"One separated." One of either sex who was bound by a vow of a peculiar kind to be set apart from others for the service of God. The obligation was either for life or for a defined time. There is no notice in the Pentateuch of Nazirites for life; but the regulations for the vow of a Nazirite of days are given Num. 6:1-21.

The Nazirite, during the term of his consecration, was bound to abstain from wine, grapes, with every production of the vine, and from every kind of intoxicating drink. He was forbidden to cut the hair of his head, or to approach any dead body, even that of his nearest relation.

When the period of his vow was fulfilled, he was brought to the door of the tabernacle, and was required to offer a he lamb for a burnt offering, a ewe lamb for a sin offering, and a ram for a peace offering, with the usual accompaniments of peace offerings,1 and of the offering made at the consecration of priests.2 He brought also a meat offering and a drink offering, which appear to have been presented by themselves as a distinct act of service.3 He was to cut off the hair of "the head of his separation" (that is, the hair which had grown during the period of his consecration) at the door of the tabernacle, and to put it into the fire under the sacrifice on the altar.

Of the Nazarites for life three are mentioned in the Scriptures — Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. The only one of these actually called a Nazarite is Samson. We do not know whether the vow for life was ever voluntarily taken by the individual. In all the cases mentioned, it was made by the parents before the birth of the Nazarite himself. The consecration of the Nazarite bore a resemblance to that of the high priest.4



  1. Lev. 7:12, 13.
  2. Ex. 29:2; Num. 6:15.
  3. Num. 6:17.
  4. Lev. 21:10-12.


  • Smith, William. (2004). Smith's Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

This article incorporates text from Smith's Bible Dictionary (1863) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.