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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 6

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-27

Chapter 6

Now in chapter six we have the rules for taking a vow of a Nazerite. Now, the vow of a Nazarite was a vow consecration unto God. And if you wanted to make a special consecration of yourself to God, for a period of time you could enter into the vow of a Nazarite. During which time that you were going through this vow of the Nazerite, you were not to drink any wine or any grape juice or eat any grapes or even raisins. You were not to take anything that came from the vine to eat it. You can't even sarma, because that's grape leaves and all. And you could have nothing from the vine. And you would allow your hair to grow. During the time of the vow you wouldn't shave or you wouldn't cut your hair. And that was the vow of consecration unto God.

Now this is the vow that Samson was to have from his birth. For when Manoah's wife was barren and the angel of the Lord came to her and informed her that she was going to have a son and she was not to bring a razor to his head, not to allow him to drink anything from the vine, any wine or anything, and that through him God would begin to deliver the Israelites from the camp of the Philistines; she came to her husband and she said, "there was a man that met me out in the field and said I was gonna have a son and I wasn't to shave his head and he's gonna be a Nazarite" and so forth. And her husband says, "I'd like to meet this fellow. If he shows up again let me know." So she was out in the field again and the angel appeared again, said "Would you mind waiting here a minute while I go get my husband? He wants to meet you."

So Manoah came and when he saw the angel he said, "Well, I just you know, she was excited and I just figured I'd find out directly from you. Just how do you want me to raise this boy now?" And so the angel repeated this instruction to Manoah. He was to be a Nazarite, never was razor to come to his head; the vow of the Nazarite from birth; the sign of consecration unto God.

Now in the process of time, Samson became involved with Delilah and she daily was pressing him for the secret of his strength. And in a moment of weakness, after this continued pressure, he said, "If you would shave the hair of my head then I would be weak like any other man.

Now, there are many people who from this get a false concept thinking that Samson's strength lay in his long hair. False. Hair cannot make you strong or the lack of it doesn't make you weak. His strength lay in his consecration to God and the absence of his hair was the sign of the broken commitment to God. Any man who will consecrate his life to God has a source of strength and power. But a broken vow, a broken covenant, and you become weak as any other man. And that was Samson's own testimony. If they cut my hair I will be weak as other men. But oh the strength that lies in dedication to God, the strength that lies in commitment, in consecration. Samson's life from his birth was a life of consecration, the vow of the Nazarite, but when that consecration was broken, the shaving of the head, the symbol of the broken consecration, then the weakness that was there. And so this is the vow of the Nazarite.

Now Jesus was known as a Nazarene. The vow of the Nazarite was no razor to come during the period of the vow and not to drink anything from the vine. And so when you wish to-when, when the thing was over, your period of consecration that you had made and your time of separation, then you were to

bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: and you were to brought to the door of the tabernacle, the congregation: and the priest shall offer the offering unto the LORD, a lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and an ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and a ram for a peace offering ( Numbers 6:12-14 ),

So the threefold offering: a burnt offering which is consecration, burnt offering is consecration which you have been consecrating yourself, the sin offering and the peace offering, the offering of fellowship or communion with God.

You're also to bring a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, the wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, for the meal offering, and the drink offering. And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and offer the sin offering, and the burnt offering: And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of the peace offerings unto the LORD, with a basket of unleavened bread: and the priest shall offer also his meal offering, and the drink offering. And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle the congregation, and take the hair and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings ( Numbers 6:15-18 ).

So now your period of consecration is over; you shave your head, you take your hair and you burn it there at the time that they are burning the peace offerings, you put it on the fire of the peace offering.

And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, with one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them in the hands of the Nazarite, after his has been shaved: And the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and the heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine. This is the law of the Nazarite who has vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for the separation, beside that that is in his hand shall he get: according to the vow which he has vowed. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise shall ye bless the children of Israel ( Numbers 6:19-23 ),

Now the priests had a twofold function. His first ministry was to stand before God representing the people because a man could not approach God. It was impossible for sinful man; it is impossible for sinful man to approach a holy righteous God. The holiness of God would just burn you to a crisp because of the sinfulness in your life. Therefore, the unrighteous, unholy man could not approach the holy God, thus you needed someone to approach God for you and that was the office of the priest. You would come to him, bring your sacrifice to him, he would take your sacrifice before the Lord and he would go before the Lord to represent you. But then he was to come back to you and represent God. So his ministry was twofold: representing the people unto God and representing God unto the people.

Now, this is how he was to represent God. When he came back to the children of Israel he was to represent God with this threefold blessing.

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. [And God said] And thus shall they put my name upon the people ( Numbers 6:24-27 ).

This name of God, which is only represented in the text by the consonant, no vowels, so the pronunciation of it, became impossible. The name of God was represented in the text by the capital letters YHVH, just the consonants. Because they didn't want people pronouncing the name of God even in their minds, thus the pronunciation for the name of God was lost. And whether it be Jehovah or Yahweh is a matter of theological debate but nobody really knows for sure. But it was that glorious name by which God revealed himself to the people, which is really not so much a name but a verb which means "the becoming One", as God becomes to man whatever man's need might be, and thus the name of God was often coupled with other things. As when Isaac said to his father Abraham, "Here is the wood, here is the fire, where is the sacrifice" and Abraham said, "Jehovah Jireh. The Lord will provide himself a sacrifice." And later he called the name of the Jehovah Jireh the Lord will provide. God becomes our provider.

