From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

The Hebrews wore their beards, but had, doubtless, in common with other Asiatic nations, several fashions in this, as in all other parts of dress. Moses forbids them,  Leviticus 19:27 , "to cut off entirely the angle, or extremity of their beard;" that is, to avoid the manner of the Egyptians, who left only a little tuft of beard at the extremity of their chins. The Jews, in some places, at this day suffer a little fillet of hair to grow from below the ears to the chin: where, as well as upon their lower lips, their beards are long. When they mourned, they entirely shaved the hair of their heads and beards, and neglected to trim their beards, to regulate them into neat order, or to remove what grew on their upper lips and cheeks,  Jeremiah 41:5;  Jeremiah 48:37 . In times of grief and affliction, they plucked away the hair of their heads and beards, a mode of expression common to other nations under great calamities. The king of the Ammonites, designing to insult David in the person of his ambassadors, cut away half of their beards, and half of their clothes; that is, he cut off all their beard on one side of their faces,  2 Samuel 10:4-5;  1 Chronicles 19:5 . To avoid ridicule, David did not wish them to appear at his court till their beards were grown again. When a leper was cured of his leprosy, he washed himself in a bath, and shaved off all the hair of his body; after which, he returned into the camp, or city; seven days afterward, he washed himself and his clothes again, shaved off all his hair, and offered the sacrifices appointed for his purification,  Leviticus 14:9 . The Levites, at their consecration, were purified by bathing, and washing their bodies and clothes; after which, they shaved off all the hair of their bodies, and then offered the sacrifices appointed for their consecration,  Numbers 8:7 .

Nothing has been more fluctuating, in the different ages of the world and countries than the fashion of wearing the beard. Some have cultivated one part and some another; some have endeavoured to extirpate it entirely, while others have almost idolized it; the revolutions of countries have scarcely been more famous than the revolutions of beards. It is a great mark of infamy among the Arabs to cut off the beard. Many people would prefer death to this kind of treatment. As they would think it a grievous punishment to lose it, they carry things so far as to beg for the sake of it: "By your beard, by the life of your beard, God preserve your blessed beard." When they would express their value for any thing, they say, "It is worth more than a man's beard." And hence we may easily learn the magnitude of the offence of the Ammonites in their treatment of David's ambassadors, as above mentioned; and also the force of the emblem used  Ezekiel 5:1-5 , where the inhabitants of Jerusalem are compared to the hair of his head and beard. Though they had been dear to God as the hair of an eastern beard to its owner, they should be taken away and consumed, one part by pestilence and famine, another by the sword, another by the calamities incident on exile.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

With Asiatics, a badge of manly dignity. The Egyptians mostly shaved the hair of the face and head, except in mourning. In consonance with this Egyptian usage, Scripture, with the undesigned propriety of truth, represents Joseph as having "shaved his beard," which he had allowed to grow in prison, before entering Pharaoh's presence ( Genesis 41:14). Many Egyptians wore a false beard of plaited hair, private individuals small ones, kings long ones square below, the gods one turning at the end. Their enemies are represented bearded on the monuments.

The Jews were forbidden to "round the corners of their heads or mar (i.e. shave off) the corners of their beards" ( Leviticus 19:27;  Leviticus 21:5). Baal worshippers rounded the beard and hair to make their faces round, like the sun. The Arabs trimmed their beard round in sign of dedication to some idol. Possibly the Israelites retained the hair between the ear and eye, which the Arabs shaved away ( Jeremiah 9:26 margin;  Jeremiah 25:23;  Jeremiah 49:32; compare Herodotus, 3:8).

