In the Hebrew language the word Nazirite is “nazir” and means to separate someone or something from everything else for a special purpose. It was the purpose of the Nazirite’s to be set aside for a special purpose, a giving of themselves to God completely for a season of time.
Nazirites were not priest as a person chose to become a Nazirite. Women as well as men could become Nazirite’s. A person did not have to commit his whole life to be a Nazirite but only for a period of time to be completely devoted to God. His time was not measured in certainty and when that time was finished he had to bring sacrifices to the Tent of Meeting. After that he was free from his purpose as a Nazirite.
For the Israelites to make promises to God was not unusual and it was usually a promise to give or do something for God. There are different reasons that people would chose to become a Nazirite. It could be that they had problems that made them completely dependent upon God. Becoming a Nazirite would show that their dependence was completely upon God. There were special rules that a Nazirite had to obey.
- They were not allowed to eat grapes either whole or dried. They could not drink wine or vinegar and could never become drunk on strong drunk.
- They could not cut their hair. There hair was a symbol of their life in service to God. During their time of complete commitment to God they could not cut their hair.
- They had to avoid dead bodies. When an ordinary Israelite touched a dead body they had to wash in a special way. (Numbers 19) But even if someone died near a Nazirite the Nazirite had to bring expensive offers to the Tent of Meeting. He had to shave of his hair and make his vows to God again.
Nazirites were holy unto God like the priest but they could not enter into God’s Tent. The Nazirites could not offer sacrifices unto God. The Priest wore special cloths but the Nazirites did not. The people would give offerings to the Priest but not to the Nazirites. The Nazirite’s themselves had to give offering to the priest. When their time as a Nazirite was over they had to offer the four main sacrifices to the Lord. (Leviticus chapters 1-4)
The Nazirite’s had to offer:
A Burnt Offering
The offering had to be a perfect animal, without any spots or marks. The person put his hands of the animal to show that the animal represented him. He wanted to show that he had given himself to God completely. This offering showed that the Nazirite’s time of service was now over. The priest burned the whole animal at the altar. The smell of the offering pleased the Lord and showed the act of total sacrifice of the Nazirite.
A Grain Offering
The types of grain offerings were flour, bread, and biscuits. Part of the grain offering was burned at the altar and the rest was a gift to the priest. The grain offering had to be the best that the person could give.
A Peace Offering
This offering was similar to the burnt offering only that the priest burned the animal’s fat only. The Israelites thought that this was the best part of the animal. This is what God had told them to offer at the sacrifice. It was usual for the person who brought the offering to share it with their family. The Priest received some of the meat as well. But for a Nazirite the priest received the shoulder, a loaf of bread and a biscuit. This offering showed that the person was at peace with God and that God had accepted that person.
A Sin Offering
This offering was made so that God would forgive their sins.
This prayer, Aarons Prayer is one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible. It is used today by both the Christians and the Jews. It is a prayer that asks for the blessings of God upon His people. The greatest blessing is to have life with Him always. This blessing includes all that is needed to have that kind of life. All that is needed to help other people is included in the blessing. The blessing asks for God’s strength to do all that He requires of us in our service to Him. It also includes a blessing of His protection from the evil of this world.
We are all deserving of God’s punishment but His mercy endures forever. Because of God’s kindness we can ask Him to forgive us and He will always answer that prayer if we are sincere. (1 John 1:9) Then we will have peace with God, as His Son died to make that possible for us. (John 3:16)