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March 4    Scripture

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Manners & Customs : Hair Styles

Hair in Easton's Bible Dictionary (1.) 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 Pharoah (Gen. 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. (2.) A precisely opposite practice, as regards men, prevailed among the Assyrians. In Assyrian sculptures the hair always appears long, and combed closely down upon the head. The beard also was allowed to grow to its full length. (3.) Among the Greeks the custom in this respect varied at different times, as it did also among the Romans. In the time of the apostle, among the Greeks the men wore short hair, while that of the women was long (1 Cor. 11:14, 15). Paul reproves the Corinthians for falling in with a style of manners which so far confounded the distinction of the sexes and was hurtful to good morals. (See, however, 1 Tim. 2:9, and 1 Pet. 3:3, as regards women.) (4.) Among the Hebrews the natural distinction between the sexes was preserved by the women wearing long hair (Luke 7:38; John 11:2; 1 Cor. 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 (Lev. 21). Elijah is called a "hairy man" (2 Kings 1:8) from his flowing locks, or more probably from the shaggy cloak of hair which he wore. His raiment was of camel's hair. Long hair is especially noticed in the description of Absalom's person (2 Sam. 14:26); but the wearing of long hair was unusual, and was only practised as an act of religious observance by Nazarites (Num. 6:5; Judg. 13:5) and others in token of special mercies (Acts 18:18). In times of affliction the hair was cut off (Isa. 3:17, 24; 15:2; 22:12; Jer. 7:29; Amos 8:10). Tearing the hair and letting it go dishevelled were also tokens of grief (Ezra 9:3). "Cutting off the hair" is a figure of the entire destruction of a people (Isa. 7:20). The Hebrews anointed the hair profusely with fragrant ointments (Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 23:5; 45:7, etc.), especially in seasons of rejoicing (Matt. 6:17; Luke 7:46).

Hair in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Shaved closely by men, worn long by women, in Egypt. The Hebrew wore long beards; the Egyptians only in mourning did so. At the same time the Hebrew kept the distinction of sexes by clipping the hair of men (though hardly so much as we do; Leviticus 10:6; Hebrew: "let not loose (the hair of) your heads," not "uncover," etc.), but not of women (1 Corinthians 11:6, etc.; Luke 7:38). The law forbad them to "round the corners of their heads, or mar the cornners of the beard"; for the Arabs in honour of the idol Orotal cut the hair from the temples in a circular form, and in mourning marred their beards (Leviticus 19:27; Jeremiah 9:26 margin, Jeremiah 48:37). Baldness, being often the result of leprosy, disqualified for the priesthood (Leviticus 21:20, Septuagint). (See BALDNESS.) Absalom's luxuriant hair is mentioned as a sign of beauty, but was a mark of effeminacy; its weight perhaps was 20, not 200 shekels, the numeral resh (r) having by a copyist's error been substituted for kaph (k) (2 Samuel 14:26). Nazarites wore it uncut, a sign of humiliation and self-denial, at the same time of dedication of all the strength, of which hair was a token, to God (Numbers 6:5; Judges 13:5; Judges 16:17). Shaving the head was often practiced in fulfillment of a vow, as Paul did, the shaving being usually followed by a sacrifice in 30 days (Acts 18:18); probably his vow was made in some sickness (Galatians 4:13). Black was the favorite color. Song of Solomon 5:11, the bridegroom's locks are "bushy" (curled), betokening headship; Song of Solomon 4:1, the hair of goats in the East being fine like silk and flowing, the token of the bride's subjection; Song of Solomon 1:5; Song of Solomon 7:5, "purple," i.e. glossy black. Ecclesiastes 12:5, "the almond tree shall flourish." does not refer to white hair on the old, for the almond blossom is pink, but to the almond (lit. the wakeful) tree blossoming in winter, i.e. the wakefulness of old age shall set in. But Gesenius, "(the old man) loathes the (sweet) almond." In Song of Solomon 7:5, for "galleries" translated "the king is held (fascinated) with the flowing ringlets." The hair was often platted in braids, kept in their place by a fillet. So Samson's "seven locks" (Judges 16:13; Judges 16:19; compare 1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3). Egyptian women swear by their sidelocks, and men by their beards; the Jews' imitation of this our Lord condemns (Matthew 5:36). Hair represents what is least valuable (Matthew 10:30); innumerable to man, but "all numbered" by God's providence for His children. "Hair as the hair of women" (Revelation 9:8), long and flowing, a mark of semi-barbarous hosts (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Hair in Naves Topical Bible Numbered Mt 10:30; Lu 12:7 -Worn long By women Isa 3:24; Lu 7:38; 1Co 11:5,6,15; 1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:3; Re 9:8 By Absalom 2Sa 14:26 -Worn short by men 1Co 11:14 -Symbolical dividing of Eze 5:1,2

