Laws Concerning Nazirites. 1The LORD said to Moses: 2Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When men or women solemnly take the nazirite* vow to dedicate themselves to the LORD, 3they shall abstain from wine and strong drink;a they may neither drink wine vinegar, other vinegar, or any kind of grape juice, nor eat either fresh or dried grapes. 4As long as they are nazirites they shall not eat anything of the produce of the grapevine; not even the seeds or the skins. 5While they are under the nazirite vow, no razor shall touch their hair.b Until the period of their dedication to the LORD is over, they shall be holy, letting the hair of their heads grow freely. 6As long as they are dedicated to the LORD, they shall not come near a dead person.c 7Not even for their father or mother, sister or brother, should they defile themselves, when these die, since their heads bear their dedication to God. 8As long as they are nazirites they are holy to the LORD.

9If someone dies very suddenly in their presence, defiling their dedicated heads, they shall shave their heads on the day of their purification, that is, on the seventh day. 10On the eighth day they shall bring two turtledoves or two pigeons to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 11The priest shall offer up the one as a purification offering and the other as a burnt offering, thus making atonement for them for the sin they committed with respect to the corpse. On the same day they shall reconsecrate their heads 12and rededicate themselves to the LORD for the period of their dedication, bringing a yearling lamb as a reparation offering. The previous period is not valid, because they defiled their dedicated heads.

13This is the ritual for the nazirites:d When the period of their dedication is complete they shall go to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 14bringing their offerings to the LORD, one unblemished yearling lamb for a burnt offering, one unblemished yearling ewe lamb for a purification offering, one unblemished ram as a communion offering, 15and a basket of unleavened cakes of bran flour mixed with oil and of unleavened wafers spread with oil, along with their grain offerings and libations. 16The priest shall present them before the LORD, and shall offer up the purification offering and the burnt offering for them. 17He shall then offer up the ram as a communion sacrifice to the LORD, along with the basket of unleavened cakes, and the priest will offer the grain offering and libation. 18Then at the entrance of the tent of meeting the nazirite shall shave his or her dedicated head, take the hair of the dedicated head, and put it in the fire under the communion sacrifice. 19After the nazirite has shaved off the dedicated hair, the priest shall take a boiled shoulder of the ram, as well as one unleavened cake from the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them in the hands of the nazirite. 20The priest shall then elevate them as an elevated offering before the LORD. They are an offering belonging to the priest, along with the brisket of the elevated offering and the leg of the contribution. Only after this may the nazirite drink wine.

21This, then, is the law for the nazirites, that is, what they vow as their offering to the LORD in accord with their dedication, apart from anything else which their means may allow. In keeping with the vow they take so shall they do, according to the law of their dedication.

The Priestly Blessing. 22The LORD said to Moses: 23Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24The LORD bless you and keep you!

25The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!

26The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!*

27So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.

* [6:221] Nazirite: from the Hebrew word nazir, meaning “set apart as sacred, dedicated, vowed.” The nazirite vow could be either for a limited period or for life. Those bound by this vow had to abstain from all the products of the grapevine, from cutting or shaving their hair, and from contact with a corpse. They were regarded as men and women of God like the prophets; cf. Am 2:1112. Examples of lifelong nazirites were Samson (Jgs 13:45, 7; 16:17), Samuel (1 Sm 1:11), and John the Baptist (Lk 1:15). At the time of Jesus the practice of taking the nazirite vow for a limited period seems to have been quite common, even among the early Christians; cf. Acts 18:18; 21:2324, 26.

* [6:26] Peace: the Hebrew word Shalom includes the idea of happiness, good health, prosperity, friendship, and general well-being. To use this term as a greeting was to pray for all these things upon the one greeted.

a. [6:34] Jgs 13:7, 14.

b. [6:5] Jgs 13:5; 16:17; 1 Sm 1:11.

c. [6:6] Nm 19:11, 16; Lv 21:11.

d. [6:13] Acts 21:24, 26.

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