What is a Nazarite?
In Numbers 5-6, Moses is given directives about some who should be separated from the camp because they are defiled, and some who could be separated because they want to be dedicated to the Lord. One group—the defiled—is separated physically, the other—the Nazarite—is separated spiritually. Though most Christians are aware that there was such a thing as a Nazarite vow, few know any details.
When Jacob speaks a word of prophetic blessing on his children in Genesis 49, he says this about Joseph, “The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers” (Genesis 49:26). The interesting phrase is “on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.” You may know that one of the unique characteristics of someone under a Nazarite vow was that he did not cut his hair. Of more interest, is that “distinguished” is the Hebrew word nazir. Someone who was nazir was, of course, a nazir-ite. So, a Nazirite was literally one who was “distinguished.”
The word has another meaning into which it is often translated, and the meaning gives further understanding of the Nazirite. Leviticus 25:5 speaks of the Sabbatical year in which the land was to lay in rest, and says, “‘Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.” Here, the word nazir is translated untrimmed. With the untrimmed hair and the distinguished service of the Nazirite, both meanings of the word are fulfilled in the Nazarite vow. In fact, Jacob prays that the blessings of his ancestors would be “on the crown of the head of the one untrimmed/distinguished among his brothers.”
While you may not be a Nazirite, are you distinguished among your brothers?
In His Grace;
Dr. Randy White
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