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Bible Commentaries

Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Numbers 6

Verses 1-27

THE NAZARITE VOW

(vs.1-12)

The vow of a Nazarite was voluntary, except in such cases as Samson and Samuel, both of whom were Nazarites from birth, by the decree of God (Judges 13:5; 1 Samuel 1:11; 1 Samuel 1:27-28). But we are not to think that this is typical of a special Christian class, no more that Levites or priests represented this. Just as all believers are priests and servants (Levites), so are they Nazarites because they have voluntarily received the Lord Jesus as Savior, and therefore commit themselves to a path of pleasing Him. Samson and Samuel illustrate the fact that from birth (new birth in our case) we are committed to a lifetime of pleasing the One whom it is true delight to please. No vow is required of us, as was the case under law, yet still some true voluntary decision.

Nazarite means "separated," just as all believers are separated from an ungodly world. True separation to God is expressed in three specific ways. First, there was to be separation from all that comes from the wine-vine, not only the wine, but grapes, raisins, vinegar or any part of the vine (vs.3-4). The wine speaks of joy, not necessarily illicit joy, forJudges 9:19; Judges 9:19 tells us that wine "cheers God and man." When one walks with God, the things that are most pleasant, naturally speaking, can be willingly sacrificed. In contrast to this, "she who lives in pleasure is death while she lives" (1 Timothy 5:6). To be light and careless is not Christianity: the things of God are serious.

Secondly, the Nazarite's hair was not to be cut for the entire length of his vow of separation (v.5). 11 Corinthians 11:5 shows that the woman's long hair is a sign of her subjection to man, who normally does not have long hair (v.16). The Nazarite's long hair was therefore a sign of his subjection to God. It was only when Samson lost his hair that he lost his strength (Judges 16:11-20), for the strength of the believer lies in his subjection to God. The Lord Jesus was not literally a Nazarite, though many pictures mistakenly represent Him as having long hair; but spiritually speaking, He is the one true Nazarite, totally separated to God.

Thirdly, the Nazarite was not to be defiled by contact with a dead body. Even if his father, mother, brother or sister died, he was not to be identified with their funeral (vs.7-8). This teaches us that today, any association with anything that is spiritually corrupt is defiling. Not that there is any defilement for us in contact with a literally dead body, but there are spiritually dead bodies, corrupt religious systems, that are an insult to the holiness of God, and He expects believers to be totally separated from these.

Yet it was possible that a Nazarite might be inadvertently near a person who suddenly died. The defilement was just as serious, and the Nazarite was to then shave his head on the seventh day, intimating his Nazariteship was lost (v.9). On the eighth day he was to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the door of the tabernacle (v.10). Then the priest was to offer one of these as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. Thus we are reminded that the sacrifice of Christ was necessary to atone for the defilement of wrong associations, the sacrifice that cleanses away sin (the sin offering) and glorifies God (the burnt offering). Added to this was a male lamb as a trespass offering (v.12), but the former days of his separation were lost because of defilement. There is no indication, however, that he could not at a later time again take the vow of the Nazarite.

THE NAZARITE VOW COMPLETED

(vs.13-21)

Since the Nazarite vow was designated for a certain length of time, when this was completed the person was to come with an offering to the tabernacle door. For the believer today, his Nazariteship is not completed until the end of his history on earth, whether through death or the Lord's coming.

On entering the glory of the Lord's own presence, we shall be blessed with a fresh realization of the great value of His sacrifice, as is intimated in verses 14 to 20. First is the male lamb for a burnt offering, the reminder that Christ's sacrifice for us has brought highest honor to His God and Father. A ewe lamb for a sin offering gives the sweet reminder that our sin has been fully met at Calvary. The unblemished ram as a peace offering furnishes the reminder that perfect concord and communion has been established for us with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ by virtue of the same great sacrifice.

The basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil and unleavened wafers anointed with oil bring the fresh remembrance of the whole life of the Lord Jesus on earth in true humanity, devoted to the will of God (v.15). This will mean more to us then when we see Him face to face than it has ever meant before. The drink offerings symbolize the joy we shall have in the contemplation of His own great sacrifice of Calvary. We see these now offered in verses 16 and 17.

The Nazarite was then to shave his head (v.18), signifying that the days of his subjection in humiliation were at an end. Today our subjection to God (as illustrated in the long hair) means constant humiliation and self-denial in a hostile environment. But the hair was burned under the peace offering. The reminder of our days of humiliation will go up in fire to the Lord. He will not forget this, but our bodies of humiliation will be altered to be like the Lord's body of glory (Philippians 3:21).

From the peace offering ram the priest was then to take the boiled shoulder, one unleavened cake and one unleavened wafer, putting them on the hands of the Nazarite, then waving them as a wave offering before the Lord. The wave shoulder speaks of Christ as the One who has perfectly borne our responsibility on the cross and is glorified in heaven (of which the waving speaks). How perfectly then we shall enjoy the sweetness of fellowship with Him, the sweetness we have known only in small measure on earth. The unleavened cake and wafer remind us of Christ in His sinless perfection of Manhood, which He will maintain in wonderful grace through eternity.

The breast of the wave offering (Christ in glory) and the thigh of the heave offering (Christ in resurrection) are added here as further food for out eternal enjoyment. Only after that is the Nazarite told he can now drink wine (v.20), which speaks of the unmingled joy and pleasure of heavenly glory that will then have no danger of being abused. Nothing is said as to the Nazarite being relieved of the responsibility of avoiding a dead body, for in heaven there will be no such thing.

At the completion of the Nazarite's vow, this interpretation of the many offerings, etc. is beautifully appropriate, for otherwise there would be no reason for so much to be done, for it was not as though the Nazarite was defiled in properly completing his vow.

THE BLESSING OF ISRAEL BY THE PRIESTS

(vs.22-27)

These verses complete the picture of eternal blessing for us, though literally for Israel they refer to her temporal blessing. But believers will for eternity enjoy the blessing and keeping grace of the Lord Jesus (v.24). His face too will shine upon us in radiant beauty without intermission, and His grace (His favor) will be showered continually upon us (v.25). with His countenance lifted up in loving approval, He will provide the peace that passes all understanding for eternity (v.26).

In this blessing of Israel, however, God's name would be put upon them (v.27). This has not been properly fulfilled in all their history thus far, for it has been for centuries that Israel has suffered because of rebellion against God. Instead of having God's name upon them, God said of the child of Hosea, "Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your god" (Hosea 1:9). But when finally in faith they turn to the Lord Jesus in genuine repentance, then "in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, there they shall be called sons of the living God" (Romans 9:26). Wonderful change indeed! Israel will not see evil any more. In fact, of their capital city, Jerusalem we read in Ezekiel 48:35, "the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE." Yet, far higher still, His name will be upon His saints in glory, for eternity. "I will write on him My new name" (Revelation 3:12) is the promise of the Lord Jesus to the overcomer, that is, to the one "who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:4-5).

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Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Numbers 6". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/numbers-6.html. 1897-1910.