6:2 “Speak to the Israelites, and tell them, ‘When either a man or a woman 1 takes a special vow, 2 to take a vow 3 as a Nazirite, 4 to separate 5 himself to the Lord,
6:18 “‘Then the Nazirite must shave his consecrated head 6 at the entrance to the tent of meeting and must take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire 7 where the peace offering is burning. 8
1 tn The formula is used here again: “a man or a woman – when he takes.” The vow is open to both men and women.
2 tn The vow is considered special in view of the use of the verb יַפְלִא (yafli’), the Hiphil imperfect of the verb “to be wonderful, extraordinary.”
3 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct followed by the cognate accusative: “to vow a vow.” This intensifies the idea that the vow is being taken carefully.
4 tn The name of the vow is taken from the verb that follows; נָזַר (nazar) means “to consecrate oneself,” and so the Nazirite is a consecrated one. These are folks who would make a decision to take an oath for a time or for a lifetime to be committed to the
5 tn The form of the verb is an Hiphil infinitive construct, forming the wordplay and explanation for the name Nazirite. The Hiphil is here an internal causative, having the meaning of “consecrate oneself” or just “consecrate to the
6 tn Some versions simply interpret this to say that he shaves his hair, for it is the hair that is the sign of the consecration to God. But the text says he shaves his consecrated head. The whole person is obviously consecrated to God – not just the head. But the symbolic act of cutting the hair shows that the vow has been completed (see Acts 21:23-24). The understanding of the importance of the hair in the ancient world has been the subject of considerable study over the years (see R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 436; and J. A. Thompson, “Numbers,” New Bible Commentary: Revised, 177).
7 sn Some commentators see this burning of the hair as an offering (McNeile, Numbers, 35; G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 68). But others probably with more foundation see it as destroying something that has served a purpose, something that if left alone might be venerated (see R. de Vaux, Israel, 436).
8 tn Heb “which is under the peace offering.” The verse does not mean that the hair had to be put under that sacrifice and directly on the fire.