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Numbers 6:9-12

The Nazarite Defiled

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. 10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 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. 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.


While the Nazarite had no duties to perform in the tabernacle such as the Levites and priests had, he was required to keep himself separate and clean from every type of corruption and sin for the duration of his vow. His focus was on his relationship with God. However there was always the chance that he might be accidentally defiled. This passage gives detailed instructions for the Nazarite to follow, if he were to be inadvertently placed in contact with a dead body.

So, if a man died "very suddenly" in the Nazarite's presence and he became unclean because of it. The words "very suddenly" are translated from two similar Hebrew terms. The first is petha` (peh'-thah) meaning, "a wink, i.e. moment ( adverbially, quickly or unexpectedly)." We might say, "in the blink of an eye." The second word is pith'owm (pith-ome'), meaning, "instantly." There is a strong emphasis, therefore, on the suddenness of the death. It had to be unexpectedly quick or the Nazarite would have otherwise knowingly broken his vow.

When this happened, the Nazarite would be unclean for seven days (Numbers 19:14). The head of his consecration was defiled. The long hair that he had allowed to grow as a sign of his Nazarite vow was now invalid, because he had not remained separated from unclean things. The Keil and Delitzch Commentary says that the hair, "...was the diadem of his God (Num 6:7), the ornament of his condition, which was sanctified to God. " His vow was broken, although it was not his fault. Therefore on the seventh day after the death, when he was once again clean, he would have to shave his head.

The following day, he would bring an offering of either two turtle doves or two young pigeons to the door of the tabernacle and give them to the priest. The priest would sacrifice one of thes for a sin offering and the other fo a burnt offering to make an atonement for his sins. On that same day, he was to "hallow his head" again, ie. he was to consecrate himself to God as before and begin to let his hair grow again.

At that point he began to fulfill his vow again by separating himself to God. The days that he had already served were no longer counted, because he had been defiled, so he would have to serve the full term all over again.

A lamb was then brought to the priest to be sacrificed as a trespass offering (See Leviticus 5 for the law of the trespass offering). This also made an atonement for violating his oath and for being too close to a dead body. The Nazarite could then continue his days of separation and fulfill his oath to the Lord.

Christians are separated unto God just like a Nazarite. We are fortunate, however, that we are no longer under the law but under God's grace. The Lamb of God was sacrificed once for all of our sins, past, present and future. We do not need to shave our heads; Christ is our diadem. We do not need to avoid dead bodies, because only that which comes from within us can defile us; but we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within.

Before The Throne:

Praise the Lord for being the Lamb of God who died for your sins. Pray that you might find the faith and the strength to live a life that is consecrated to God. Ask Him to help you bring every thought and imagination under submission to Christ. Pray that other people will see Christ through your consecrated lifestyle.

For Further Study:

(v.9)
** and he. Num 19:14-19; ** shave. Num 6:18; Acts 18:18; Acts 21:23-24; Phil 3:8-9;

(v.10) ** Lev 1:14; Lev 5:7-10; Lev 9:1-21; Lev 12:6; Lev 14:22-23, 31; Lev 15:14, 29; Rom 4:25; John 2:1-2;

(v.11) ** offer. Lev 5:8-10; Lev 14:31;

(v.12) ** a trespass. Lev 5:6; Lev 14:24; ** but the. Ezek 18:24; Matt 3:15; Matt 24:13; John 8:29-31; Jas 2:10; 2John 1:8; * lost. Heb. fall.

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