This chapter deals with the vows of the Nazarites. Jesus was not a Nazarite. He was a Nazarene, which means He was from the town of Nazareth, but there are several examples of Nazarites in the Bible, some of whom kept their vows and some who broke them.
Samson is the prime example of a Nazarite who broke his vow. Actually, he broke it several times and in every way that God mentioned.
Samuel and John the Baptist are examples of men who kept their vows. They were separated for God's use prior to their births which means they did not voluntarily make the vows but voluntarily kept them!
Paul mentioned in Acts 18:18 that his coworker Aquila had shaved his head because he had completed a vow. This could possibly have been a voluntary Nazarite separation that he had recently fulfilled.
Does God make any promises in this chapter?
- God promised to bless the Hebrews if they willingly took His name kept His commandments.
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- Sometimes people think that Jesus was a Nazarite, but this is not so even though the Nazarite vow pictured Christ who was separated for God's service. The grape and its vine were to be avoided (respected) by the Nazarite, perhaps because it pictures Jesus. Jesus said that He was the vine and that we, as Christians, are the branches. Paul tells the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:17 that Christians are to keep themselves from unclean things which means that we are sanctified in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- At the end of the Nazarite's time of separation, sacrifices were to be offered for the Nazarite. Since the sacrifices are all pictures of Christ, Jesus' sacrifice was the culmination of a Christian's attempt to live a life separated from worldly things.
- God promised blessings on the Hebrews who put His name upon them and kept His commandments. Jesus is the fulfillment of this. We take His name on us (that's why we're called Christians!) and Jesus Himself said that we would only be His disciples if we kept His commandments. It is through Jesus that we are blessed and will be blessed.
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- If the Nazarite vow of separation pictures the Christian life (and Paul seems to say that it does), then the sacrifices of burnt offering, sin offering, peace offerings, and wave offering have been offered for us to show that we (through Christ) have fulfilled the vow when our life on earth has ended.
- The blessings of God that were promised to His people are everlasting. They are extended to the followers of Jesus Christ, the people who can be identified as those who keep His commandments. Many of the blessings are yet to be realized!
Does God issue any commands?
- God gave instructions for those who were called to separate themselves or who voluntarily did so as Nazarites. They were not to drink or eat anything produced from grapes or grapevines. He or she was not to cut his hair while the time of the vow or touch any dead body. When the vow was completed or somehow broken the man was to shave his head on the seventh day of cleansing. On the eighth day he was to bring pigeons to the tabernacle for the sin offering and the burnt offering and a lamb for the trespass offering because the vow was not completed.
- The Nazarite that had kept his vow throughout the agreed upon time of separation was to offer a lamb for a burnt offering, a ewe for a sin offering, a ram for peace offerings, and unleavened bread, cakes of flour and oil, wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and the meat and drink offering. Then he would shave his head at the door of the tabernacle and put his hair into the fire under the peace offering sacrifice.
- God gave Moses words to say as a blessing to the Children of Israel, "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."