Numbers 6 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Numbers 6)

Verse 2

[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:

Man or woman — For both sexes might make this vow, if they were free and at their own disposal: otherwise their parents or husbands could disannul the vow.

A vow of a Nazarite — Whereby they sequestered themselves from worldly employments and enjoyments, that they might entirely consecrate themselves to God's service, and this either for their whole lifetime, or for a less and limited space of time.

Verse 3

[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.

Nor eat grapes — Which was forbidden him for greater caution to keep him at the farther distance from wine.

Verse 4

[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.

All the days of his separation — Which were sometimes more, sometimes fewer, as he thought fit to appoint.

Verse 5

[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.

No razor — Nor scissors, or other instrument to cut off any part of his hair. This was appointed, partly as a sign of his mortification to worldly delights and outward beauty; partly as a testimony of that purity which hereby he professed, because the cutting off the hair was a sign of uncleanness, as appears from Numbers 6:9, partly that by the length of his hair he might be constantly minded of his vow; and partly that he might reserve his hair entirely for God, to whom it was to be offered.

Holy — That is, wholly consecrated to God and his service, whereby he shews that inward holiness was the great thing which God required and valued in these, and consequently in other rites and ceremonies.

Verse 7

[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.

His father — Wherein he was equal to the high-priest, being, in some sort, as eminent a type of Christ, and therefore justly required to prefer the service of God, to which he had so fully given himself, before the expressions of his affections to his dearest and nearest relations.

The consecration — That is, the token of his consecration, namely, his long hair.

Verse 9

[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.

He shall shave his head — Because his whole body, and especially his hair was defiled by such an accident, which he ought to impute either to his own heedlessness, or to God's providence so ordering the matter, possibly for the punishment of his other sins, or for the quickening him to more purity and detestation of all dead works, whereby he would be defiled.

Verse 11

[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.

A sin-offering — Because such a pollution was, though not his sin, yet the chastisement of his sin.

He sinned — That is, contracted a ceremonial uncleanness, which is called sinning, because it was a type of sin, and a violation of a law, tho' through ignorance and inadvertency.

Hallow — Begin again to hallow or consecrate it.

Verse 12

[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.

The days of his separation — As many days as he had before vowed to God.

Lost — Heb. fall, to the ground, that is, be void or of none effect.

Verse 14

[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,

A sin-offering — Whereby he confessed his miscarriages, notwithstanding the strictness of his vow and all the diligence which he could use, and consequently acknowledged his need of the grace of God in Christ Jesus the true Nazarite.

For peace-offerings — For thankfulness to God, who had given him grace to make and in some measure to keep such a vow. So he offered all the three sorts of offerings, that he might so far fulfil all righteousness and profess his obligation to observe the will of God in all things.

Verse 15

[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.

Their meal-offering — Such as generally accompanied the sacrifices.

Verse 18

[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.

At the door — Publickly, that it might be known that his vow was ended, and therefore he was at liberty as to those things from which he had restrained himself for a season, otherwise some might have been scandalized at his use of his liberty.

The fire — Upon which the flesh of the peace-offerings was boiled.

Verse 19

[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:

The shoulder — The left-shoulder, as it appears from Numbers 6:20, where this is joined with the heave-shoulder, which was the right-shoulder, and which was the priests due in all sacrifices, Leviticus 7:32, and in this also. But here the other shoulder was added to it, as a special token of thankfulness from the Nazarites for God's singular favours vouchsafed unto them.

The hands — That he may give them to the priest, as his peculiar gift.

Verse 20

[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.

May drink wine — And return to his former manner of living.

Verse 21

[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.

That his hand shall get — Besides what he shall voluntarily give according to his ability.

Verse 23

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

On this wise — Heb. Thus, or in these words: yet they were not tied to these very words; because after this we have examples of Moses and David and Solomon, blessing the people in other words.

Verse 24

[24] The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

Bless thee — Bestow upon you all manner of blessings, temporal and spiritual.

Keep thee — That is, continue his blessings to thee, and preserve thee in and to the use of them; keep thee from sin and its bitter effects.

Verse 25

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

Shine upon thee — Alluding to the shining of the sun upon the earth, to enlighten, and warm, and renew the face of it. The Lord love thee, and make thee know that he loves thee. We cannot but be happy, if we have God's love; and we cannot but be easy, if we know that we have it.

Verse 26

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

Lift up his countenance — That is, look upon thee with a chearful and pleasant countenance, as one that is well pleased with thee and thy services.

Peace — Peace with God, with thy own conscience, and with all men; all prosperity is comprehended under this word.

Verse 27

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

Put my name — Shall call them by my name, shall recommend them to me as my own people, and bless them and pray unto me for them as such; which is a powerful argument to prevail with God for them.