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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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is the rendering in the A.V. of the following words:

1. מוֹרָה , morahle (Sept. σίδηρος, ξύρον; Vulg. novacula, ferrum: from מָרָה, "scrape," or "sweep." Gesenius connects it with the root יָרֵא, "to fear" [ Thesatur. p. 819j). This word occurs in Judges 13:5; Judges 16:17; 1 Samuel 1:11.

2. תִּעִר, ta'ar (Sept. ῥομφαία; Vulg. gladius: from עָרָה, to lay bare), a more general term (Numbers 6:5; Psalms 52:2; Isaiah 7:20; Ezekiel 5:1) for a sharp knife (as rendered in Jeremiah 26:23) or sword (" sheath," 1 Samuel 17:51, etc.; although- many regard this as a different word of the same form). The barber is designated by גִּלָּב, gallab' (Sept. κουρεύς '; Vulg. tonsor, 2 Samuel 20:8). "Besides other usages, the practice of shaving the head after the completion of a vow must have created among the Jews a necessity for the special trade of a barber (Numbers 6:9; Numbers 6:18; Numbers 8:7; Leviticus 14:8; Judges 13:5; Isaiah 7:20; Ezekiel 5:1; Acts 18:18). The instruments of his work were probably, as in modern times, the razor, the basin, the mirror, and perhaps, also, the scissors, such as are described by Lucian (Adv. Indoct. ii, 395, ed. Amst.; see 2 Samuel 14:26). The process of Oriental shaving, and especially of the head, is minutely described by Chardin (Voy. 4:144). It may be remarked that, like the Levites, the Egyptian priests were accustomed to shave their whole bodies (Herod. ii, 36, 37)." The Psalmist compares the tongue of Doeg to a sharp razor (Psalms 52:2) starting aside from what should be its true operation to a cruel purpose and effect. In the denunciation of the woes that were to be brought upon Judah in the time of Ahaz by the instrumentality of the Assyrians, we have the remarkable expression, "In the same day shall the Lord 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" (Isaiah 7:20). It seems likely that there is here an implication of contempt as well as suffering, as the office of a barber ambulant has seldom been esteemed of any dignity either in the East or West. To shave with the hired razor the head, the feet, and the beard is an expression highly parabolical, to denote the utter devastation of the country from one end to the other, and the plundering of the people from the highest to the lowest bv the Assyrians, whom God employed as his instrument to punish the rebellious Jews. (See BARBER).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Razor'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Rea, John, d.d.
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