Outgrowth from the head or elsewhere on the body. Several men in the Bible are known for their hairiness or their long hair. Esau’s hirsuteness contrasts with Jacob’s smoothness (Gen 25:25; Gen 27:11). The prophet Elijah was apparently identified by his hairiness (or perhaps his mantle, 2Kgs 1:8). Absalom’s long, thick hair is a mark of handsomeness (2Sam 14:26) and also figures in his death—he was caught by the “head” in a terebinth (2Sam 18:9). Samson’s long hair was the source of his strength. When it was shaved, he was helpless (Judg 16:17), but when it grew back (Judg 16:22), he was able to pull the temple of Dagon down upon the Philistines. Shaving of the body was part of the purification of Levites (Num 8:5-7), but a priest was not to make his head bald or shave the corners of his beard (Lev 21:5). According to another priestly rule, lay Israelites were forbidden to cut the hair of their temples or beard (Lev 19:27). The hair of a Nazirite was left uncut for the duration of his vow (Num 6:5; 1Sam 1:11). Shaving was also connected with the cure from leprosy (Lev 13:33; Lev 14:8-9), and shaving is also mentioned in various contexts in connection with mourning (Job 1:20; Isa 15:2; Jer 41:5; Jer 47:5; Jer 48:37; Ezek 7:18). It is likely that the shaving of captive women (Deut 21:12-13) is a sign of their mourning. Disheveled hair was a sign of public shame. Thus the leper’s hair was loosened (Lev 13:45), as was the hair of a woman accused of infidelity (Num 5:18). A priest’s hair could not be let loose (Lev 21:10; Lev 10:6). One from whose head not one hair shall fall is one who is safe from harm (1Sam 14:45; 2Sam 14:11; 1Kgs 1:52; Luke 21:18; Acts 27:34). The hairs of the head may be used to represent a large number (Ps 40:13; Ps 69:5); that their number is known to God Jesus cites as a sign of divine care (Matt 10:30; Luke 12:7). Wiping Jesus’s feet with their hair was a way two women showed him their devotion (Luke 7:38; John 12:3).

Gen 25:25

25The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau.

Gen 27:11

11But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “Look, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a man of smooth skin.

2Kgs 1:8

8They answered him, “A hairy man, with a leather belt around his waist.” He said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

2Sam 14:26

26When he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two h ... View more

2Sam 18:9

9Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast ... View more

Judg 16:17

17So he told her his whole secret, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head; for I have been a nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head we ... View more

Judg 16:22

22But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

Num 8:5-7

Consecration and Service of the Levites
5The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:6Take the Levites from among the Israelites and cleanse them.7Thus you shall do to them ... View more

Lev 21:5

5They shall not make bald spots upon their heads, or shave off the edges of their beards, or make any gashes in their flesh.

Lev 19:27

27You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.

Num 6:5

5All the days of their nazirite vow no razor shall come upon the head; until the time is completed for which they separate themselves to the Lord, they shall be ... View more

1Sam 1:11

11She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your ... View more

Lev 13:33

33he shall shave, but the itch he shall not shave. The priest shall confine the person with the itch for seven days more.

Lev 14:8-9

8The one who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and bathe himself in water, and he shall be clean. After that he shall come i ... View more

Job 1:20

20Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped.

Isa 15:2

2Dibon has gone up to the temple,
to the high places to weep;
over Nebo and over Medeba
Moab wails.
On every head is baldness,
every beard is shorn;

Jer 41:5

5eighty men arrived from Shechem and Shiloh and Samaria, with their beards shaved and their clothes torn, and their bodies gashed, bringing grain offerings and ... View more

Jer 47:5

5Baldness has come upon Gaza,
Ashkelon is silenced.
O remnant of their power!
How long will you gash yourselves?

Jer 48:37

37For every head is shaved and every beard cut off; on all the hands there are gashes, and on the loins sackcloth.

Ezek 7:18

18They shall put on sackcloth,
horror shall cover them.
Shame shall be on all faces,
baldness on all their heads.

Deut 21:12-13

12and so you bring her home to your house: she shall shave her head, pare her nails,13discard her captive's garb, and shall remain in your house a full month, m ... View more

Lev 13:45

45The person who has the leprous disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head be disheveled; and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Uncl ... View more

Num 5:18

18The priest shall set the woman before the Lord, dishevel the woman's hair, and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offeri ... View more

Lev 21:10

10The priest who is exalted above his fellows, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the vestments, shall not dis ... View more

Lev 10:6

6And Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not dishevel your hair, and do not tear your vestments, or you will die and wrath will strike ... View more

1Sam 14:45

45Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great victory in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head ... View more

2Sam 14:11

11Then she said, “Please, may the king keep the Lord your God in mind, so that the avenger of blood may kill no more, and my son not be destroyed.” He said, “As ... View more

1Kgs 1:52

52So Solomon responded, “If he proves to be a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.”

Luke 21:18

18But not a hair of your head will perish.

Acts 27:34

34Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.”

Ps 40:13

13Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.

Ps 69:5

5O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

Matt 10:30

30And even the hairs of your head are all counted.

Luke 12:7

7But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 7:38

38She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and a ... View more

John 12:3

3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfu ... View more

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.