Purity Testing & The Nazarite Vow
It sure seems hard to find anything or anyone that is truly pure anymore. Even when you find shows that are “pure” for the most part, you must endure commercials that are not. It’s like trying to find pure seeds that have not been affected by the farm next door that is growing genetically modified crops. Everything around us seems to be seeking to bring us out of a state of purity and into a state of chaos.
In today’s reading from Numbers 5:11 through Numbers 6:27 (the end of the chapter), we have a long reading with God telling Moses how to have the priests deal with matters of impurity. I chose the image of the lab above because it reminded me of what the office of the high priest might look like today if God still wanted purity testing done. It’s a pretty detailed process that God lays out, but it’s interesting to read about.
If a man becomes jealous of his wife because he thinks she cheated on him, he is to bring her to the high priest for a test of her purity. The husband comes in with a sacrifice for his own spirit of jealousy, and then the wife meets with the priest who performs a ritual to see if she really has been unfaithful. The ritual involves water, a clay pot, and some dust, and if the woman is found guilty, she receives a curse that her private parts will shrivel and her abdomen will swell. I think that would be enough to keep a woman faithful, don’t you? Read it for yourself if you want to see the details of the ritual.
The next part of the reading concerns men who want to take the Nazarite vow. This is the same vow that Samson took, and it includes not cutting the hair, not drinking any wine or other alcohol, and not ever touching anything dead. Again, it has a lot of details, which is why the reading is so long, but it’s actually quite interesting. It is in my plans to go read it in The Message Bible as well, to see how he deals with it in a more poetic type of writing. But there is a poetic end to the reading that some of you may be aware of. It is called the Aaronic blessing and it goes like this from The Complete Jewish Bible…
24 ‘Y’varekh’kha Adonai v’yishmerekha.
[May Adonai bless you and keep you.]
25 Ya’er Adonai panav eleikha vichunekka.
[May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.]
26 Yissa Adonai panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom.
[May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.]’
And just a quick note before I close tonight: Most of the images we see of The Messiah have Him with long hair because of this Nazarite vow. The confusion comes in the crossover of the words “Nazarite” and “Nazarene.” Yeshua was a Nazarene because He was born in Nazareth, but He did not take the Nazarite vow as evidenced by His touching the young girl to raise her from the dead. So, if you didn’t know this already, you can say you’ve learned something today. And with that, may the blessing above be upon all of my readers and followers, and upon the whole community of those who love Our Almighty Creator, Yahveh. Amen!
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