King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Numbers 6

The law concerning the Nazarites. (1-21) The form of blessing the people. (22-27)

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The law concerning the Nazarites

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:

3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.

4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.

5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.

6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.

7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.

8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.

9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.

10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.

12 And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

14 And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,

15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.

16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:

17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.

18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:

20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.

21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.

The form of blessing the people

22 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,

24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Sanctified, and separated from the common sort of people, and obliged to observe abstinence like the Nazarites, as the Heb. intimates in one word, nazir. All this was done to acquire greater sanctity and perfection. Sept. “whoever has made a great vow to be very pure to the Lord,” and intends thus to signalize his zeal for God’s glory. The original term means also to distinguish oneself by a wonderful thing. There were Nazarites for life, like Samson and S. John the Baptist; and others for a limited time, like S. Paul. Their abstinence from wine, &c. lasted generally for a month, and was to be performed at Jerusalem. Those of the female sex could not bind themselves by vow till they were ten years and a day old, nor boys before they were full 13. C. — The custom of cutting the hair, in honour of some god, was very common among the pagans; and S. Cyril (de ador. 16,) seems to think that the Hebrews had seen it practised in Egypt, and that Moses judged it expedient to let them do so for the sake of the true God, in order to divert their minds from giving way to superstition. C. — The Hebrews made vows to abstain from wine for 30 days, and then to offer sacrifices, and to cut their hair, when they were attacked by any dangerous illness. Josep. Bel. ii. 15. S. Paul perhaps made a vow of this nature, in the perils of the sea. Acts xviii. 11. Spencer, Rit. iii. 6. Juvenal alludes to this custom, when he observes, that sailors with their heads shaved, delight in safety to recount the dangers to which they have been exposed:

Gaudent ubi vertice raso,

Garrula securi narrare pericula Nautæ. (Sat. ii.)

Ver. 3. Drunk. Heb. shecar, may signify old or palm wine. Lev. x. 9. — Drink. Heb. “of shecar,” which was a clear wine, with perhaps a mixture of sugar. — Vinegar was a common beverage among the ancients. Plin. xiv. 16. Ruth ii. 14. The soldiers gave our Saviour some of theirs to drink. The Turks, who are not allowed to drink wine of the grape, make use of various other sorts of made wine. — Grape, or the liquor procured from grapes, with a mixture of water, after they have served already to make wine. This liquor is called secondary wine by the Greeks, (M.) being designed for labourers in winter. Varro 54, and Columella xii. 40. Grapes of every description are forbidden to the Nazarites, as they either tend to inebriate, or at least are too luxurious. H. — God deigns to give those a rule who voluntarily consecrate themselves to his service. “What do the Nazarites designate, but the life of those who abstain, and are continent.” S. Greg. Mor. xxxii. 23. W.

Ver. 4. Kernel, or stone. Neither the inside nor the outside must be eaten.

Ver. 5. Grow. At the commencement, and at the end of the Nazariteship, the hair was cut; though perhaps a sort of crown was left at the top of the head, as the 7th verse may be rendered, “the crown of his God,” &c. C. — The Nazarite is under the same regulations with the high priest, with respect to any corpse, v. 6. Maimon. More, p. 3. Lev. xxi. 11. Both were consecrated to God in the most perfect manner. M. — When the hair of Samson was cut off, he immediately lost his supernatural strength. Jud. xvi.

Ver. 6. Dead. To teach us that those who are consecrated to God, ought to abstain from the works of death. H.

Ver. 9. Day. That none might escape; (Theod. q. 11) though the Heb. may imply that the hair was only shaved on the ninth day, when he was to be purified. C. xix. 12. Then the Nazarite had to begin again, as if he had done nothing, (C.) if his vow were only for a time. Those who had taken a vow for life never shaved.

Ver. 11. Sinned. Contracting a legal uncleanness. — That day, and commence his vow. M.

Ver. 13. He. The priest.

Ver. 18. Fire, on the altar, where the ram has been sacrificed. Abulensis. Lyranus thinks it was burnt on the fire, with which the meat was boiled. M. Chaldee. T. — The Sept., Philo. &c. understand it in the former sense; and Theodoret says the consecrated hair was placed upon the victim on the fire. C.

Ver. 20. Priest, contrary to what was required in other sacrifices. Josep. iv. 4. Both the priest and the Nazarite waved the sacrifice towards the four quarters of the world.

Ver. 21. Mind. If he have vowed any thing more, he must perform it. H.

Ver. 23. Sons. The three forms of benediction for the high priests, have all the same meaning, and they might choose which they pleased. Grotius observes, that they pronounced them aloud standing, with their hands lifted up. The books of Moses are the ritual of the priests.

Ver. 25. Show. Heb. “make his face shine,” joyful and serene, (C.) like a light to direct thy steps. Ps. lxvi. 2.

Ver. 26. Turn. With loving mercy, may he comfort and protect thee. M.

Ver. 27. Invoke. Heb. “they shall name my name (Yehovah, in pronouncing blessings) upon the sons of Israel,” which I will ratify. H. — “They shall place the blessing of my name,” &c. Chal. They shall praise my name. C. — God authorizes us to use a determinate from of blessing, and grants the effect, when his minister pronounces it, (W.) if no obstacle be put by the party. H.