Numbers 6:3
He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
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(3) He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink . . . —The law of the Nazirite in this respect, as in regard to defilement from the dead, was more strict than that which was enjoined upon the priests, thus typifying the entire surrender of the heart and life to God, and freedom from the distraction of earthly ties. The ideal of this separation, however, was not that of a life of monastic seclusion, but of action, and of uninterrupted devotion to the Divine service. The priests were forbidden to drink wine, or strong drink, when they entered the tabernacle to perform service there, but were not prohibited the use of wine at other times. Strong drink (shecar) is supposed to have been made of barley and dates or honey. The prohibition to eat any of the produce of the vine, even of that which was not intoxicating, seems designed to denote the entire consecration of the Nazirite to the Divine service, and the obligation which rested upon him to abstain from all the desires and delights of the flesh. The love of cakes made of raisins is coupled in Hosea 3:1 with idolatry.

Numbers 6:3. Separate himself from wine — The first is, that every person so devoted should, during the whole time of his vow, taste no wine, nor any thing that had wine in it, nor any inflammatory liquors, which are incitements to lust; that so, by perfect temperance, his mind might be in a fit disposition for every part of the service of God. Vinegar — The word חמצ, chamets, thus rendered, properly means fermentation, and the clause might have been rendered, shall drink no fermentation of wine. Strong drink — Liquor made of dates or other fruit. See Leviticus 10:9. Nor eat grapes — Which he was forbidden to do for greater caution, to keep him at the farther distance from wine.6:1-21 The word Nazarite signifies separation. Some were appointed of God, before their birth, to be Nazarites all their days, as Samson and John the Baptist. But, in general, it was a vow of separation from the world and devotedness to the services of religion, for a limited time, and under certain rules, which any person might make if they pleased. A Nazarite is spoken of as well known; but his obligation is brought to a greater certainty than before. That the fancies of superstitious men might not multiply the restraints endlessly, God gives them rules. They must not drink wine or strong drink, nor eat grapes. Those who separate themselves to God, must not gratify the desires of the body, but keep it under. Let all Christians be very moderate in the use of wine and strong drink; for if the love of these once gets the mastery of a man, he becomes an easy prey to Satan. The Nazarites were to eat nothing that came of the vine; this may teach the utmost care to avoid sin, and all that borders upon it, and leads to it, or may be a temptation to us. They must not cut their hair. They must neither poll their heads, nor shave their beards; this was the mark of Samson being a Nazarite. This signified neglect of the body, and of the ease and ornament of it. Those who separate themselves to God, must keep their consciences pure from dead works, and not touch unclean things. All the days of their separation they must be holy to the Lord. This was the meaning of those outward observances, and without this they were of no account. No penalty or sacrifice was appointed for those who wilfully broke their vow of being Nazarites; they must answer another day for such profane trifling with the Lord their God; but those were to be relieved who did not sin wilfully. There is nothing in Scripture that bears the least resemblance to the religious orders of the church of Rome, except these Nazarites. But mark the difference, or rather how completely opposed! The religious of that church are forbidden to marry; but no such restriction is laid upon the Nazarites. They are commanded to abstain from meats; but the Nazarites might eat any food allowed other Israelites. They are not generally forbidden wine, not even on their fasting days; but the Nazarites might not have wine at any time. Their vow is lasting, even to the end of their lives; the Nazarites' vow was only for a limited time, at their own will; and in certain cases not unless allowed by husbands or parents. Such a thorough difference there is between rules of man's invention and those directed in Scripture, Let us not forget that the Lord Jesus is not only our Surety, but also our example. For his sake we must renounce worldly pleasures, abstain from fleshy lusts, be separate from sinners, make open profession of our faith, moderate natural affections, be spiritually-minded, and devoted to God's service, and desirous to be an example all around us.Liquor of grapes - i. e. a drink made of grape-skins macerated in water.2-8. When either man or woman … shall vow a vow of a Nazarite—that is, "a separated one," from a Hebrew word, "to separate." It was used to designate a class of persons who, under the impulse of extraordinary piety and with a view to higher degrees of religious improvement, voluntarily renounced the occupations and pleasures of the world to dedicate themselves unreservedly to the divine service. The vow might be taken by either sex, provided they had the disposal of themselves (Nu 30:4), and for a limited period—usually a month or a lifetime (Jud 13:5; 16:17). We do not know, perhaps, the whole extent of abstinence they practised. But they separated themselves from three things in particular—namely, from wine, and all the varieties of vinous produce; from the application of a razor to their head, allowing their hair to grow; and from pollution by a dead body. The reasons of the self-restrictions are obvious. The use of wine tended to inflame the passions, intoxicate the brain, and create a taste for luxurious indulgence. The cutting off the hair being a recognized sign of uncleanness (Le 14:8, 9), its unpolled luxuriance was a symbol of the purity he professed. Besides, its extraordinary length kept him in constant remembrance of his vow, as well as stimulated others to imitate his pious example. Moreover, contact with a dead body, disqualifying for the divine service, the Nazarite carefully avoided such a cause of unfitness, and, like the high priest, did not assist at the funeral rites of his nearest relatives, preferring his duty to God to the indulgence of his strongest natural affections. Lest they should either inflame or dispose him to luxury, and consequently to the breaking of his vow; or cloud his reason, and thereby occasion some mistake or miscarriage in the rules to which he had bound himself. Compare Leviticus 10:9.

