A Nazarite was a man or woman who made a particular kind of vow permitted under the Law of Moses. The vow was to separate themselves to be holy unto God for a period of time of their own choosing. The spiritual significance of the restrictions is not explained and must therefore be a matter of opinion.
The explanation of a Nazarite vow is given Numbers 6
Numbers 6:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:
They were to abstain from anything made from grapes.
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. 4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
They were not to cut their hair
5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
They were not to come into contact with any dead body or display outward signs of mourning.
6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. 7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.
They were to be holy for the term of the vow.
8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.
Defilement within the term of the vow would require ceremonial cleansing and atonement and the vow would have to begin again from the beginning.
9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. 10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day. 12 And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.
Successful completion of the vow was followed by specific ceremonial procedures.
13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
They were to bring a male lamb for a burnt offering, a female lamb for a sin offering, a meal offering of unleavened bread (cakes and wafers) and the relevant meal and drink offerings to accompany the animal sacrifices.
14 And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings, 15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.
The priest was to offer them in a specified order.
16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: 17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.
The Nazarite was to shave his or her head and burn the hair under the peace offerings.
18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.
The boiled shoulder of the ram with an unleavened cake and wafer was a wave offering (to be eaten by the officiating priest in the holy place). After this the Nazarite could again drink wine.
19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: 20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.
The Nazarite could offer additional peace offerings for shared consumption at this point.
21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.
There is no recorded instance of anyone making a Nazarite vow.
Samson was a Nazarite from the womb on the instruction of the angel.
Judges 13:5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
Judges 13:7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.
Judges 16:17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
The term Nazarite does not appear anywhere else in scripture.
Nazarite is to be distinguished from a Nazarene – name applied to Jesus because he came from Nazareth.
Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Nazareth is generally associated with the Hebrew ‘netser’ which means branch.
Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch (‘netser’) shall grow out of his roots:
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,