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These set of verses record a ritual for ending a person's Nazirite vow:

13 ‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 14 And he shall present his offering to the Lord: one male lamb in its first year without blemish as a burnt offering, one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish as a sin offering, one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings.

16 ‘Then the priest shall bring them before the Lord and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering; 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall also offer its grain offering and its drink offering. 18 Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.

19 ‘And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated hair, 20 and the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the Lord; they are holy for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering. After that the Nazirite may drink wine.’

21 “This is the law of the Nazirite who vows to the Lord the offering for his separation, and besides that, whatever else his hand is able to provide; according to the vow which he takes, so he must do according to the law of his separation.”

Why did the end of such a vow require a detailed ceremony involving multiple offerings aside from the cutting of the hair, which represented the actual end since Nazirites couldn't cut their hair per Numbers 6:5?

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Why were there offerings at the end of the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6:13-21?

The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament gives some insight into why this happened at the end:

The directions as to the release from consecration are called "the law of the Nazarite" (Numbers 6:13), because the idea of the Nazarite's vows culminated in the sacrificial festival which terminated the consecration, and it was in this that it attained to its fullest manifestation.

As humans, we tend to celebrate after an accomplishment.

  • A retirement party is done after long employment with a company
  • A wedding reception is after the wedding ceremony itself
  • The Festival of Booths (or Tabernacles, Ingathering) marked the end of the agricultural year for Israel
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  • Wonderful explanation, agarza. Thank you for bringing that to light. Keil's and Delitzsch's commentary makes so much sense.
    – Philip
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 1:13

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