Monday, April 20, 2009

A Nazirite From Birth

Yesterday, we began studying Samson in the 1st grade Sunday school class. The lesson was quite a breeze, as we only had one student, who also happens to be somewhat of our star pupil (don't tell the other students' parents I said that).

We chose to focus on the Nazirite aspect of Samson's birth. When Harmony and I read the account of Samson's parents' dealings with the angel foretelling Samson's birth/life, I initially thought that the angel told Samson's mother Zorah to take a Nazirite vow as well, since he told her to avoid unclean foods, fermented drinks, and anything from the grapevine. However, the Nazirite vow also dictates that the Nazirite must not his/her hair and also avoid corpses and graves. So was she told to do part of a Nazirite vow?

Sort of. Take note of the Judges 13:7:

7"But he said to me, 'Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'"

In fact, the angel only told Zorah to abstain from actions that would directly affect Samson in the womb. So anything related to consumption was something that she had to follow, because Samson would be affected by whatever his mother ate. Conversely, if his mother were to touch a corpse or cut her hair, Samson would not be partaking in those actions.


At this point in the post, I was going to vent about how inaccurate most pictures of Samson were, what with the short hair and European features. But upon closer examination of the conditions of the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6 might provide some enlightenment:

9'But if a man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his dedicated head of hair, then he shall shave his head on the day when he becomes clean; he shall shave it on the seventh day.

It is possible that Samson, having killed quite a few people in his lifetime, is depicted in artwork in his post-shaved state. Perhaps because these slayings were of Philistines, he did not lose his great strength, even after possibly having to shave his head. Who knows.

This post has the label "Christianity," which is not entirely accurate. It should be "Judaism," but this label would likely only have one or two posts for a very very long time.

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