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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Numbers 6

Verse 1

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 2-6

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:

When either man or woman shall ... vow a vow of a Nazarite, [ Naaziyr (H5139)] - 'a separated one,' from a Hebrew word, to separate [Septuagint, hafagnisasthai hagneian, to purify purity.] And 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 (Numbers 30:4), and for a limited period-usually a month or a life-time (Judges 13:5; Judges 16:17).

We do not know, perhaps, the whole extent of abstinence they practiced. 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-restriction 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 (Leviticus 14:8-9), its unpolled luxuriance was a symbol of the purity the man 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. [ Migepen (H1612) hayayin (H3196), a wine vine, to distinguish it from similar plants of a poisonous quality (Deuteronomy 32:32; 2 Kings 4:39).]

Verse 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 upon his head.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 8-11

All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.

If any man die very suddenly by him. Cases of sudden death might occur to make him contract pollution; and in such circumstances he required, after shaving his head, to make the prescribed offerings necessary for the removal of ceremonial defilement (Leviticus 15:13; Numbers 19:11). But by the terms of this law an accidental defilement vitiated the whole of his previous observances and he required to begin the period of his Nazaritism afresh. But even this full completion did not supersede the necessity of a sin offering at the close. Sin mingles with our best and holiest performances, and the blood of sprinkling is necessary to procure acceptance to us and our services.

Verse 12

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.

A lamb of the first year. The mode of offering was the same as in other cases of trespass offering, (see the note at Leviticus 5:1-19, etc.)

Verses 13-20

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:

When the days of his separation ... On the accomplishment of a limited vow of Nazaritism, Nazarites might cut their hair wherever they happened to be (Acts 18:18), but the hair was to be carefully kept and brought to the door of the sanctuary. Then after the presentation of sin offerings and holocausts (cf. Acts 21:18-26), it was put under the vessel in which the peace offerings were boiled; and the priest, taking the shoulder (Leviticus 7:32), when boiled, and a cake and wafer of the meat offering, put them on the hands of the Nazarites to wave before the Lord, as a token of thanksgiving, and thus release them from their vow.

Verses 21-22

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 23

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,

Speak unto Aaron ... This passage records the solemn benediction which God appointed for dismissing the people when assembled together at stated seasons. The repetition of the name Lord or Yahweh" three times, expressed the great mystery of the Godhead-three persons, and yet one God. The expressions the separate clauses correspond to the respective offices of the Father, to "bless and keep us;" of the Son, to be "gracious to us;" and of the Holy Spirit, to "give us peace." And that the benediction, though pronounced by the lips of a fellow-man, derived its virtue, not from the priest, but from God, the encouraging assurance was added, "I the Lord will bless them" (cf. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15). Jewish writers tell us that during this ceremony the high priest not only pronounced the benediction three times, according to the prescribed formula, and each tune in a different accent, but, in the elevation of his hands, extended the three middle fingers of his right hand in so conspicuous a manner as to exhibit a sensible emblem of the three hypostases, to whom the triple benediction and repetition of the word Yahweh evidently pointed. Psalms 67:1-7 is a paraphrase of this benediction. We are informed ('Travels,' by Captain Innys, of Madras) that the Mohammedan priests use the same form-which is a strong collateral circumstance. For since it is notorious that Mahomet was indebted for a considerable part of his theological knowledge to the private instructions of a Jew, he probably learned this symbol from that Jew; and it was frequently practiced in the Arabian mosques so early as the seventh century ('Jewish Repository,'

ii. (1817), p. 278).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/numbers-6.html. 1871-8.