We are now dealing with the fascinating topic of the office of the Nazarite or NAZIR in Hebrew.
I left off by saying that what the office of NAZIR was, its customs and how it operated evolved over the centuries.
In scholarly circles, you’ll be told there are two kinds of Nazarites.
You’ll be told there is a “Perpetual Nazarite” and a “Nazarite for Life“.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking “What?! Doesn’t ‘perpetual’ also mean ‘for life’?“
The answer is no, in spite of the name.
In this context “perpetual” is referring to a Nazarite who only takes a vow for a designated period of time.
And when I say a “Nazarite for life” I’m talking about an individual who was made a Nazarite in the womb by his mother and then remained a Nazir until death.
However, guess what?!
From a commandment perspective, there is actually zero Biblical basis that establishes the office of Nazarite for life.
No such commandment exists in the Scriptures.
This goes back to the point I mentioned yesterday that just because something is in the Scriptures does NOT mean it’s God-ordained.
And this “Nazarite for Life” idea is one of them.
So the first thing I want you to understand is that what is being established here in Numbers 6 are the conditions for a “perpetual Nazarite“.
And again, in this context “perpetual” actually means “temporary“.
I know it’s confusing as hell but that’s just the way it is.
Who knows what some of these scholars were thinking (or what they were smoking) when they came up with the term “perpetual Nazarite“.
Now one interesting question that arises is why in the world would someone want to become a Nazarite in the first place?
Well, it all had to do with wanting a special favor from God.
Let’s say someone had come down with a life-threatening illness or maybe somebody made some bad investments and lost all of his wealth.
Or we might have a situation where a mother’s son is being sent to fight in a dangerous war.
In each of these cases, an oath is taken that if HASHEM will help them overcome whatever troubling situation they’re facing, in return the person will dedicate his or her life to the Lord for a specified period of time.
This is basically what becoming a Nazarite was all about.
In other words, if God cured them of the illness, restored their wealth, or their son returned safely from battle, they would become a Nazarite.
What’s interesting is that the idea of becoming a NAZIR entered into the common cultural landscape of ancient Israel.
For example, over a couple of drinks at the local pub, one Hebrew bro might say to another, “I swear if that girl over there is not a Persian Jewess, I’ll be a Nazarite”.
Jewish records also testify to the fact that even the priests would officiate over the offerings of hundreds of Nazarites at once.
This gives us a pretty good idea of just how common becoming a Nazarite had become.