Hair in Smiths Bible Dictionary The Hebrews were fully alive to the importance of the hair as an element of personal beauty. Long hair was admired in the case of young men. 2Sa 14:26 In times of affliction the hair was altogether cut off. Isa 3:17,24; 15:2; Jer 7:29 Tearing the hair Ezr 9:3 and letting it go dishevelled were similar tokens of grief. The usual and favorite color of the hair was black, So 5:11 as is indicated in the comparisons in So 1:5; 4:1 a similar hue is probably intended by the purple of So 7:6 Pure white hair was deemed characteristic of the divine Majesty. Da 7:9; Re 1:14 The chief beauty of the hair consisted in curls, whether of a natural or an artificial character. With regard to the mode of dressing the hair, we have no very precise information; the terms used are of a general character, as of Jezebel, 2Ki 9:30 and of Judith, ch. 10:3, and in the New Testament, 1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:3 The arrangement of Samson's hair into seven locks, or more properly braids, Jud 16:13,19 involves the practice of plaiting, which was also familiar to the Egyptians and Greeks. The locks were probably kept in their place by a fillet, as in Egypt. The Hebrews like other nations of antiquity, anointed the hair profusely with ointments, which were generally compounded of various aromatic ingredients, Ru 3:3; 2Sa 14:2; Ps 23:6; 92:10; Ec 9:8 more especially on occasions of festivity or hospitality. Lu 7:46 It appears to have been the custom of the Jews in our Saviour's time to swear by the hair, Mt 5:36 much as the Egyptian women still swear by the side-locks, and the men by their beards.

Hair in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE har (se`ar, sa`ar, Aramaic se`ar, and their derivatives; thrix, gen. case trichos, kome): 1. Hair Fashions: Hair was worn in different fashions by the Orientals of Biblical times, and not always in the same way among the same people in different epochs. We know this clearly from Egyptian literature and monuments, as well as from the writings of Greek authors (especially Herodotus), that the dwellers on the Nile had their heads shaved in early youth, leaving but a side lock until maturity was attained, when this mark of childhood was taken away. Priests and warriors kept their heads closely shaved; nothing but the exigencies of arduous warfare were allowed to interfere with this custom. On the other hand, the Hebrew people, like their Babylonian neighbors (Herod. i.195), affected long and well- cared-for, bushy curls of hair as emblems of manly beauty. Proofs thereof are not infrequent in the Scriptures and elsewhere. Samson's (Jdg 16:13,19) and Absalom's (2 Sam 14:26) long luxuriant hair is specially mentioned, and the Shulammite sings of the locks of her beloved which are "bushy (the Revised Version, margin "curling"), and black as a raven" (Song 5:11). Josephus (Ant., VIII, vii, 3 (185)) reports that Solomon's body-guard was distinguished by youthful beauty and "luxuriant heads of hair." In the history of Samson we read of "the seven locks of his head" (Jdg 16:19). It is likely that the expression signifies the plaits of hair which are even now often worn by the young Bedouin warrior of the desert. 2. Hair in Idol Worship: It is well known that among the surrounding heathen nations the hair of childhood or youth was often shaved and consecrated at idolatrous shrines (compare Herod. ii.65 for Egypt). Frequently this custom marked an initiatory rite into the service of a divinity (e.g. that of Orotal (Bacchus) in Arabia, Herod. iii.8). It was therefore an abomination of the Gentiles in the eyes of the Jew, which is referred to in Lev 19:27; Jer 9:26; 25:23; 49:32. The Syriac version of the latter passage renders, "Ye shall not let your hair grow long" (i.e. in order to cut it as a religious rite in honor of an idol). It is, however, probable that among the Jews, as now among many classes of Mohammedans, the periodical cropping of the hair, when it had become too cumbersome, was connected with some small festivity, when the weight of the hair was ascertained, and its weight in silver was given in charity to the poor. At least, the weighing of Absalom's hair (2 Sam 14:26) may be referred to some such custom, which is not unparalleled in other countries. The use of balances in connection with the shaving-off of the hair in Ezek 5:1 is certainly out of the common. See illustration, "Votive Offering," on p. 1302. 3. The Nazirite Vow: We may also compare the shaving of the head of the Nazirite to these heathen practices, though the resemblance is merely superficial. The man who made a vow to God was responsible to Him with his whole body and being. Not even a hair was to be injured...

Hair Scripture - 1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

Hair Scripture - 1 Corinthians 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering.

Hair Scripture - 1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

Hair Scripture - 1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

Hair Scripture - 2 Samuel 14:26 And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end that he polled [it]: because [the hair] was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight.

Hair Scripture - Isaiah 3:24 And it shall come to pass, [that] instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; [and] burning instead of beauty

Hair Scripture - Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Hair Scripture - Luke 7:38 38 - And 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, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.

Hair Scripture - Matthew 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Hair Scripture - Revelation 9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [the teeth] of lions.