Numbers 6:3

Hebrew Bible

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Speak to the Israelites, and tell them, ‘When someone—either a man or a woman—takes a special vow, to take a vow as a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, 3 he must separate himself from wine and strong drink; he must drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from strong drink, nor may he drink any juice of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 All the days of his separation he must not eat anything that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin. 5 “‘All the days of the vow of his separation no razor may be used on his head until the time is fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord. He will be holy, and he must let the locks of hair on his head grow long.

Amos 2:12

Hebrew Bible

10 I brought you up from the land of Egypt; I led you through the wilderness for 40 years so you could take the Amorites’ land as your own. 11 I made some of your sons prophets and some of your young men Nazirites. Is this not true, you Israelites?”The Lord is speaking. 12But you made the Nazirites drink wine; you commanded the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy!’ 13 Look! I will press you down, like a cart loaded down with grain presses down. 14 Fast runners will find no place to hide; strong men will have no strength left; warriors will not be able to save their lives.

 Notes and References

"... Fraade describes the voluntary self-denial of the Nazirite as an example of “the ascetic tension within rabbinic Judaism.” We do not know what originally motivated the probably ancient custom of the perpetual Nazir, who seems to have had a particular revered function in the community, nor of the Nazirite rule, likely instituted later, of abstaining for a short, defined period from two very different acts: drinking wine and cutting one’s hair. These Nazirite abstentions, however, do not seem to have been stimulated by a quest for self-denial or self-inflicted pain. Amos 2:12 compares the Nazirites to the prophets, which indicates their enigmatic essence and function. In the introductory verse in Numbers 6:2 we find the equivocal meaning ..."

Heger, Paul Women in the Bible, Qumran, and Early Rabbinic Literature: Their Status and Roles (pp. 282-283) Brill, 2014

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