The beard is sworn by in the E. as an object of veneration. Not to trim it marked affliction, as in Mephibosheth's case during Absalom's occupation of Jerusalem ( 2 Samuel 19:24). An insult to it was resented as a gross outrage, as David did when Hanun shaved off half the beards of his ambassadors ( 2 Samuel 10:4). Compare God's threat of "shaving" away His people as "hair" with the Assyrian king as His "razor" ( Isaiah 7:20). This was one gross indignity to which Jesus was subjected: "I gave My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair" ( Isaiah 50:6). It was shaved in mourning ( Isaiah 15:2;  Jeremiah 41:5;  Jeremiah 48:37). Only the nearest friends were permitted to touch the beard, which marks the foul treachery of Joab in taking his cousin Amasa's beard to kiss him, or rather it ( 2 Samuel 20:9). The precious ointment flowed from Aaron's head at his consecration, upon his beard ( Psalms 133:2). The leper, at purification, had to shave his head and beard and eyebrows ( Leviticus 14:9).

People's Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Beard. The nations of western Asia paid great attention to their beard. In this respect they differed from the Egyptians, who shaved, except when mourning,  Genesis 41:14; though they had the custom of wearing false beards, made of plaited hair, and graduated according to rank. For private persons these were small, about two inches long; for kings, much longer and square at the bottom; while gods had beards of which the lower part curled up. The Hebrews probably, allowed their beards to grow when in Egypt; and we find in their subsequent history that neglect of them was a proof of slovenliness, and allowable only in seasons of distress.  2 Samuel 19:24. They were carefully trimmed and perfumed.  Psalms 133:2. They were not to be touched by others, except by intimate friends, with the right hand, in a way of affectionate reverence, or to be respectfully kissed,  2 Samuel 20:9; and any indignity offered to them by pulling, spitting, or the like, was highly resented. Hence there could have been no greater insult than that shown by Hanun to David's ambassadors.  2 Samuel 10:4. Shaving the beard, or cutting it off, was a sign of the deepest degradation,  Isaiah 15:2;  Jeremiah 41:5, hence the threatening in  Isaiah 7:20 was full of significance. There are some notices of the beard in the Hebrew ritual. Thus, the recovered leper was to shave off his beard on the last day of his cleansing.  Leviticus 14:9; but generally the corners of the beard were not to be marred.  Leviticus 19:27;  Leviticus 21:5. This prohibition is supposed to be directed against shaving the beard where it joins the hair. Some Arabian tribes, it seems, did this in devoting themselves to an idol-god. See  Jeremiah 9:26;  Jeremiah 25:23;  Jeremiah 49:32.

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): (n.) The gills of some bivalves, as the oyster.

(2): (n.) Long or stiff hairs on a plant; the awn; as, the beard of grain.

(3): (n.) The byssus of certain shellfish, as the muscle.

(4): (n.) A barb or sharp point of an arrow or other instrument, projecting backward to prevent the head from being easily drawn out.

(5): (n.) The cluster of small feathers at the base of the beak in some birds

(6): (n.) The long hairs about the face in animals, as in the goat.

(7): (n.) The hair that grows on the chin, lips, and adjacent parts of the human face, chiefly of male adults.

(8): (n.) The appendages to the jaw in some Cetacea, and to the mouth or jaws of some fishes.

(9): (n.) In insects, the hairs of the labial palpi of moths and butterflies.

(10): (v. t.) To deprive of the gills; - used only of oysters and similar shellfish.

(11): (v. t.) To oppose to the gills; to set at defiance.

(12): (n.) That part of a type which is between the shoulder of the shank and the face.

(13): (v. t.) To take by the beard; to seize, pluck, or pull the beard of (a man), in anger or contempt.

(14): (n.) An imposition; a trick.

(15): (n.) That part of the under side of a horse's lower jaw which is above the chin, and bears the curb of a bridle.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

The Hebrews regarded a thin, scanty beard as a great deformity; while a long, full, flowing beard was esteemed the noblest ornament of personal beauty and dignity. A man's honor was lodged, as it were, his beard. To insult it by word or act was the grossest indignity; to take it respectfully in the right hand and kiss it, was a mode of expressing high esteem and love permitted only to the nearest friends. It was cherished with great care,  Psalm 133:2   Daniel 10:3 . To neglect, tear, or cut it, indicated the deepest grief,  Ezra 9:3   Isaiah 15:2   Jeremiah 41:5   48:37; while to be deprived of it was a mark of servility and infamy. Many would prefer death to such a mutilation. These facts explain many passages of Scripture: as the gross insult offered to David's ambassadors,  2 Samuel 10:4-14; the zealous indignation of Nehemiah,  Nehemiah 13:25; the mode in which the feigned insanity of David was expressed,  1 Samuel 21:12 , and the grief of Mephibosheth,  1 Samuel 19:24; the treachery of Judas; also several passages in the prophets,  Isaiah 7:20   50:6   Ezekiel 5:1-5 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

