Q.  Should a man shave his beard?

A.  Some Bible teachers contend that a man is never to shave or trim his beard. In Biblical times most adult male Israelites wore full beards. However, many Scriptures show that a beard was to be trimmed and cared for. A well-kept beard commanded respect, and was conditioned with oil:
            “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments” (Ps. 133:2).
            The laws given to Moses admonished the men not to disfigure their heads by shaving off the hair in front of their ears nor to trim off the corners of their beards, resulting in a pointed beard much like we see in drawings of Satan: “You shall not round the corners of your heads Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head, NIV, neither shall you mar the corners of your beard [or clip off the edges of your beard, NIV]” (Lev. 19:27).
            The very fact that men were cautioned not to trim off the corners of their beards indicates they were indeed to trim and keep their beards neat and manageable.
            “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh” (Lev. 21:5).   The NIV reads: “Priests must not shave their heads, or shave off the edges of their beard...”
            Thus, we see clearly that males are not to become bald by shaving their heads.  Neither were they to shape their beards to come to a point, but the beard should be square in shape.  We also find the males were not to make any bald spot between their eyes (front of their heads) as a sign of mounting as was done by the pagans.  Incidentally, the tonsure of the monastic priests was a carryover practice of the Baal priests, who made the top of their heads to symbolize the sun they worshiped by shaving the center bald.
            “You are the children of Yahweh your Elohim: you shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead” (Deut. 14:1).
            “Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads” (Ezek. 44:20).  These are special instructions for the priests.
            Making baldness by shaving and to cut off the beard was a sign of grief and Yahweh laments for Moab, which He describes:
            “For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped cut off (NIV): upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.  There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, says Yahweh” (Jer. 48:37-38).
            To cut of someone’s beard was an insult, as we see what Hanun did to David’s servants:
            “Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.  When they told [it] unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return” (2 Samuel 10:4-5).
            The following verse pictures Yahweh’s judgments on Israel as a shaving of the nation’s beard, an intentional disgrace.
            “In the same day shall Yahweh shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard” (Isa. 7:20).
            The word beard does not appear in the New Testament.
            As a token of grief it was customary to cut the hair of both head and beard (Isa. 15:2; Jer 16:6; 41:5; Amos 8:10).
            By not trimming or grooming the beard one showed one was in mourning or grief-stricken:
            “And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace” (2Sam. 19:24).
            A shaved face in Israel was a sign of mourning:
            “That there came a certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of Yahweh” (Jer. 41:5).
            The hair of a Nazarite might never be cut or trimmed.  Apparently John the Baptist was the last of the Nazarites.
            “For, lo, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto Yahweh from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Jud. 13:5).
            “And she vowed a vow, and said, O Yahweh Sabbaoth, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget your handmaid, but will give unto your handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto Yahweh all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (1Sam. 1:11).
            The following verses are sometimes given in defending the position that man should not shave his beard – ever!  However, a careful reading of these verses shows that they reflect mourning, grief, anguish, regret.  In the hands of Yahweh such baldness pictures His judgment.  In no way can this mean we should never trim or dress our hair or beard.
            “In the same day shall Yahweh shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard” (Isa. 7:20).
            “He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off” (Isa. 15:2).
            “For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth,” (Jer. 48:37).
            “Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall [men] lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:” (Jer. 16:6).
            “They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads,” (Ezekiel 7:18).
            “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off my hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting,” (Isa. 50:6). This is a prophecy about Yahshua and His humiliation at the hands of those who tore out his beard.
            Clearly, dealing with beards and cutting of hair is permissible, and even commanded to be done properly. We are not to have a “Van Dyke” pointed beard such as Satan is often pictured having.

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