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Hair Styles Of The Bible
by Wayne Blank
Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman
Ancient Egyptian (see The Ancient Egyptians) men commonly shaved their faces and their heads, not usually allowing it to grow except in times of mourning, after which it was again shaved. Joseph (see Coat Of Many Colors) was clean shaven prior to being allowed in before Pharaoh (Genesis 41:14). The women of Egypt wore their hair long and plaited.
Assyrian (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) and Babylonian (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) men on the other hand usually allowed their hair and beards to grow long. The women usually had long hair. The same was true for the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia).
Israelites and Christians
Hair length varied among the Israelites also, although, still again, women always tended to have long hair, or at least longer than the men. It appears that men had longer hair during the time of the Old Testament than during the New Testament. As with clothing, the general Biblical principle regarding hair was that there was to be a clear difference between men and women, regardless of whatever length was considered socially acceptable at any given time.
Samson (Judges 16:17) and Absalom (2 Samuel 14:25-26) are the most famous men with long hair in the Old Testament. Absalom's was apparently just out of personal vanity, while Samson was a Nazirite (see Nazirites). Coincidentally or not, both men's deaths directly involved their long hair - Samson was captured by the Philistines after his hair was cut, and Absalom's head got caught in a tree during a battle.
During the time of Jesus Christ and the early church era, the men usually had short hair, while the women had long hair. We know from the apostle Paul that Jesus Christ had short hair (see What Did Jesus Look Like?), while John The Baptist, who was a Nazirite from birth (Luke 1:15), probably had long hair, as was proper for Nazirites.
Some other Biblical references to hair:
"Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride?" (1 Corinthians 11:14-15 RSV)
Fact Finder: What did Jesus Christ's hair look like when He appeared to The Apostle John at the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation?
This Week's Bible Quiz
In which book of the Bible is this recorded?
1. The Flood?
2. The death of Moses?
3. The Ten Plagues on Egypt?
4. The crossing of The Jordan River into the Promised Land?
5. King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a great statue?
6. The martyrdom of Stephen?
7. The conversion of Saul On The Road To Damascus?
For the answers to this December 5 2000 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page