Later on when the children of Israel were battling against the Amaleks, the Amalekites, and they had come out against the children of Israel with their trained army marching under their banners of war, and the children of Israel just so soon from slavery, totally unskilled in the art of war, no banners just a bunch of guys with staves and sticks. Someone perhaps said to Moses "where are the banners?" and he said, "Jehovah Shammah" the Lord is our banner. He's become our banner.

Again, God revealed himself as Jehovah Raffa; he has become our healer. The Bible tells in Jeremiah that when that kingdom age comes he will be known as Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord has become our righteousness. But we know that name in its most familiar form, the name Jehovah as Jesus. For the name Jesus is the Greek for the Hebrew contraction of Jehovah Yeshua or Jehovah is salvation.

And when Joseph was questioning on whether or not to have Mary stoned or to put her away privately, the angel of the Lord said, "Don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife. That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. She's gonna bear a son, thou shalt call his name Jesus, Yeshua, for he shall save his people from their sins". He is expressed by his name even as where these leaders of Israel: Jesus, Jehovah, our salvation.

So, the Lord bless thee. God wanted his name to be put upon the people. First of all, relating to blessings for God wants to bless his people. And the blessing of his keeping power, the blessing of his grace and the blessing of his peace. These are the blessings that we have received through Jesus Christ. "Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory" ( Jude 1:24 ). Grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, and He is our peace who has broken down the barriers that existed between us. So the name that God put upon the people was all fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD cause his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee ( Numbers 6:24-25 ):

Even as the face of Jesus did shine as the sun. And the shinning face always speaks hope, of goodness, of grace and related to grace. And then

Lift up his countenance ( Numbers 6:26 )

The smiling face, your countenance is lifted up. A falling countenance is a scowl, is a frown. So many people imagine God scowling at them or frowning at them. Our older daughter was going through one of those moods that children often go through where nobody loves her. And she was just a couple of years old and she was just-she had to be corrected and when she was corrected nobody loves her, everybody hates her, nobody loves her. And I said; "Now Jan, you know better than that. We love you". "Oh no you don't." "Well Jesus loves you." "No, He doesn't." I said, "Whatta you mean?" she said, "I just looked up at that cloud and He put his head out from behind it and stuck his tongue out at me." Her little imagination was running wild.

Just like my grandson. The other day they were coming home from Central California and they came through a tremendous electrical storm. Lightening all over the place. And he was just sitting there in the back seat just enjoying it thoroughly. And as they were driving down the road he went to sleep and when he woke up he said, "I had a dream that Jesus was up in heaven pulling switches and every time he would pull a switch a lightening would flash" you know. And he said, "There was this little rabbit hopping along the road and Jesus pulled a switch and the lightning electrocuted him." And his mother said to him, "Oh William, that's awful." And he said, "Well, maybe he didn't know the lightening was gonna hit him." And Chuck Junior said, "William, Jesus knows everything." He said, "Well, I guess he just wanted to zap the rabbit."

But it's amazing what our imaginations can do. They can run wild. And so often we imagine God scowling at us. God is angry with me. God is frowning at me. And God said this is how I want you to put my name on the people. Tell them "The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

Oh, how glorious this smile of approval. What peace is in my heart as I was open face, behold the glory of the Lord. See that bright shinning face and realize that God is smiling at me because He loves me, and I am His son and I am in Christ Jesus. And in Him I have experienced the grace of God, the peace of God and the keeping power of God. These are the blessings that belong to the children of God who are in Christ Jesus.

But the whole Old Testament economy, the priesthood, the tabernacle, all testify of how unapproachable God is by man. You cannot approach God directly. You pull a switch and you get zapped. Thus, if you want to approach God apart from Jesus Christ, there's no way. There's not even a priesthood anymore. There's not even sacrifices being offered. There's no one to go before God before you.

This is the thing that troubles me most about the so-called devout Jew today. I don't care how devout they are in their worship. What are they doing about their sin? How can they approach their God? God established the covenant whereby man could approach him in the Old Testament, but that covenant that God established was by the law and by the sacrifices of the law. And without any sacrifice, without any priest, without someone to go before God for them, how can they dare come before their holy righteous God bringing their good works and expect to be accepted? They're not even honoring the covenant that God made with their own people. And thus, no matter how sincere or devout they may be, they have no approach to God until they re-establish that old covenant. But even then they will not find that it will avail now that God has abolished the old covenant that he might establish the new covenant through Jesus Christ.

Now, Christ is the mediator of the new covenant for it is necessary that in the approach of God there be a mediator. The priest was the mediator of the old covenant, Jesus Christ is become the mediator of the new covenant, and it is through Jesus Christ that I approach God and that God approaches me. It is through Jesus Christ that I come into fellowship with God and I come to know God. And thus Jesus Christ is very important to anyone who seeks to approach God.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Numbers 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/numbers-6.html. 2014.
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