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LIFE > Life in the World > Drinkers of Wine >  Nation of Israel > The Nazirites


Individuals devoted to God and taking certain vows for a specific period or for a lifetime were called Nazirites. They were not to drink vinegar made from either wine (yayin) or strong drink (shekar), nor grape juice, and neither eat fresh grapes or raisins while under their vow (Num. 6:1-3). For this reason neither Samson, as a Nazirite, nor his mother, while carrying him, were to drink “wine (yayin) or strong drink (shekar)” (Jud. 13:4, 7, 14).

When the Nazirite fulfilled his vow and his separation was complete he was to bring a burnt offering, sin offering, peace offering, bread, cakes of fine flour, unleavened wafers, and grain offering, “with their drink offerings” to the Lord. He was to shave his head, and the priest was to wave parts of his offerings before the Lord—“after that the Nazirite may drink wine (yayin)” (Num. 6:15-20).

Wine was prohibited only during the time an individual was a Nazirite. When his period of devotion was completed he could drink wine as the rest of the nation was doing.

Let us praise God with this symbol of joy and thank Him for the blessings of the past week, for life and strength, for home and love and friendship, for the discipline of our trials and temptations, for the happiness that has come to us out of our labors . . . Praised be thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine (Jewish Prayer).

Wine and music delight the heart,
but the love of wisdom is better than both of them.
Ecclesiasticus 40:20

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