Numbers 6, the Nazirite and Priestly Blessing

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Barry and Helen Setterfield, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. Barry and Helen Setterfield

    Barry and Helen Setterfield
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    Dec 28, 2002
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    It is in this chapter we are first introduced to the concept of the Nazirite vows. These vows were to be taken by a man as a matter of choice. It was not expected.

    However, once the vow was made, it had to be kept. The man was consecrated to the Lord for the time spoken in the vow. The vow was a vow of separation to the Lord.

    The first requirement was the man was not to touch anything from the grapevine, even the vinegar made from the wine. The use of 'wine' here is defined as a fermented beverage (verse 3). The restriction against drinking wine does indicate that wine was a normal beverage for the rest of the Israelites. In verse 20, when the Nazirite has finished the time of his vow and presented the proper offerings and shaved his head, he is told specifically that he may drink wine again.

    The other major mark of a Nazirite was that he could not shave his hair. In verse 9 we realize that his hair itself has been dedicated to the Lord! Thus, he must shave it off when he is finished the time of his vow, and put his hair in the fire that is burning his fellowship offering.

    The last thing mentioned is that a Nazirite may not even go near a dead person, even if it is a close relative. His vow of separation to God takes precedence.

    But then, in verse 9, we see something strange -- if a person accidently falls dead in front of him, he is not only defiled and must start the period of his vows all over again (verse 12), but he is considered to have sinned by being in the presence of a dead person! (verse 11)

    Is God unjust? How can it be the Nazirite's sin if someone falls dead in front of him?

    The answer is that God is in charge of life and death -- as well as when each occurs, and where. It well may be that in the Nazirite's heart the Lord saw some kind of rebellion that needed correction, and thus the discipline of a person falling dead in front of him, forcing the time of vow to be started all over again. Whatever the reason, God is not unjust or unfair. For us it is a matter of trust and knowing that He is, truly, the judge of all things. That person would not have fallen dead in front of the Nazirite unless God wanted it to happen, and, in God's economy, there is a reason for everything. Nothing is wasted.

    Verse 21 is a strong one, closing the information about Nazirite vows:

    This is the law of the Nazirite who vows his offering to the Lord in accordance with his separation, in addition to whatever else he can afford. He must fulfill the vow he has made, according to the law of the Nazirite.

    He MUST fulfill the vow he has made...

    Verses 22-27 are called the Aaronic blessing, and are familiar to most Christians. There is a problem with the English translation (in all versions) because there is a 'trick' English is unable to express. Each of the verses of the blessing is longer than the last in Hebrew. The first verse has three words, the second five, and the third seven.

    The Lord bless you and keep you.

    The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.

    The Lord turn his face toward you [or 'lift up his countenance upon you'], and give you peace.

    This was the blessing the Aaronic line of priests was to give the Israelites.

    [ January 24, 2003, 12:43 AM: Message edited by: Barry and Helen Setterfield ]
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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