October 6th 2019 – Numbers 6:13-21

'13 “And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 14 and he shall bring his gift to the Lord, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 and a basket of unleavened bread, loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and their grain offering and their drink offerings. 16 And the priest shall bring them before the Lord and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering, 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread. The priest shall offer also its grain offering and its drink offering. 18 And the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire that is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. 19 And the priest shall take the shoulder of the ram, when it is boiled, and one unleavened loaf out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the hair of his consecration, 20 and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. They are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed. And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.

21 “This is the law of the Nazirite. But if he vows an offering to the Lord above his Nazirite vow, as he can afford, in exact accordance with the vow that he takes, then he shall do in addition to the law of the Nazirite."

Numbers 6:13-21

On the expiration of the time of the vow, the Nazarite was to offer a burnt offering, a sin offering and a peace offering, with the customary meal, or cereal, offerings (cf Leviticus 2:4). The significance of the peace offering and the burnt offering is, Calvin thinks, obvious, in terms of thanksgiving on the one hand, and the discharge of pious duty on the other; as to the sin offering, he adds, 'here we clearly perceive, that however cheerfully and earnestly men endeavour to offer themselves altogether to God, yet they never attain to the goal of perfec- tion, nor arrive at what they desire, but are always exposed to God's judgment, unless He should pardon their sins.' Delitzsch underlines this when he speaks of the sin offering as 'an expiation for the sins committed involuntarily during the period of consecration.' After the of- ferings were presented, the Nazarite shaved off his hair at the door of the tabernacle, and burned it on the sacred fire (18). This is the completion of the surrender to God symbolised 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. Thereupon, the Nazarite returned to normal living and to the drinking of wine.

The spiritual lessons of the vow are several. It is expressive of a condition of life conse- crated to the Lord, resembling the sanctified relation in which the priest stood to Jehovah, and differing from the priesthood solely in the fact that it involved no official service of the sanc- tuary, and was not based on a divine calling and institution (although the lifelong Nazarite position was, cf Judges 13:7; 1 Samuel 1:11) but was undertaken spontaneously for a certain time through a special vow.