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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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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).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Baldness'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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