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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Hair

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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).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Hair'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/h/hair.html. 1949.

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