Hair

The Hebrews were fully alive to the importance of the hair as an element of personal beauty. Long hair was admired in the case of young men. (2 Samuel 14:26) In times of affliction the hair was altogether cut off. (Isaiah 3:17,24; 15:2; Jeremiah 7:29) Tearing the hair (Ezra 9:3) and letting it go dishevelled were similar tokens of grief. The usual and favorite color of the hair was black, (Song of Solomon 5:11) as is indicated in the comparisons in (Song of Solomon 1:5; 4:1) a similar hue is probably intended by the purple of (Song of Solomon 7:6) Pure white hair was deemed characteristic of the divine Majesty. (Daniel 7:9; Revelation 1:14) The chief beauty of the hair consisted in curls, whether of a natural or an artificial character. With regard to the mode of dressing the hair, we have no very precise information; the terms used are of a general character, as of Jezebel, (2 Kings 9:30) and of Judith, ch. 10:3, and in the New Testament, (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3) The arrangement of Samson's hair into seven locks, or more properly braids, (Judges 16:13,19) involves the practice of plaiting, which was also familiar to the Egyptians and Greeks. The locks were probably kept in their place by a fillet, as in Egypt. The Hebrews like other nations of antiquity, anointed the hair profusely with ointments, which were generally compounded of various aromatic ingredients, (Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 14:2; Psalms 23:6; 92:10; Ecclesiastes 9:8) more especially on occasions of festivity or hospitality. (Luke 7:46) It appears to have been the custom of the Jews in our Saviour's time to swear by the hair, (Matthew 5:36) much as the Egyptian women still swear by the side-locks, and the men by their beards.