Nor eat moist grapes, or dried; which was forbidden him for greater caution to keep him at the further distance from wine. He shall separate himself from wine,.... Old or new, as Ben Gersom; from drinking it, any of it: not only from an immoderate and excessive drinking of it, which every man should abstain from, but from drinking of it at all, that he might be more free and fit for the service of God; for prayer, meditation, reading the Scriptures, and attendance on the worship of God in all its branches, and be less liable to temptations to sin; for, as Aben Ezra observes, many transgressions are occasioned by wine, which, if drank immoderately, intoxicates the mind, and unfits for religious duties, excites lust, and leads on to many vices:

and strong drink; any other intoxicating and inebriating liquor besides wine, or any other sort of wines besides such that is made of the fruit of the vine, as wines of pomegranates, dates, &c. or such as are made of barley, as our ale, or of apples and pears, called cider and perry, respectively:

and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink; all the three Targums paraphrase it, vinegar of new wine, and vinegar of old wine, these operating in like manner as wine and strong drink themselves:

neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes; any liquor in which grapes are macerated, as the Targum of Jonathan; or water into which they are squeezed, or which is made of the lees of wine, or is a second sort of wine made of the grapes after they have been pressed, which we call "tiff":

nor eat moist grapes or dried; which have somewhat of the nature and taste of wine, and produce some of the like effects, and may lead to a desire after drinking it; wherefore this, as other things mentioned, are, as Aben Ezra says, a kind of an hedge, to keep at a distance from drinking wine.

He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
3. vinegar] Prepared from wine and other intoxicants which have gone sour.

liquor of grapes] Fresh wine, as distinct from the foregoing.

or dried] Raisins compressed into a cake (’ashîshâh) were a common article of food (2 Samuel 6:19, Hosea 3:1).

3, 4. First regulation. Abstinence from intoxicating liquors and from any produce of the vine, liquid or solid.Verse 3. - Strong drink. Hebrew, shekar; σίκερα (Leviticus 10:9; Luke 1:15). Any intoxicating drink, other than wine including the beer of the Egyptians. Vinegar. Hebrew, chamets. It seems to have been freely used by the poorer people (Ruth 2:14), and was, perhaps, a thin, sour wine ("vile potet acctum," Horat.). Liquor of grapes. A drink made by soaking grape-skins in water. "But if she have not defiled herself, and is clean (from the crime of which she was suspected), she will remain free (from the threatened punishment of God), and will conceive seed," i.e., be blessed with the capacity and power to conceive and bring forth children.
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