NETBible KJV GRK-HEB XRef Arts Hymns
  Discovery Box

Numbers 6:1-4

Context
The Nazirite Vow

6:1 1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 6:2 “Speak to the Israelites, and tell them, ‘When either a man or a woman 2  takes a special vow, 3  to take a vow 4  as a Nazirite, 5  to separate 6  himself to the Lord, 6:3 he must separate 7  himself from wine and strong drink, he must drink neither vinegar 8  made from wine nor vinegar made from strong drink, nor may he drink any juice 9  of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 10  6:4 All the days of his separation he must not eat anything that is produced by the grapevine, from seed 11  to skin. 12 

1 sn This chapter can be divided into five sections: The vow is described in vv. 1-8, then the contingencies for defilement are enumerated in vv. 9-12, then there is a discussion of discharging the vows in vv. 13-20, and then a summary in v. 21; after this is the high priestly blessing (vv. 22-27). For information on the vow, see G. B. Gray, “The Nazirite,” JTS 1 (1899-1900): 201-11; Z. Weisman, “The Biblical Nazirite, Its Types and Roots,” Tarbiz 36 (1967): 207-20; and W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament (OTL), 1:303-6.

2 tn The formula is used here again: “a man or a woman – when he takes.” The vow is open to both men and women.

3 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.”

4 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.

5 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 Lord and show signs of separation from the world. Samuel was to be a Nazirite, as the fragment of the text from Qumran confirms – “he will be a נָזִיר (nazir) forever” (1 Sam 1:22).

6 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 Lord.”

7 tn The operative verb now will be the Hiphil of נָזַר (nazar); the consecration to the Lord meant separation from certain things in the world. The first will be wine and strong drink – barley beer (from Akkadian sikaru, a fermented beer). But the second word may be somewhat wider in its application than beer. The Nazirite, then, was to avoid all intoxicants as a sign of his commitment to the Lord. The restriction may have proved a hardship in the daily diet of the one taking the vow, but it spoke a protest to the corrupt religious and social world that used alcohol to excess.

8 tn The “vinegar” (חֹמֶץ, homets) is some kind of drink preparation that has been allowed to go sour.

9 tn This word occurs only here. It may come from the word “to water, to be moist,” and so refer to juice.

10 tn Heb “dried” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV).

11 tn This word also is rare, occurring only here.

12 sn Here is another hapax legomenon, a word only found here. The word seems linked to the verb “to be clear,” and so may mean the thin skin of the grape. The reason for the strictness with these two words in this verse is uncertain. We know the actual meanings of the words, and the combination must form a merism here, meaning no part of the grape could be eaten. Abstaining from these common elements of food was to be a mark of commitment to the Lord. Hos 3:1 even denounces the raisin cakes as part of a pagan world, and eating them would be a violation of the oath.



TIP #01: Welcome to the NEXT Bible Web Interface and Study System!! [ALL]
created in 0.11 seconds
powered by bible.org