Women Long Hair; Men Beards
Ge 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; MALE and FEMALE created he them.
Yahweh created men different then women. I don’t believe it’s necessary to delve into the many differences between the sexes other then to point out men are bigger and stronger on average then women, men grow hair on their faces and many lose it on their heads whereas women don’t, and women are burdened with the physical capabilities of having children and all that entails.
Yahweh, from the beginning, has designed a role for men that is separate from the role He has given women. It is also His intent that the appearance of women is distinguished from that of men.
De 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto Yahweh thy God.
Women and men were created to look in many ways dissimilar and Yahweh did not want them camouflaging what He had sanction.
Some Christian denominations forbid women from cutting their hair without any Biblical instructions to enforce such a decree. On the other end secular society encourages women to cut their hair as short as, or in some cases shorter then men, the exception being women who make a living with their looks (models, actress, etc.) or young women who have yet to settle on a partner. I should add this is a general rule and not every woman falls into these categories.
1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
Paul does not say women are forbidden from cutting their hair only that it is important they have long hair provided for them as a covering. Women can periodically cut their hair if they leave it long enough to be considered as a covering.
How long is long enough? Let’s seek out some clues in the scriptures.
Lu 7:38 [The woman] stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head.
Joh 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Yahshua, and wiped his feet with her hair.
A woman’s hair would be considered long enough if her Saviour should appeared to her she would have no problem wiping his feet with her hair.
1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided (woven, braided) hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.
1Pe 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting (interweaving, braiding) the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
A woman’s hair had to be of considerable length in order to braid it properly. Not that I would recommend doing this but I am only pointing out what length was proper in the apostle’s day.
Re 9:8 And they [locusts] had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
Yahweh has designed men to have short hair and a good portion of them to have nearly no hair at all. Women on the other hand never go bald and are provided with thicker and fuller hair then the average man. Women were created to always have a smooth skinned appearance with no facial hair, whereas men were given hair on their face and commanded not to remove the beard Yahweh gave them. What Yahweh has given us in many cases are women with hair on the top of their heads and none on the bottom and men with hair on the bottom of their heads and none on the top.
We find as we read the Old Testament that the men of Israel wore beards and everyone knows Yahshua did as well. The question we ask today is, does the Torah require men to grow hair on their face?
Lev. 19:26; Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times. 27 Ye shall not round (naqaph) the corners (pe’ah) of your heads, neither shalt thou mar (shachath) the corners of thy beard. 28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am Yahweh.
Lev. 21:5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave (galach) off the corner (pe’ah) of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.
Strong’s #5362 naqaph KJV – compass 7, go round about 3, go about 2, compass about 2, destroy 1, down 1, inclosed 1, kill 1, round 1; total 19. Definition: to strike, strike off, to go around, compass, surround, encompass, enclose, complete the circuit, round off.
6285 pe’ah KJV – side 64, corner 16, quarter 4, end 1, part 1; total 86. Definition: corner, edge, side, quarter, extremity.
7843 shachath KJV – destroy 96, corrupt 22, mar 7, destroyer 3, corrupters 2, waster 2, spoilers 2, battered 1, corruptly 1, misc 11; total 147. Definition: to destroy, corrupt, go to ruin, decay, to be marred, be spoiled, be injured, be rotted, to pervert.
1548 galach KJV – shave 17, shave off 4, poll 2; total 23; to poll, shave, shave off, be bald, to be shaven, to shave oneself.
Pe’ah is translated 64 times as “side” and only 16 times as “corners” (mostly in descriptions about fields or borders). See how pe’ah is translated as “side” in Ex. 26:18, Nu. 35:5, Jos. 18:20 & Ezk. 48:34.
Lev. 19:27 does not say “do not shave your beard,” it uses the Hebrew word shachath translated “mar.” Shachath means to destroy. It’s basically stating “don’t destroy the sides of your beard.” In other words don’t eliminate the hair on the sides of your face and leave the front of your face untouched. Why would this be specifically pointed out, why not just say “don’t shave any of your beard.” Lev. 21:5, speaking to the priests, uses galach, which means shave but this verse also only stipulates the sides. Also take note of the first part of verse 27, it as much as tells us not to shave the sides of our heads completely around which would just leave hair on the top. This we shall explain later.
Look at all four verses. What group of people ate meat with blood, used enchantment, observe times, cut their flesh for the dead and put marks on their bodies? The same people that cut the sides of their beards off and shaved the sides of their heads around.
