Numbers 6:1-21 - The Nazirite Vow

Numbers: A Book of Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  21:18
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Numbers 6:1-21

Numbers 6:1–21 CSB
1 The Lord instructed Moses: 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When a man or woman makes a special vow, a Nazirite vow, to consecrate himself to the Lord, 3 he is to abstain from wine and beer. He must not drink vinegar made from wine or from beer. He must not drink any grape juice or eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 He is not to eat anything produced by the grapevine, from seeds to skin, during the period of his consecration. 5 “You must not cut his hair throughout the time of his vow of consecration. He may be holy until the time is completed during which he consecrates himself to the Lord; he is to let the hair of his head grow long. 6 He must not go near a dead body during the time he consecrates himself to the Lord. 7 He is not to defile himself for his father or mother, or his brother or sister, when they die, while the mark of consecration to his God is on his head. 8 He is holy to the Lord during the time of consecration. 9 “If someone suddenly dies near him, defiling his consecrated head, he must shave his head on the day of his purification; he is to shave it on the seventh day. 10 On the eighth day he is to bring two turtledoves 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 on behalf of the Nazirite, since he incurred guilt because of the corpse. On that day he is to consecrate his head again. 12 He is to rededicate his time of consecration to the Lord and to bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. But do not count the initial period of consecration because it became defiled. 13 “This is the law of the Nazirite: On the day his time of consecration is completed, he is to be brought to the entrance to the tent of meeting. 14 He is to present an offering to the Lord of one unblemished year-old male lamb as a burnt offering, one unblemished year-old female lamb as a sin offering, one unblemished ram as a fellowship offering, 15 along with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and a basket of unleavened cakes made from fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers coated with oil. 16 “The priest is to present these before the Lord and sacrifice the Nazirite’s sin offering and burnt offering. 17 He will also offer the ram as a fellowship sacrifice to the Lord, together with the basket of unleavened bread. Then the priest will offer the accompanying grain offering and drink offering. 18 “The Nazirite is to shave his consecrated head at the entrance to the tent of meeting, take the hair from his head, and put it on the fire under the fellowship sacrifice. 19 The priest is to take the boiled shoulder from the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put them into the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated head. 20 The priest is to present them as a presentation offering before the Lord. It is a holy portion for the priest, in addition to the breast of the presentation offering and the thigh of the contribution. After that, the Nazirite may drink wine. 21 “These are the instructions about the Nazirite who vows his offering to the Lord for his consecration, in addition to whatever else he can afford; he must fulfill whatever vow he makes in keeping with the instructions for his consecration.”

What is the Nazirite Vow

Nazirite is not Nazareth. Jesus was from Nazareth not a Nazirite.
The Nazirite vow was a vow of separation.
The word derives from nāzı̂r. meaning “to separate.”
It was a vow that could be taken for a specific period (e.g., for thirty days, as here), perhaps as an act of consecration, perhaps following repentance, or, as has been said “to reassure himself that underlying the routine of daily life he was devoted to God.”
But that there were also lifelong Nazirites is equally clear in Scripture, as is evident for example in the case of Samson (Judg. 13–16), who was chosen and appointed by God as consecrated to Him, and regarded as the divine gift to Israel in time of particular need (cf. Amos 2:11).
Though in these verses it is focused on the Temporary vow.
There are three conditions. Abstinence from intoxicating liquor (vv. 3–4), abstinence from the cutting of the hair (v. 5), and abstinence from contact with any dead body, involving ritual defilement and uncleanness.


Abstinence from wine and intoxicating drink,4 had probably a twofold purpose.
Abstinence would ensure full clarity of the mind when engaged in the service of the Lord.
It was also about not partaking in the luxurious kind of food that was part of this vow.

No Razor

Is thought to have been originally the most important of the prohibitions, “and a feature common to the different types of Nazirite vows recorded in the Old Testament.”
There are many arguments as to why this is important but it may just be as simple as it is a physical sign of the spiritual commitment.

Contact with Dead bodies

This one is dealt with here in greater detail than the others. The strictness of the enactment is seen in that not only contact with a dead body is forbidden but even, it would seem (cf. Lev. 21:11), entering a room in which a dead body lay. So strict, indeed, is the prohibition that even unintentional or accidental contact with the dead (v. 9) was regarded to have nullified the consecration, and a new beginning had to be made (v. 12).
Calvin distinguishes two points in the prohibition. As to why contact with a dead body was a pollution, he concludes that “because by death is represented God’s curse, the wages of sin, the Israelites were thus admonished to beware of dead works.” As to the question of mourning he adds that “those who profess the special service of God should set an example to others of magnanimity and submission.” As the first regulation of the vow (vv. 3–4) restrained the Nazirite from indulgence of the senses, so now a remedy is applied in the realm of sorrow. Calvin adds, “Although all ought to seek to indulge it moderately, yet something more is prescribed to the Nazirites, that, as if disentangled and stripped from earthly affections, they should go further than the rest of the people.”

Ending the Vow

After the offerings were presented by the priest, the Nazirite shaved off his hair at the door of the tabernacle and burned it on the sacred fire (v. 18).
This was the completion of the surrender to God symbolized in the vow.
Finally, the priest made a wave offering of a portion of the peace offering and the meal offering, which thereby became holy and the perquisite of the priest.
Then the Nazirite returned to normal living and to the drinking of wine.

Consecration and Separation

The message is one of consecration and separation
The immediate response a lot of people want to take with this is stay away from alcohol. Where as that may be good sense advice absence is easier than perfect moderation. It isn’t what the passage is about.
The passage is not about your hair. You aren’t going to find any definitions of what is long and what is short hair here.
It is about separating ourselves and consecrating ourselves to God. We separate ourselves from the things that partake in the life of sin. SO that we may live unto God.
Galatians 5:19–21 LEB
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, things which I am telling you in advance, just as I said before, that the ones who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Romans 12:2 LEB
2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may approve what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God.
These are a direct descendant of the Nazareth vow. We need for all natural gifts to be baptized into the death of Christ.
It seems right that at times in our lives we need to take a special vow upon our selves to consecrate ourselves to God.
Paul seems to have taken such vows on occasion (cf. Acts 18:18; 21:18–26), and we should bear in mind that echoes of the Nazirite vow seem to ring in Paul’s teaching also, as for example in 1 Corinthians 6:13, “the body is … for the Lord, and the Lord for the body,” and 1 Corinthians 10:31, “eat or drink … to the glory of God.”
There is time of Fasting that must take place.
but these little fast are just a symbol of our lifelong separation unto God. I am not talking about becoming a monk or a nun. But you are separate. Holy Unto God.

Next Steps

Fast - People, Things, food, Desires, ETC
Symbol for the life you are too lead.


Barry, John D., Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, Michael S. Heiser, Miles Custis, Elliot Ritzema, Matthew M. Whitehead, Michael R. Grigoni, and David Bomar. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
Philip, James, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Numbers. Vol. 4. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987.
Spence, H.D.M., Joseph S Exell. The Pulpit Commentary. Vol. 2 Leviticus-Numbers. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, third ed. 2011.
Noordtzij, A. Bible Students Commentary: Numbers, Zondervan, 1983Martin Noth, Numbers: A Commentary, Old Testament Library (London: SCM Press, 1968)
Heiser, Michael S. “Did Samson Violate His Nazirite Vow?” Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
Carl L. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Numbers, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, repr.
Binns, L. Elliott. The Book of Numbers. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1927
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