"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14;
Hope of Israel

Note: Scriptures are blue.

To Shave or Not to Shave?
That is the Question.

by Charles J. Voss

We at United Hebrew Congregations make no attempt to tell anyone what they should nor not do as that is between you and your CREATOR and not between you and UHC. If you believe that the Scriptures only applied to people living in or around the Temple a long time ago, again, that is not between you and us. Having said that I want to ask you to think of some male figure mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures--do you see him in your mind's eye as having a beard?

It was pointed out to me, that not all men can grow a beard. Therefore, I have changed the title and updated the article because the Scripture is truly directed toward how to treat your beard, if you have one.

When we think of any of the men mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, why do we automatically think of a bearded man? If they wore beards, should we wear beards today? To answer the question, let us go into the Hebrew Scriptures and see what is written. We could look at all of men mentioned who had a beard but a cursory look will suffice. 1

Actually, the answer is rather simple. ETERNAL commanded all of the men of Israel not to shave the sides of their heads:
Lev. 19:1-2,27,37 (KJV) "And YHWH spake unto Moses, saying, 'SPEAK UNTO ALL THE CONGREGATION of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I YHWH CREATOR am holy. ŠYe shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. ŠTherefore shall ye observe all My statutes, and all My judgments, and do them: I am YHWH.'"

Well, that was straightforward and now notice that it is directed to the entire congregation of Israel that is all 13 tribes (click for more info). The only question that might arise is "How do you mar your beard and what are the corners?" The English word "mar" comes from the Hebrew word 2 "shachath." A primary root means to decay or to ruin. Shachath is used 146 times in the Scriptures and is translated as mar four times. The 142 other times it is translated as: batter, cast off, corrupter, corrupt thing, destroy, destroyer, destruction, lose, perish, spill, spoiler, and waste. An example of another Scripture where it is translated as mar is:
Jer. 13: 9 (KJV) "Thus saith YHWH, 'After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.'"

The English word "corner" comes from the Hebrew word 3 "pe'ah." It means direction, region, or extremity. It comes from a primary root meaning "this place." Pe'ah is used 85 times in the Scriptures and is translated as corner 15 times. The 70 other times it is translated as: end, quarter, side, or sides; with the majority of times being side or sides. An example of another verse where it is translated as corner is:
Neh 9:22 "Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan."

Looking to the instructions given to the priests as an example for the rest of us, we must also keep the hair on your heads and our beards trimmed and neat, that is if you can grow hair on our head and face. Unfortunately, the hair on the top of my head is getting a little sparse:
Ezek. 44:10-11,20 (NKJV) "And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them.   ...They shall neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow long; but they shall keep their hair well trimmed."

Therefore, the moral of the story is, yes Virginia, we men must not shave, as directed. We must not shave the beard on the sides of our heads (the face is part of the head, it is not a different appendage) or scallop the end of our beard but keep it neat and trim. Two verses in The New Kings James Version state it quite succulently:
Lev 19:27 "You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard."

Ezek 44:20 "They shall neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow long; but they shall keep their hair well trimmed."

I guess if a person were, want to argue the point with ETERNAL, they could try it by saying, "OK I will not shave my head or disfigure my beard as that command is to all the congregation of Israel (all 13 tribes). However, the command to keep the hair on the head trimmed is only to the Levites and I will let it grow until I trip over it."

Nevertheless, personally I will not shave it but keep it trimmed until it all falls out.


[ The Hope of Israel Main Page ]



Up1. These men all had beards: Sons of Zadox, Ezek 44:15,20; Aaron, Ps 133:2; All Priests, Lev 21:5; Ezekiel, Ezek. 5:1; Ezra, Ezra 9: 3; Nazarites, Judges 16:17; A disgrace not to have a beard, Isa 7:20; King David, 1 Sam 21: 13; Sons of Kings, 2 Sam 19:24; servants, 2 Sam 10:4; captain of the army, 2 Sam 20: 9.

Up2. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Electronic Version, word #H7843, shachath (shaw-khath').

Up3. Ibid. #H6285, pe'ah (pay-aw').