We’ve been studying about the office of the Nazarite and how it operated.
One important thing to remember is that just because a certain Bible character had long hair or abstained from strong drink did NOT necessarily mean that person was a Nazarite.
Another important point to remember is that depending on the place and the time, the practices of a Nazarite differed quite substantially from what we’re studying here in Numbers 6.
If you were to check out those parts of the Talmud and Mishna that deal with the Nazarite, you would find a plethora of differing rulings from different rabbis depending on the era.
Samson is a perfect example of one of those wild Nazarites who seemed to care less about the prohibitions established here in Numbers 6 other than his long hair.
Nevertheless, God still used him mightily.
I’d next like to talk a little bit about the Hebrew word for Nazarite which is NAZIR.
What’s interesting is that Hebrew being a semitic language is similar to Chinese and Japanese.
For example, let’s take a look at the Japanese character for water: 水
This character can be pronounced as either MIZU when standing alone or as SUI when combined with other characters.
Now let’s take a look at a few Japanese words that use the water character.
Do you see how the character “水” for water is in each of the three words above?
And do you also notice how the meaning of each word has something to do with water?
That’s how a root-word language works.
It starts with a base component and then by adding or subtracting to it, it broadens or narrows the meaning of the base component but it always keeps the fundamental meaning of the base component we started out with.
The same principle applies to the Hebrew language.
So with that in mind, let’s go back and take a look at the root word of NAZIR.
NAZIR is a noun that in and of itself literally refers to someone or something that has been especially set apart for service to God.
Next we have the Hebrew verb NAZAR.
NAZAR means “to be separated from“.
In the Nazarite’s case, he had to separate himself from all grapes and grape products.
Next, we have the Hebrew word NEZER.
NEZER is a noun that literally means a “shoot” or a “branch“.
Now you’re probably thinking, what in the heck does that have to do with NAZIR?
Well hold on to your horses.
NEZER is actually the word that refers to an unpruned grapevine.
Ah but that’s not all that NEZER means.
NEZER is the word that also refers to the magnificent headpiece the High Priest dons.
I’m talking about about the one with golden band around it.
But wait, I’m still not finished!
NEZER is also the word that refers to the long hair of the Nazarite.
NEZER can mean “unpruned grapevine“, “the High Priest’s headpiece” and the “Nazarite’s long hair“!
Do you see the awesome connection being made here?
There is some kind of parallel being drawn between the the High Priest’s head covering and the Nazarite’s head covering (in this case, his hair).
And we also have the parallel between a Nazarite being separated from God, a NAZIR, and him having to NAZAR or separate himself from anything to do with grapes.