shaving

shaving

The act of removing facial hair, in the Bible particularly the beard. As a sign of mourning and as part of several purification rituals, shaving had religious significance in Israelite society. Israelite men of the preexilic period wore full beards and shoulder-length hair. The beards were trimmed (2Sam 19:24), but under normal circumstances men were ashamed to appear in public without them (2Sam 10:4-5). When in mourning, however, they shaved their heads and beards (Job 1:20; Jer 41:5; Jer 48:37). Priests were prohibited from this practice (Lev 21:5), and (Deut 14:1) extends the prohibition to all Israelites, but this law seems little known prior to the exile (Isa 22:12). Likewise, men or women who consecrated themselves to God as Nazirites could not cut their hair until they fulfilled their vow; then they shaved their heads and offered the hair on the altar for their purification (Num 6:5-19). The most famous Nazirite was Samson (Judg 13-16). Acts reports that even as a Christian Paul continued to observe such vows (Acts 18:18; Acts 21:24).

2Sam 19:24

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2Sam 10:4-5

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Job 1:20

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Jer 41:5

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Jer 48:37

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Lev 21:5

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Deut 14:1

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Isa 22:12

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Num 6:5-19

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Judg 13-16

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Acts 18:18

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Acts 21:24

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