 Jeremiah 9:26 Jeremiah 25:23 Jeremiah 49:32 Leviticus 19:27 Leviticus 21:5 2 Samuel 10:4-5 Isaiah 50:6 Isaiah 7:20 Isaiah 15:2 Jeremiah 41:5 Jeremiah 48:37 Ezekiel 5:1 zaqan  Judges 19:16 Genesis 24:2 Zechariah 8:4 Exodus 19:7 2 Samuel 19:24  Leviticus 13:45 Ezekiel 24:17 24:22 Micah 3:7 Micah 3:7 Leviticus 13:45 Ezekiel 24:17 24:22 Leviticus 13:45 Ezekiel 24:17 24:22

King James Dictionary [7]

BEARD, n. berd. L.barba.

1. The hair that grows on the chin,lips and adjacent parts of the face,chiefly of male adults hence a mark of virility. A gray beard, long beard and reverend beard, are terms for old age. 2. Beard is sometimes used for the face, and to do a thing to a man's beard,is to do it in defiance, or to his face. 3. The awn or sharp prickles on the ears of corn. But more technically, parallel hairs or a tuft of stiff hairs terminating the leaves of plants, a species of pubescence. By some authors the name is given to the lower lip of a ringent corol. 4. A barb or sharp point of an arrow, or other instrument, bent backward from the end to prevent its being easily drawn out. 5. The beard or chuck of a horse, is that part which bears the curb of a bridle,underneath the lower mandible and above the chin. 6. The rays of a comet, emitted towards that part of the heaven to which its proper motion seems to direct it. 7. The threads or hairs of an oyster, muscle or similar shell-fish, by which they fasten themselves to stones. 8. In insects, two small, oblong, fleshy bodies, placed just above the trunk, as in gnats, moths and butterflies.

BEARD, berd. To take by the beard to seize, pluck, or pull the beard, in contempt or anger.

1. To oppose to the face to set at defiance.

I have been bearded by boys.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [8]

Beard. Western Asiatics have always cherished the beard as the badge of the dignity of manhood, and attached to it, the importance of a feature. The Egyptians, on the contrary, for the most part, shaved the hair of the face and head, though we find some instances to the contrary. The beard is the object of an oath, and that on which , blessing or shame is spoken of as resting.

The custom was and is to shave or pluck it and the hair out in mourning,  Ezra 9:3;  Isaiah 15:2;  Isaiah 50:6;  Jeremiah 41:5;  Jeremiah 48:37,  Baruch 6:31; to neglect it in seasons of permanent affliction,  2 Samuel 19:24, and to regard any insult to it as the last outrage which enmity can inflict.  2 Samuel 10:4. The beard was the object of salutation.  2 Samuel 20:9. The dressing, trimming, anointing, etc., of the beard was performed with much ceremony, by persons of wealth and rank.  Psalms 133:2. The removal of the beard was a part of the ceremonial treatment proper to a leper.  Leviticus 14:9.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

The Israelites always cultivated the beard, and highly valued it. The law forbade them to 'mar the corners of their beards,'  Leviticus 19:27 , and a priest must not shave off the corner of his beard as a sign of mourning.  Leviticus 21:5 . King Hanun inflicted a sore indignity when he marred the beards of David's ambassadors.  2 Samuel 10:4 . Ezra in great grief at the sin of the people plucked off the hair of his head and of his beard.  Ezra 9:3 : cf.  Jeremiah 41:5 . God's judgement on Israel is compared to the beard being consumed by a razor,  Isaiah 7:20; and they were to be scattered as hair that is cut off.  Ezekiel 5:1,2,12 . Of Moab it was said, every beard should be cut off.  Isaiah 15:2;  Jeremiah 48:37 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Leviticus 19:27 21:5 Psalm 133:2 2 Samuel 19:24 Isaiah 15:2 Jeremiah 41:5 Isaiah 50:6 Jeremiah 48:37 Ezra 9:3 2 Samuel 10:4

On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also ( Genesis 41:14 ).

