Numbers 6
Matthew Poole's Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
The law of the Nazarites; from what they should abstain; how, becoming unclean, they were to be purified, Numbers 6:1-12. The vow of separation being fulfilled, the ceremonies to be observed, Numbers 6:13-21. The form of blessing to be used by the priest in the congregation, Numbers 6:22-27.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:
Either man or woman; for both sexes might make this vow, if they were free and at their own dispose, for otherwise their parents or husbands could disannul the vow, Numbers 30:5, and in that case they sinned in taking God’s name in vain, and vowing what they could not perform.

A vow of a Nazarite; whereby they did sequester themselves in a great part from worldly employments and enjoyments, that they might entirely consecrate themselves to God’s service; and this either for their whole lifetime, of which see Judges 13:5 16:17 1 Samuel 1:11 Luke 1:15; or for a less and limited space of time, of which in this chapter.

He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
Lest they should either inflame or dispose him to luxury, and consequently to the breaking of his vow; or cloud his reason, and thereby occasion some mistake or miscarriage in the rules to which he had bound himself. Compare Leviticus 10:9.

Nor eat moist grapes, or dried; which was forbidden him for greater caution to keep him at the further distance from wine.

All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
The days were sometimes more, sometimes fewer, as he thought fit to appoint.

All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no rasor 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.
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 that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.
No text from Poole on this verse.

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 his head.
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.

All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.
He shall shave his head, because his whole body, and especially his hair, was defiled by such an accident, which he ought to impute either to his own heedlessness, or at least to God’s providence, so ordering the matter possibly for the punishment of his other sins, or for the quickening of him to more caution and purity, and detestation of all dead works whereby he would be defiled.

On the seventh day, to be reckoned from the time of his pollution; for uncleanness contracted by the dead continued for seven days, and the seventh day was the day of cleansing for it, Leviticus 15:13 Numbers 19:11,12.

And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
As in the case of him that had a running issue, Leviticus 15:14.

And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.
Shall offer, Heb. make, which is oft put for sacrificing or offering, as Exodus 29:36 1 Chronicles 21:23, compared with 2 Samuel 24:22.

For a sin-offering, because such a pollution was, though not his sin, yet the chastisement of his sin, and had an appearance of sin, to wit, of negligence in not standing sufficiently upon his guard, which in such persons was in a manner equivalent to a sin. For that he sinned, i.e. contracted a ceremonial uncleanness, which is called sinning, because it was a type of sin, and a violation of a law, though through ignorance and inadvertency, as many other sins were.

Shall hallow; begin again to hallow or consecrate it.

And he shall consecrate unto 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.
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 this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
By the priest’s appointment and direction.

And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,
For a sin-offering, whereby he confessed and bewailed his frailties and miscarriages, notwithstanding the strictness of his vow and all the diligence and care which he could use, and consequently acknowledged his need of the grace of God in Christ Jesus the true Nazarite.

For peace-offerings; for thankfulness to God, who had given him grace to make and in some measure to keep such a vow. So he offered all the three sorts of offerings, that he might so far fulfil all righteousness, and profess his obligation to observe the will of God in all things.

And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.
Such as did generally accompany the sacrifices; of which see Leviticus 2:1 Num 28.

And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:
No text from Poole on this verse.

And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.
No text from Poole on this verse.

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.
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 priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:
The sodden shoulder; the left shoulder, as it appears from Numbers 6:20, where this is joined with the heave-shoulder, which was the right shoulder, and which was the priest’s due in all sacrifices, Leviticus 7:32, and in this also. But here the other shoulder was added to it, as a special token of thankfulness from the Nazarites for God’s singular favours vouchsafed into them.

Upon the hands of the Nazarite, that he may give them to the priest, as his peculiar gift.

And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.
And return to his former freedom and manner of living; he is discharged from his vow. Of the wave-offering and heave-offering, see Leviticus 7:30,32.

This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.
Besides that that his hand shall get, i.e. besides what he shall voluntarily promise and give according to his ability.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
No text from Poole on this verse.

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
On this wise, Heb. Thus, in this manner, or in these words; yet so as that they were not tied to these very words, because after this we have examples of Moses and David and Solomon and others blessing the people in other words.

Ye shall bless the children of Israel, to wit, in the public assembly.

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
Bless thee, i.e. bestow upon you all manner of blessings, temporal and spiritual. Compare Genesis 12:2.

Keep thee, i.e. continue his blessings to thee, and preserve thee in and to the use of them; keep thee from sin and its bitter effects.

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
upon thee, i.e. Smile upon thee: this is opposed to the hiding of his face, and to the covering himself or his face with a cloud; and it is explained by the following words,

be gracious unto thee. Others expound it of illumination or direction, and the revelation of himself and of his will to them.

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
i.e. Look upon thee with a cheerful and pleasant countenance, as one that is reconciled to thee, and well pleased with thee and thy offerings and services. See of this phrase Psalm 4:6 Proverbs 16:15. To this is opposed the falling and the casting down of the countenance, of which see Genesis 4:5,6 Job 29:24. Or, regard, protect, and help thee. Compare Psalm 33:18.

Peace with God, and with thy own conscience, and with all men, and all prosperity, which is comprehended under this word.

And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
i.e. Shall call them by my name, shall recommend them to me as my own people, and bless them and pray unto me for them as such; which is a powerful argument to prevail with God for them, and therefore hath been oft used by the prophets interceding for them, as Jeremiah 14:9 Daniel 9:18,19: compare 1 Samuel 12:22. I will bless them; I will ratify their blessings, and give those blessings to the people which the priests pray for.

Matthew Poole's Commentary

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