, as they are deserving of death, are defiling:

because the consecration of his God is upon his head; or that which shows him to be consecrated to God, and separated to his service, is upon his head, namely, his long hair: the Targum of Jonathan renders it, "the crown of his God"; so Aben Ezra observes, that some say that the word "Nazarite" is derived from "Nezer", a crown, in proof of which this passage is produced; and in this respect the Nazarites were not only types of Christ our King and high priest, who is a priest on his throne, and has on his head many crowns, but of the saints who are freed from the power and dominion of sin, and are made kings and priests unto God.

He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon {c} his head.

(c) In that he allowed his hair to grow, he signified that he was consecrated to God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. The stringent rule here laid down was applicable to no one else except the High Priest (Leviticus 21:11); in the case of the ordinary priest the nearest relatives are expressly excepted. It is to be noticed that Samson did not scruple to come into frequent contact with the dead. The regulation was probably not in force in early days, but was added when the sanctity attributed to a Nazirite had increased.

his separation] Heb. nçzer (connected with nâzîr) denotes either the state of separation (Numbers 6:4; Numbers 6:6 R.V. marg. ‘Naziriteship’), or, as here, the symbol of separation, i.e. the long hair. Cf. the similar ellipse in 1 Corinthians 11:10, ‘the woman ought to have [the symbol of] authority on her head.’ In Leviticus 25:5; Leviticus 25:11 nçzer is even used for an untrimmed vine, with its long tendrils like uncut hair.Verse 7. - He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother. The same injunction had been given to the priests (Leviticus 21:12) - "for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him." A similar reason restrained the Nazirite. Because the consecration of his God is upon his head, i.e., because he wears the unshorn locks which are the outward sign of his separation unto God. The hair of the Nazirite was to him just what the diadem on the mitre was to the high priest, what the sacred chrism was to the sons of Aaron. Both of these are called by the word nezer (Exodus 29:6; Leviticus 21:12), from the same root as nazir. It was thought by some of the Jewish doctors that in these three particulars - the untouched growth of the hair, the abstinence from the fruit of the vine (cf. Genesis 9:20), and the seclusion from the dead - the separated life of the Nazirite reproduced the unfallen life of man in paradise. This may have had some foundation in fact, but the true explanation of the three rules is rather to be found in the spiritual truth they teach in a simple and forcible way. He who has a holy ambition to please God must

(1) devote to God the whole forces of his being, undiminished by any wont and use of the world;

(2) abstain not only from pleasures which are actually dangerous, but from such as have any savour of moral evil about them;

(3) subordinate his most sacred private feelings to the great purpose of his life. The words, "if a man or woman make a separate vow, a Nazarite vow, to live consecrated to the Lord," with which the law is introduced, show not only that the vow of the Nazarite was a matter of free choice, but that it was a mode of practising godliness and piety already customary among the people. Nazir, from נזר to separate, lit., the separated, is applied to the man who vowed that he would make a separation to (for) Jehovah, i.e., lead a separate life for the Lord and His service. The origin of this custom is involved in obscurity. There is no certain clue to indicate that it was derived from Egypt, for the so-called hair-offering vows are met with among several ancient tribes (see the proofs in Spencer, de legg. Hebr. rit. iv. 16, and Knobel in loc.), and have no special relationship to the Nazarite, whilst vows of abstinence were common to all the religions of antiquity. The Nazarite vow was taken at first for a particular time, at the close of which the separation terminated with release from the vow. This is the only form in which it is taken into consideration, or rules are laid down for it in the law before us. In after times, however, we find life-long Nazarites among the Israelites, e.g., Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist, who were vowed or dedicated to the Lord by their parents even before they were born (Judges 13:5, Judges 13:14; 1 Samuel 1:11; Luke 1:15).

(Note: This is also related by Hegesippus (in Euseb. hist. eccl. ii. 23) of James the Just, the first bishop of Jerusalem. On other cases of this kind in the Talmud, and particularly on the later form of the Nazarite vow, - for example, that of the Apostle Paul (Acts 18:18), - see Winer, bibl. R. W. ii. pp. 138-9, and Oehler in Herzog's Cycl.)

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