“If someone next to him dies very suddenly, so that he defiles his consecrated head, then he is to shave his head on the day of his purification; he is to shave it on the seventh day. On the eighth day he is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to the cohen at the entrance to the tent of meeting. The cohen is to prepare one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering and thus make atonement for him, inasmuch as he sinned because of the dead person. That same day he is to re-consecrate his head; he is to consecrate to Adonai the full period of his being a nazir by bringing a male lamb in its first year as a guilt offering. The previous days will not be counted, because his consecration became defiled.”-Numbers 6:9-12
In our discussion of the office of the Nazarite, we now transition to the part about how a Nazarite is made ritually unclean by coming into contact with a dead body.
What’s amazing is that it wasn’t just physical contact with a dead body that defiled a Nazarite.
If a Nazarite was even in the same room as a corpse, he or she would be rendered ritually unclean.
What this meant is that even after going through the stringent 7-day period of purification like what the apostle Paul and the four men did in the Book of Acts, the Nazarite would have to repeat the period of his or her vow all over again.
Think of it like having to take a college class all over again from day one because you failed the final exam.
And as I mentioned many times before, far beyond what we read here in Numbers 6, the Rabbis over the years added to the many ways a Nazarite could become defiled forcing him or her to start the period of his vow over again.
One of the most famous examples of this occurring can be found in the Mishna.
There was a Jewish convert named Queen Helena who made a vow to become a Nazarite for seven years (which is pretty darn long in and of itself) but due to becoming defiled near the end of each of two of her first nazarite periods ended up becoming a Nazarite for a total of 21 years!
Let’s next take a look at verse 12 from three different translations.
“he is to consecrate to Adonai the full period of his being a nazir by bringing a male lamb in its first year as a guilt offering. The previous days will not be counted, because his consecration became defiled.”-Complete Jewish Bible
“They must rededicate themselves to the Lord for the same period of dedication and must bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. The previous days do not count, because they became defiled during their period of dedication.“-Complete Jewish Bible
“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.”-King James Version
Pretty much every major English Bible translation says something to the effect that the previous days of the vow period will be rendered invalid because the Nazarite became defiled during his or vow period.
I’m sorry but I’ve got to say that everyone of those Bible translations are flat out WRONG!
The original Hebrew says “because his NEZER was defiled”.
Do you recall what the meaning of NEZER is from yesterday’s study?
Yesterday, we learned that NEZER refers to the “hair of the Nazarite” or the “High Priest’s headdress” (his unique hat with the gold band around it that signified his consecration).
So contextually speaking, verse 12 is referring to the Nazarite’s hair.
Verse 12 should read “the previous days will not count because the Nazarite’s hair, which is the sign of his consecration, was defiled”.
This also makes sense when we again look at the life of Samson.
Amazingly, the Holy Spirit of God never left him when he was frolicking around with heathen prostitutes, but once he got the sign of his consecration cut, in other words, once he got his NEZER or hair cut, we’re told the Holy Spirit of God left him.
“She had him go to sleep in her lap and called for a man to shave off his seven locks of hair. Then she began tormenting him, but his strength had gone away. She said, “Samson! The Philistines have come for you!” He awoke from his sleep and said, “I’ll get out this time, just as I shook myself loose before.” But he didn’t know that Adonai had left him.“-Judges 16:19-20