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; 50:6; Jeremiah 41:5; 48:37) Bar. 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)
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