Notice Lev. 19:27 is among a long list of commandments up to and including Lev. 20:21, and finally Yahweh makes it clear He will not tolerate any of this for His people.
Lev. 20:23 And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. 24d I am Yahweh your God, which have separated you from other people. 26b And ye shall be holy unto me: for I Yahweh am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
Just what did the heathen of this period look like? We get a look at them from several sources.
Adam Clarke’s Commentary
“Herodotus (Greek historian, 484?-425 BC) observes that the Arabs shave or cut their hair round, in honor of Bacchus (God of wine), who, they say, had his hair cut in this way, lib. 3, cap. 8. He says also that the Macians, a people of Libya, cut their hair round, so as to leave a tuft on top of the head, lib. 4, cap. 175. In this manner the Chinese cut their hair to the present day (1830).
If the hair was rounded, and dedicated for purposes of this kind (that is to their gods), it will at once account for the prohibition in this verse. The corners of thy beard.) Probably meaning the hair of the cheek that connects the hair of the head with the beard. From the images and paintings which remain of the ancient Egyptians, we find that they were accustomed to shave the whole hair off their face, except merely that upon the chin” (Clarke’s Commentary Vol. 1, pg. 575).
Revised Easton’ Bible Dictionary articles Beard, Baldness and Hair.
‘Beard’ The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews (Le. 19:27, 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel’s description of the “razor” i.e., the agents of an angry providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews (Ez. 5:1-4). It was a part of a Jew’s daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil and perfume (Ps. 133:2). Beards were trimmed with the most fastidious care (2Sa. 19:24) and their neglect was an indication of deep sorrow (Isa. 15:2, Jer. 41:5). The custom was to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isa. 50:6, Jer. 48:37, Ezr. 9:3). The beards of David’s ambassadors were cut off by Hanun (2Sa. 10:4) as a mark of indignity. On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Ge. 41:14)
‘Baldness’ From natural causes was uncommon (2Ki. 2:23, Isa 3:24). It was included apparently under “scab” and “scurf,” which disqualified for the priesthood (Le. 21:20). The Egyptians were rarely subject to it. This probably arose from their custom of constantly shaving the head, only allowing the hair to grow as a sign of mourning. With the Jews artificial baldness was a sign of mourning (Isa. 22:12, Jer. 7:29, 16:6) it also marked the conclusion of a Nazarite’s vow (Ac. 18:18, 21:24). Nu. 6:9 It is often alluded to Mic. 1:16, Am. 8:10, Jer 47:5. The Jews were forbidden to follow the customs of surrounding nations in making themselves bald (De. 14:1).
‘Hair’ The Egyptians let the hair of their head and beard grow only when they were in mourning, shaving it off at other times. “So particular were they on this point that to have neglected it was a subject of reproach and ridicule; and whenever they intended to convey the idea of a man of low condition, or a slovenly person, the artists represented him with a beard.” Joseph shaved himself before going in to Pharaoh (Ge. 41:14). The women of Egypt wore their hair long and plaited. Wigs were worn by priests and laymen to cover the shaven skull, and false beards were common. The great masses of hair seen in the portraits and statues of kings and priests are thus altogether artificial.
Among the Hebrews the natural distinction between the sexes was preserved by the women wearing long hair (Lu. 7:38, Joh. 11:2, 1Co. 11:6) while the men preserved theirs as a rule at a moderate length by frequent clipping. Baldness disqualified any one for the priest’s office (Le. 21:1). Long hair is especially noticed in the description of Absalom’s person (2Sa. 14:26) but the wearing of long hair was unusual, and was only practiced as an act of religious observance by Nazarites (Nu. 6:5, Jud. 13:5) and others in token of special mercies (Ac. 18:18). In times of affliction the hair was cut off (Isa. 3:17&24, 15:2, 22:12, Jer. 7:29, Am. 8:10). Tearing the hair and letting it go disheveled were also tokens of grief (Ezr. 9:3). “Cutting off the hair” is a figure of the entire destruction of a people (Isa. 7:20).
1994 Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia articles Beard and Hairdressing.
‘Beard’ The early Egyptians, however, usually shaved their beards, except in time of mourning. Among the Jews an unkempt, neglected beard was a sign of grief. After World War I the custom of wearing beards almost disappeared in the Western world, except among certain Orthodox Jews, who strictly observed the biblical prohibition against cutting the hair, and among those who wore beards to proclaim their freedom from convention.
