The Nazarite vow, as described in the Old Testament Law, is for a specific, although undefined, time and upon completion of the vow, one's hair is cut and burned on the altar in the temple at Jerusalem. A possible example of this vow is found in the New Testament, when a group of men take a vow to not eat or drink until Saint Paul has been killed. We will not comment on the morality pr validity of such a vow, however we cannot but wonder, as Saint Paul survived their machinations, how many, if any, died as a result of starvation. Since the Nazarite vow is not to be entered into lightly, we suppose that all the men did, in fact, die of starvation.
As related in the New Testament, Saint Paul, himself, took the Nazarite vow and, in the fullness of time, burnt his shorn hair on the altar in Jerusalem.
Certain men, most notably Saint James, were certainly life-long Nazarenes. It is possible that John the Baptist was also a Nazarene, although we admit there is little evidence for this supposition. There is a significant amount of scholarly speculation promoting the belief that Jesus was a Nazarene and we have few reservations about accepting this opinion. Firstly, if Jesus were a Nazarene, then this fact would not contradict any ancient Church traditions concerning Jesus and, secondly, there is no indications either in the gospels or tradition suggesting that Jesus was not a Nazarene. As always, the Gentle Reader will reach his own conclusion.
The Nazarite vow had a singular the purpose, or goal, that when accomplished, released the man from further observations of specific prohibitions. Of course, in the example of a life-long Nazarene, these observations were perpetual.
In the Jewish community, followers of the Nazarite vow would be physically distinct from men who were not under the vow. Similar to monks and priests in ancient times, men under the vow would be understood as being separate from mankind, that is, they would be in the world, but not of the world, and, perhaps in pious minds, holier than most people. Of the entire cast of characters in the New Testament, three men make long lasting impressions on the reader. No doubt, these impressions are the result of their unrelenting zeal. The three zealous men are Saint John the Baptist, Jesus and Saint Paul.
We are neither Biblical scholars nor do we profess any extraordinary learning insofar as the specifics of how the Nazarite vow is to be observed. In fact, the totality of our knowledge is limited entirely to Biblical passages that we read in our youth. Of course, our recall may not be complete and our resulting conclusions may be susceptible to error, possibly gave error.
However, even the casual researcher should notice that the Roman Catholic church and Jewish religion are both reliant upon legalism. Should the Gentle Reader have any doubts regarding this conclusion, the Talmud, both versions, and the code of canon law should be perused.
We are curious about one specific aspect of the Nazarite vow. Saint Paul relates a list of many unfortunate incidents, such as beatings and stonings. In fact, once he was thought to be dead and was subsequently carried outside the city walls. Upon hearing the good news of Saint Paul's demise, the previously mentioned conspirators would be released from their vow, that is, they could freely eat and drink. Later, these same conspirators would learn that Saint Paul was, in fact, alive. We wonder if they would be free from their former vow, as they would have eaten upon being misinformed regarding Saint Paul's death, or if they would need to rededicate themselves to the lofty goal of eradicating Saint Paul.
We assume that had Saint Paul died (although not through any actions of the conspirators) and the goal of the vow had been met (the death of Saint Paul), although not by the proposed method (murder by the conspirators), that the conspirators would be under no further obligations.
Our speculation leads us to another possible scenario outside the confines of the New Testament. If an explicit goal was not met, but a better, or higher, goal was achieved, and this more exalted achievement encompasses the lesser goal, would this higher achievement, although not sought after, be considered a fulfillment, and release the person from any further obligations?
Having recourse to nothing but our limited reasoning, we must conclude that if the Lord Of Eternity bestows more than what was sought, then one is morally obligated to acknowledge this gift and respond according.
Natural law allows for individuals to enter into contracts. If the human party agrees to perform or behave in a specific manner in exchange for a specific benefit, and the Divine party exceeds his requirement, then, in accordance with contract law, the two obligations of the contact have been met. In the context of the Nazarene vow, this acknowledgment of the assistance from the Lord Of Life must result in an offering from the human party.
We hope our expanded explanation is helpful to potential Apprentice Brayden and to the Gentle Researcher.
Exaudi orationem meam, Te decet hymnus, et tibi reddetur votum.