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [11]

 1 Chronicles 19:5 (c) This typifies full manhood and the glory of maturity. The beard when cut subjected them to open shame and ridicule.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [12]

BEARD . See Hair.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

bērd  :

(1) Western Semites in general, according to the monuments, wore full round beards, to which they evidently devoted great care. The nomads of the desert, in distinction from the settled Semites, wore a clipped and pointed beard (see  Jeremiah 9:26 : "all that have the corners of their hair cut off, that dwell in the wilderness"; and compare   Jeremiah 25:23;  Jeremiah 49:32 , etc.).

(2) Long beards are found on Assyrian and Babylonian monuments and sculptures as a mark of the highest aristocracy (compare Egyptian monuments, especially representations by W. Max Müller, Asien und Europa , 140). It is not clear that it was ever so with the Jews. Yet it is significant that the Hebrew "elder" ( zāḳēn ) seems to have received his name from his long beard (compare bene barbatus ).

(3) The view of some that it was customary among the Hebrews to shave the upper lip is considered by the best authorities as without foundation. The mustache (Hebrew sāphām , "beard"), according to  2 Samuel 19:24 , received regular "trimming" (Thus English Versions of the Bible after the Vulgate, but the Hebrew is generic, not specific: "He had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard").

(4) In one case ( 1 Samuel 21:13 ,  1 Samuel 21:14 ) the neglect of the beard is set down as a sign of madness: "(He) let his spittle fall down upon his beard. Then said Achish,... Lo, ye see the man is mad."

(5) It was common. Semitic custom to cut both hair and beard as a token of grief or distress.  Isaiah 15:2 , describing the heathen who have "gone up to the high places to weep," says "Moab waileth over Nebo, and over Medeba; on all their heads is baldness, every beard is cut off." Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 41:5 ), describing the grief of the men of Samaria for their slain governor, Gedaliah, says, "There came men from ... Samaria (his sorrowing subjects) even four score men, having their beards shaven and their clothes rent," etc. And Amos, in his prophecy of the vision of the "basket of summer fruit" ( Amos 8:1 ), makes Yahweh say to His people: "I will turn your feasts into mourning;... I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head" ( Amos 8:10 ). On the other hand it was even more significant of great distress or fear to leave the beard untrimmed, as did Mephibosheth, the son of Saul, when he went to meet King David, in the crisis of his guilty failure to go up with the king according to his expectation: "He had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace." (Compare  1 Samuel 21:13 ,  1 Samuel 21:14;  2 Samuel 19:24 .)

(6) Absalom's hair was cut only once a year, it would seem ( 2 Samuel 14:26; compare rules for priests, Levites, etc.,  Ezekiel 44:20 ). But men then generally wore their hair longer than is customary or seemly with us (of  Song of Solomon 5:2 ,  Song of Solomon 5:11 , "His locks are bushy, and black as a raven"). Later, in New Testament times, it was a disgrace for a man to wear long hair ( 1 Corinthians 11:6-15 ). To mutilate the beard of another was considered a great indignity (see  2 Samuel 10:4; compare  Isaiah 50:6 , "plucked off the hair"). The shaving of the head of a captive slave-girl who was to be married to her captor marked her change of condition and prospects ( Deuteronomy 21:12; W. R. Smith, Kinship , 209).


Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians , II, 324, 349; Herod. i.195; ii.36; iii.12; Josephus, Antiquities , VIII, viii, 3; Xvi , viii, 1; W. R. Smith, Kinship , 209; RS, 324; Wellhausen, Skizzen , III, 167,