‘Hairdressing’ Both Egyptian men (who were beardless) and women shaved their heads for coolness. On occasion they wore heavy black wigs and often a cone of perfumed oil on top of the head. The Hebrews were prohibited by biblical law from cutting their hair or beards. Thus, following ancient tradition, Orthodox Jewish men through the centuries have worn long hair and beards.
So you see Yahweh was saying don’t copy what you see the other nations doing for they are not my children, you are. Do not desire to look like them but be content looking like I created you to look like. Is it a consequence that today, as the end draws near, you see more and more men with shaved heads and goatees? Today many men look like women with earrings etc. and women, with short cropped hair, like men, this is without even getting into the clothes they wear.
Notice in Ezek. 44:20 the priests are not permitted to shave but they are permitted to cut their hair so it doesn’t grow too long.
Ezek. 44:20 Neither shall they (Levitical priests vs. 15) shave their heads, nor suffer their locks (hair NIV) to grow long; they shall only poll (trim NIV & RSV) their heads.
“The priests of Isis* shaved their heads close to the skin; the priests of Budhoo do so still; their ordinances oblige them to shave their heads every tenth day. To let the hair grow long would have been improper; therefore the Lord commands them to poll—cut the hair short, but not to shave. (*Egyptian goddess of fertility and motherhood).” Clarke’s Commentary, vol. 4, pg. 544.
Yahweh does not want men’s head hair to be too long. The Apostle Paul, in I Cor.11, says it is a shame for a man to have long hair.
It was also a shame for a man to be bald or beardless. II Sam.10:4,5 recounts the time when King David’s men had half their beards shaved off by their enemies causing great shame. But notice what David said to do. He didn’t tell them to shave off the other half and return to Jerusalem. He told them to wait in Jericho until their beards grew back and then return.
2Sa 10:4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
There were only three reasons Yahweh allowed for shaving ones head: 1} A Nazarite vow, Nu. 6:2,13,18; 2} Leprosy or infection on the head, Lev. 13:33 & 14:8-9; 3} death of a relative, Lev. 21:1-3.
For those who feel “corners” should be translated “borders,” Eze 48:28 shows the difference between pe’ah and gheb-ool’ . (See also Jos. 18:20)
Eze 48:28 And by the border (gheb-ool’) of Gad, at the south side (pe’ah) southward, the border (gheb-ool’) shall be even from Tamar unto the waters of strife in Kadesh, and to the river toward the great sea.
Also Nu 34:3 Then your south quarter* (pe’ah) shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border (gheb-ool’) shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward. (*The NIV and RSV both have “side” instead of the KJV’s “quarter.”)
1366 gheb-ool’ KJV – border 158, coast 69, bound 5, landmark 4, space 2, limit 1, quarters 1, non translated variant 1; total 241. Definition: border, territory (enclosed within boundary), region.
Trimming a beard is not destroying it.
2Sa 19:24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.
“The Talmud points out that the beard is one of the physical traits that distinguishes man from woman. To remove it is an offense against nature.” (Abrabanel, Isaac (1437-1508), Jewish statesman, philosopher, and theologian re Lev.19:27).*
“The beard is ‘the adornment of a man’s face'” (BM 84a).*
“A man without his beard is compared to a eunuch” [Yev.80b; Shabb.152a].*
*Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol.4, pg. 358.
“Some Medieval Jewish commentators considered a man with a shaven face to be tantamount to a man in a woman’s garment, an abomination according to Deut.22:5″ (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol.2, pg. 123).
“Clement of Alexandria called the beard man’s “natural adornment” and said it is “never permissible” to remove it“1.
“The hairs of the beard have been numbered.” and “To seek beauty in hairlessness is sheer effeminacy, if done by men.” Clement2.
“God planned that woman be smooth-skinned, taking pride in her natural tresses, the only hair she has, as the horse in its mane.” and “But man he adorned like the lion, with a beard. . . .” Clement3 (The Fathers of the Church, Vol.23. 1pg. 218; 2pg. 215; 3 pg. 214).
Other early Christian writings similarly oppose shaving. Jerome wrote against the removal of the beard1.
“The “Apostolic Constitutions” (i.3) insisted that men should have beards”1.
“In 398, the fourth council of Carthage prohibited clergymen from removing the beard”2.
