New International Reader's Version

Numbers 6

Becoming a Nazirite

1The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘Suppose a man or woman wants to make a special promise. They want to set themselves apart to the Lord for a certain period of time. They want to be Nazirites. Then they must not drink any kind of wine. They must not drink vinegar made out of wine of any kind. They must not drink grape juice. They must not eat grapes or raisins. As long as they are Nazirites, they must not eat anything grapevines produce. They must not even eat the seeds or skins of grapes.

“ ‘They must not use razors on their heads. They must not cut their hair during the whole time they have set themselves apart to the Lord. They must be holy until that time is over. They must let the hair on their heads grow long.

“ ‘And they must not go near a dead body during that whole time. But what if their father or mother dies? Or what if their brother or sister dies? Then they must not make themselves “unclean” because of them. The hair on their heads shows they are set apart for God. During the whole time they are set apart they are holy to the Lord.

“ ‘Suppose someone dies suddenly in front of them. That makes the hair they have set apart to the Lord “unclean.” So they must shave their heads on the day they will be made “clean.” That is the seventh day. 10 Then on the eighth day they must bring two doves. Or they can bring two young pigeons. They must bring them to the priest. He will be at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 11 The priest must offer one of the birds as a sin offering. And he must offer the other as a burnt offering. The sacrifices will pay for the sin of the Nazirite man or woman. They sinned by being near a dead body. That same day they must make their heads holy again. 12 They must set themselves apart to the Lord again. They must do it for the same period of time they had agreed to at first. And they must bring a male lamb a year old as a guilt offering. The days before that do not count. That is because they became “unclean” during the time they were set apart.

13 “ ‘The time when the Nazirites are set apart will come to an end. Here is the law that applies to them at that time. They must be brought to the entrance to the tent of meeting. 14 There they must present their offerings to the Lord. They must bring a male lamb a year old. It must not have any flaws. It is for a burnt offering. Then they must bring a female lamb a year old. It must not have any flaws. It is for a sin offering. And they must bring a ram that does not have any flaws. It is for a friendship offering. 15 They must sacrifice the offerings together with their grain offerings and drink offerings. And they must also bring a basket of bread made with the finest flour. The bread must be made without yeast. The offering must include thick loaves with olive oil mixed in. And it must also include thin loaves brushed with olive oil.

16 “ ‘The priest must bring all these things to the Lord. He must sacrifice the sin offering and the burnt offering. 17 He must bring the basket of bread made without yeast. And he must sacrifice the ram. It will be a friendship offering to the Lord. The priest must bring it together with its grain offering and drink offering.

18 “ ‘Then the Nazirites must shave off the hair that shows they have set themselves apart to the Lord. They must do it at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And they must put the hair in the fire that burns the sacrifice of the friendship offering.

19 “ ‘After the Nazirites have shaved off their hair, the priest must take a boiled shoulder of the ram. He must remove one thick loaf and one thin loaf from the basket. They must be made without yeast. And he must place the shoulder and the bread in the hands of the Nazirites. 20 Then he must lift up the shoulder and bread and wave them in front of the Lord. They are a wave offering. They are holy and belong to the priest. Other parts of the ram belong to the priest as well. They are the breast that was waved and the thigh that was offered. After the offering is waved, the Nazirites may drink wine.

21 “ ‘This is the law of the Nazirites. They promise to sacrifice offerings to the Lord. They do it when they set themselves apart. And they should bring anything else they can afford. They must fulfill the promises they have made. They must do so according to the law of the Nazirites.’ ”

How the Priests Bless the People

22 The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘Here is how I want you to bless the Israelites. Say to them,

24 “ ‘ “May the Lord bless you
    and take good care of you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord look on you with favor
    and give you peace.” ’

27 “In that way they will put the blessing of my name on the Israelites. And I will bless them.”