Berenice, who was fulfilling a Nazarite vow, interposed in vain.
The acts of religion partake of the general simplicity of desert life; apart from the private worship of household gods and the oblations and salutations offered at the graves of departed kinsmen, the ritual observances of the ancient Arabs were visits to the tribal sanctuary to salute the god with a gift of milk, first-fruits or the like, the sacrifice of firstlings and vows (see Nazarite and Passover), and an occasional pilgrimage to discharge a vow at the annual feast and fair of one of the more distant holy places (see MEccA).
Vi., where every product of the grape-vine is forbidden, and the Nazarite is enjoined not to approach a dead body, even that of his nearest relative.
The characteristic marks of a Nazarite were unshorn locks and abstinence from wine (Judges xiii.
Among the later Jews the Nazarite vow, of course, corresponded with the legal ordinance, which was further developed by the scribes in their usual manner (Mishna, tractate Nazir; cf.
But the Nazarite was equally bound to lay aside his holiness before mixing with common folk and returning to ordinary life; this he did by a sacrifice, which, with the offering of his hair upon the altar, freed him from his vow and reduced him to the same level of sanctity as ordinary men.
It contemplates the assumption of the vow for a limited period only, and gives particular details as to the atoning ceremonies at the sanctuary by which the vow must be recommenced if broken by accidental defilement, and the closing sacrifice, at which the Nazarite on the expiry of his vow cuts off his hair and burns it on the altar, thus returning to ordinary life.
Dh-r), it would seem that the peculiar marks of the Nazarite are primarily no more than the usual sign that a man is under a vow of some kind.