“It did little good to try to force the laity to conform to the prohibition against shaving, but for many centuries after this, clergymen were expected to have beards, according to Bingham’s” “Antiquities of the Christian Church” [I.ii.15,16] 2 (The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol.II. 1pg. 612; 2 pg. 614).
“As the centuries passed, shaving became more and more acceptable among Christians until finally, by about the year 1000, men in Christendom were almost universally clean-shaven” (Krumholz, Phillip L. A History of Shaving and Razors, pg. 6″.
“In 1528, (William) Tyndale pointed out that shaving “is borrowed of the heathen” and proclaimed that “the shaven nation hath put Christ out of his room” (Oxford English Dictionary XV, pg. 194f).
“In 1859, another Englishman, James Ward, wrote “Defence of the Beard”, a pamphlet which listed eighteen reasons why a man was “bound to grow a beard, unless he was indifferent as to offending the Creator and good taste” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics pg. 442).
“27. Ye shall not round the corners of your heads — It seems probable that this fashion had been learned by the Israelites in Egypt, for the ancient Egyptians had their dark locks cropped short or shaved with great nicety, so that what remained on the crown appeared in the form of a circle surrounding the head, while the beard was dressed into a square form. This kind of coiffure had a highly idolatrous meaning; and it was adopted, with some slight variations, by almost all idolaters in ancient times. (Jer 9:25,26 25:23, where “in the utmost corners” means having the corners of their hair cut.) Frequently a lock or tuft of hair was left on the hinder part of the head, the rest being cut round in the form of a ring, as the Turks, Chinese, and Hindus do at the present day.
neither shalt thou mar –The Egyptians used to cut or shave off their whiskers, as may be seen in the coffins of mummies, and the representations of divinities on the monuments. But the Hebrews, in order to separate them from the neighboring nations, or perhaps to put a stop to some existing superstition, were forbidden to imitate this practice. It may appear surprising that Moses should condescend to such minutia as that of regulating the fashion of the hair and the beard–matters which do not usually occupy the attention of a legislator–and which appear widely remote from the province either of government or of a religion. A strong presumption, therefore, arises that he had in mind by these regulations to combat some superstitious practices of the Egyptians” (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871).
“27 The corners of your heads – That is your temples, ye shall not cut off the hair of your heads round about your temples. This the Gentiles did, either for the worship of their idols, to whom young men used to consecrate their hair, being cut off from their heads, as Homer, Plutarch and many others write; or in funerals or immoderate mournings, as appears from Isa 15:2 Jer 48:37. And the like is to be thought concerning the beard or the hair in the corner, that is, corners of the beard. The reason then of this prohibition is because God would not have his people agree with idolaters, neither in their idolatries, nor in their excessive sorrowing, no nor so much as in the appearances of it” (Wesley’s Explanatory Notes).
‘Beard ‘ Among the Jews, as among most Oriental peoples, the beard was especially cherished as a symbol of virility; to cut off another man’s beard was an outrage (II Kings, x, 4); to shave or to pluck one’s own beard was a sign of mourning (Jer., xli, 5; xlviii, 37); to allow the beard to be defiled constituted a presumption of madness (I Kings, xxi, 13). Certain ceremonial cuttings of the beard which probably imitated pagan superstition were strictly forbidden (Lev., xiv, 9). These usages which we learn from the Bible are confirmed by the testimony of monuments, both Egyptian and Assyrian, in which the Jews are invariably depicted as bearded. The Egyptians themselves commonly shaved, and we are told that Joseph, on being taken from his prison, was made to shave before appearing in the presence of the king (Gen., xli, 14) [Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc.].
Yahweh created men with beards and women without. He created the sexes to be clearly distinguished from each other in appearance and of course many other ways as well. This is a standard that can be seen throughout the Bible. A man’s beard is a visible mark given him to identify his gender. If Yahweh told us not to shave it off that’s what we must obey, despite what today’s society thinks or believes. It’s clear from the scriptures that the men found in its pages wore beards. Historical evidence, other then the Bible, most definitely shows the same picture.
It is a conspicuous contradiction to disagree with growing a beard and yet claim to follow and worship a man who did just that. If we claim to obey Yahweh’s law let us step forward and lead the way in every aspect of that law, and more so if it helps us conform to the image of His Son, and therefore His image also. Yahweh gave each man a beard and His Son wore a beard, therefore no other reason should have to be given to justify its existence.