Numbers 6

Setting yourself apart for God would always be a good thing.  This chapter explains how Samson and John the Baptist were set apart.  Usually the time of being a Nazarite was a voluntary act of devotion from a committed man or woman of faith.  In some cases, like Samson, the child was set apart from the time of the womb.  They could have nothing to do with death.  They could not drink alcohol (fermented from rotting fruit);  They could not touch a corpse (rotting body);  they could not cut their hair (killing it???).  They had to be Holy and live a life that engaged with life.

Numbers 6  

1 The LORD said to Moses,

    2 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite,

    3 he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins.

    4 As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.

    5 ‘During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long.

    6 Throughout the period of his separation to the LORD he must not go near a dead body.

    7 Even if his own father or mother or brother or sister dies, he must not make himself ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of his separation to God is on his head.

    8 Throughout the period of his separation he is consecrated to the LORD.

    9 ‘If someone dies suddenly in his presence, thus defiling the hair he has dedicated, he must shave his head on the day of his cleansing— the seventh day.

    10 Then on the eighth day he must bring two doves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

    11 The priest is to offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to make atonement for him because he sinned by being in the presence of the dead body. That same day he is to consecrate his head.

    12 He must dedicate himself to the LORD for the period of his separation and must bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. The previous days do not count, because he became defiled during his separation.

    13 ‘Now this is the law for the Nazirite when the period of his separation is over. He is to be brought to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

    14 There he is to present his offerings to the LORD: a year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a year-old ewe lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a fellowship offering,

    15 together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and a basket of bread made without yeast— cakes made of fine flour mixed with oil, and wafers spread with oil.

    16 ‘The priest is to present them before the LORD and make the sin offering and the burnt offering.

    17 He is to present the basket of unleavened bread and is to sacrifice the ram as a fellowship offering to the LORD, together with its grain offering and drink offering.

    18 ‘Then at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the Nazirite must shave off the hair that he dedicated. He is to take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering.

    19 ‘After the Nazirite has shaved off the hair of his dedication, the priest is to place in his hands a boiled shoulder of the ram, and a cake and a wafer from the basket, both made without yeast.

    20 The priest shall then wave them before the LORD as a wave offering; they are holy and belong to the priest, together with the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. After that, the Nazirite may drink wine.

    21 ‘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 fulfil the vow he has made, according to the law of the Nazirite.’


  1. In what different ways is a nazarite specifically warned off of grapes?
  2. What happens to a person’s dedication if they touch a dead body?
  3. What do you think is the point of making such a vow?
  4. How is this different from monasticism?
  5. How would you dedicate yourself or your child in a special way?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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