Under the ancient Hebrew law, a man or woman engaged by a vow to abstain from wine and all intoxicating liquors, and from the fruit of the vine in any form; to let the hair grow; not to enter any house polluted by having a dead body in it, nor to be present at any funeral. If by accident any one died in their presence, they recommenced the whole of their consecration and Nazariteship. This vow generally lasted eight days, sometimes only a month, and sometimes during their whole lives. When the time of Nazariteship expired, the person brought a umber of sacrifices and offerings to the temple; the priest then cut off his hair and burnt it; after which he was free from his vow, Numbers 6:1-27 Amos 2:11,12.
Perpetual Nazarites were consecrated as such by their parents from their birth, as was proposed by the mother of Samuel, 1 Samuel 1:11, and continued all their lives in this state, neither drinking wine, nor cutting their hair. Such were Samson and John the Baptist, Judges 13:4,5 Luke 1:15 7:33.
As the cost of the offerings required at the expiration of the term of Nazariteship was very considerable for the poor, they were often relieved by persons not Nazarites, who assumed these charges for them for the sake of performing an act of piety and charity. Paul availed himself of this custom to disarm the jealousy of those who represented him as hostile to the faith of their fathers. He took four Christian Jews whose vow of Nazariteship was accomplished, assumed the expense of their offerings, and with them went through the customary services and purification’s at the temple, Acts 21:20-26. There is also in Acts 18:18 an unexplained allusion to some similar vow made by Paul himself, or perhaps by Aquila, probably in view of some danger escaped or some blessing received.