Tag Archives: Numbers 5-6

February 14, 2018 Bible Study — Rituals and Vows

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Numbers 5-6.

    There are two interesting rituals in today’s passage. The first discusses what a husband should do if he thinks his wife is unfaithful, but has no proof. This ritual bothers me because it places a burden on a wife to prove her faithfulness to a jealous husband but no similar burden is placed upon a husband of a jealous wife. However, that is a result of a culture that was very different from ours today. While I am about to make a partial defense of this ritual that does not mean that I think we should practice it today. This ritual eliminates a husband being able to excuse his abuse of his wife on the basis of claiming it was because she cheated on him. If he thinks his wife has cheated on him this passage gives him the only course of action open to him; take his wife to the priest and make an offering for God to pass judgment. The other aspect of this is that I firmly believe that God has the power and will to make it so that a woman who was guilty of no sin would suffer no consequence from undergoing this ritual.

    The second interesting ritual in today’s passage is the vow of a Nazirite. The passage does not make it clear why someone would take a vow of a Nazirite. Part of the reason would be to declare oneself dedicated to service to God. However, every time I read this passage it seems to me that there is more to such a vow than that. It seems to me that one would take a vow of a Nazirite as a way to emphasize the seriousness to which one held some ministry or activity that one was going to do in service to the Lord. As an example of what I mean by this: one might take a vow to read through the Bible in a certain amount of time (say a year). To add a bit more dedication and focus to that vow, one might make it as a vow of a Nazirite and follow the rules laid out in this passage. The vow of a Nazirite contains a private and a public element. On the private side, one would avoid wine and all of the products of the grape vine. The discipline of doing this would help the individual to focus on God. On the private side, one would not cut one’s hair for the duration of the vow. This would signal to those around them that they were dedicating themselves to serving God.

February 14, 2017 Bible Study — The Vow of the Nazirite

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Numbers 5-6.

    Every time I read about the vow of the Nazirite I wonder why one would take such a vow. It is not that it is such a hard vow to keep, or even all that demanding. I just struggle to see what goals would be furthered by taking it. Having said that I started thinking about the types of things for which it might be helpful. It would be a helpful reminder for pledges to accomplish a task that requires a minimal amount of effort sporadically applied, such as setting aside a certain amount of money over time, or paying a certain number of visits to shut-ins. It would also be useful as a reminder to oneself about a vow to take advantage of a certain type of opportunity the next time one occurred. Basically, the vow of the Nazirite serves as a discipline to remind one to practice some other discipline, or intermittent activity. There is one other purpose for the vow of the Nazirite, one that can be both good and bad, it reminds those around you that you have made a promise to do something in the service of God. The good part is that it may inspire those around you to encourage you in what you have promised. The bad side is that some people would use it to show others how much “holier” they are than most. The latter is a form of self-righteousness which is the opposite of holy.

February 14, 2016 Bible Study –Taking a Vow of Dedication to God

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading. I had been using One Year Bible Online, but it was time for a change.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on Numbers 5-6.

    The description of the trial a woman must go through if her husband believed her to be unfaithful bothers me. However, there are two things it is important to remember here. Many of the surrounding cultures (and even many cultures in the world today) would have found it perfectly acceptable for the husband to torture or kill his wife out of his jealousy, with no more evidence than his suspicion. Second, those who condemn this as barbaric and arbitrary are dismissing the power of God. It is well within God’s power to cause only those women who had been unfaithful to suffer the possible negative effects of this drink. That being said, I am happy that we do not practice this.

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    I find the description of the ritual to be taken by anyone taking the vow of the Nazirite fascinating. It occurred to me that this vow was something which predated this ritual and this ritual was a formalization of what the vow was. I am unsure what the vow of the Nazirite is. From the context, I am going to attempt to figure out as much about it as I can. One taking the vow of the Nazirite was dedicating themselves to carry out some task which they felt furthered God’s will in this world. I believe that one could also take the vow to request God’s assistance to carry out some task which one was then dedicating to increase the glory of God. There are several stories later in the Bible of God instructing a woman to commit her son to a Nazirite vow from the time of his conception (Sampson and Samuel come to mind). One of the key factors in the vow of the Nazirite is dedicating oneself to maintaining both the appearance and truth of holiness.