baldness, bald

Baldness from natural causes was uncommon in ancient biblical times (2 Kings 2:23; Isaiah 3:24). It was included apparently under “scab” and “scurf,” which disqualified for the priesthood (Leviticus 21:20).

The Egyptians were rarely subject to it. This probably arose from their custom of constantly shaving the head, only allowing the hair to grow as a sign of mourning.

With the Jews, artificial baldness was a sign of mourning (Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:29; 16:6); it also marked the conclusion of a Nazarite’s vow (Acts 18:18; 21:24; Numbers 6:9). It is often alluded to (Micah 1:16; Amos 8:10; Jeremiah 47:5).

The Jews were forbidden to follow the customs of surrounding nations in making themselves bald (Deuteronomy 14:1).

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