Today we begin Numbers Chapter 6.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
Broadly speaking, Numbers Chapter 6 can be nicely divided up into two parts.
The first part (the first 21 verses) introduce the office of the Nazarite.
The second part (the last 5 verses) gives us the famous Aaronic Blessing.
Let’s talk a little about the office of the Nazarite.
First, although Bible characters who were Nazarites make several appearances throughout the Tanach, this is the only section in Torah where you will find the specific details concerning the conditions of a Nazarite.
Who are some of the famous Nazarites in the Bible?
Probably the most famous (or notorious depending on how you look at it) Nazarite was the strongman Sampson.
Also Samuel was a Nazarite and there are those who say that John the Baptist was a Nazarite.
Now in John the Baptists’s case, that may be doubtful because we know he was a Levite, but I don’t deny the possibility.
Another place in the New Testament where the Nazarite is mentioned is in the Book of Acts.
We’re told of the Apostle Paul performing a Nazarite ritual.
Paul was being accused of not keeping Torah and in order to show the Messianic Jews that wasn’t the case he performed a Nazarite ritual according to Torah.
Now probably the biggest question that arises is was Yeshua a Nazarite?
Given practically zero existing evidence to support this notion, I would say NO.
This is another one of those areas where we encounter Christian nonsense.
Some Christians will say Yeshua was a Nazarite because his hometown was Nazareth.
Somebody who hails from Nazareth is called a Nazarene.
A Nazarite is totally different.
So goodbye to that idea.
There are two important attributes of becoming a Nazarite.
The first attribute is that one becomes a Nazarite by taking a vow.
The second attribute is that both males and females could become Nazarites.
Now in this post, the most important point I want to communicate to you is that the conditions of a Nazarite changed over the centuries.
Things like who was qualified to become a Nazarite, how long one could remain a Nazarite, what their duties were and what commands they had to follow and so on evolved over the years.
This may surprise you.
“Once something is established in Torah, that means it’s fixed, right?” is what you’re probably thinking.
Well, here’s the thing.
Just because everything we read in the Bible is accurate and the truth does NOT necessarily mean it is approved by God.
Let me explain what I mean.
In Exodus, we are told of the Israelites building and worshipping a Golden Calf.
Does that mean it’s okay?
However, this may not be the best example because in this case the narrative makes it explicitly clear this was idolatry and condemned by God.
However, there are times in Scripture when we’ll read about some event but the narrative will contain zero mention of whether what occurred was good or bad.
It’s left up to us to make a judgement call whether something in Scripture is good or evil based on our understanding of God and His character.
This is an understanding that can only be acquired through many hours of proper Scripture study.
True wisdom is the ability to read a story and understand based on our knowledge of God and His commandments whether what is occurring is God-approved or not.
Consider the Numbers 5 water ritual we just spent the past couple of days studying.
I told you about the decision of Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai and how he decided to abolish the water-ritual because the whole way adultery was being dealt with had become twisted.
Men were simply divorcing their wives and forcing them to go through the Numbers 5 water ordeal because they were tired of them.
What makes things even more perverse is that their actions were done with the full approval of the Jewish religious ruling authority.
When Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai saw how the laws of adultery had been turned into a legitimized fraud, he was compelled to change things.
But understand that what this Rabbi did in abolishing the Numbers 5 water ritual was NOT God-ordained.
HASHEM is not a man who suddenly goes back on what He has established in His Torah.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t go so far as to say what he did was wrong either given the circumstances of the times.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that from both an earthly and heavenly perspective, Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai possibly did the RIGHT thing.
Anyway, the point I want to get across to you is to just understand that what we’re about to study here in Numbers about the Nazarite is NOT going to 100% match up with how a Nazarite operated in the day of Sampson, Samuel, and the Apostle Paul.
And what’s even more important for you to understand is that the changes we’ll encounter were NOT instituted by God, they were done by men.
purified himself along with them
and entered the Temple to give notice
of when the period of purification
would be finished and the offering
would have to be made for each of them.”