baldness Summary and Overview
baldness in Easton's Bible Dictionary
from natural causes was uncommon (2 Kings 2:23; Isa. 3:24). It was included apparently under "scab" and "scurf," which disqualified for the priesthood (Lev. 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 (Acts 18:18; 21:24; Num. 6:9). It is often alluded to (Micah 1:16; Amos 8:10; Jer. 47:5). The Jews were forbidden to follow the customs of surrounding nations in making themselves bald (Deut. 14:1).
baldness in Smith's Bible Dictionary
Natural baldness seems to have been uncommon, since it exposed people to public derision. #Le 13:29; 2Ki 2:23; Isa 3:24; 15:2; Jer 47:5; Eze 7:18| Artificial baldness marked the conclusion of a Nazarite's vow, #Nu 6:9; Ac 18:18| and was a sign of mourning.
baldness in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
BALD'NESS , when voluntary, was a token of mourning and great distress, Isa 3:24; Eze 7:18, or else showed the conclusion of a Nazarite's vow. Num 6:9. Natural baldness seems to have been uncommon. "Bald head" was a cry of contempt, 2 Kgs 2:23, because it was generally caused by leprosy. Lev 13:40-43. The people, and especially the priests, were forbidden to make themselves bald, since this was a heathen custom. Lev 21:5; Deut 14:1; Eze 44:20.
baldness in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Rare among Israelites; so an object of derision, as Elisha's was. to the children: 2 Kings 2:23, "Go up thou baldhead," i.e., thou art old enough to leave this world and "go up" to heaven after thy master. A humiliation to captives (Deuteronomy 21:12; Isaiah 3:24). A mark of mourning (Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 47:5; Ezekiel 7:18; Isaiah 15:2). It was sometimes a mark of leprosy: Leviticus 13:40-42. Priests were forbidden to make baldness on their heads, or to shave off the grainers of their beards (Leviticus 21:5; Ezekiel 44:20); as mourners and idol priests did. (Jeremiah 9:26 margin; Leviticus 19:27). The reason Israel was forbidden to do so was, "for thou art an holy people unto the Lord" (Deuteronomy 14:1-2). Nebuchadnezzar's army grew bald in besieging Tyre with the hardships of their work (Ezekiel 29:18). The Egyptians, contrary to oriental custom, shaved on joyous occasions and only let the hair grow in mourning; the mention of Joseph's "shaving" when summoned before Pharaoh is therefore an undesigned coincidence in Genesis 41:14, and mark of the truth of the Scripture record. Artificial baldness marked the ending of a Nazarite's vow (Numbers 6:9; Acts 18:18; Acts 21:24).