Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More beard insights

Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. 2 Samuel 10:4

"It is very difficult to convey to Western people how Easterners feel about their beards. It was a very ancient sacred belief of the Hebrews that a man’s strength was in his hair. They believed the hair contained life. Samson believed that his strength was in his hair. It served as a reminder of the divine promises which God had revealed to Samson’s mother and father.

Samson followed the Nazarite vow. No razor to touch his head. Among Semites, if anyone should make an unkind or unwise remark about another’s mustache, beard, or even dare to curse the beard of another man’s father, that one would be in deep trouble. He could lose his life over such remarks.

Eastern men love to swear on their beards. There is a great deal of body language with their beards. For instance, if an Easterner strokes his beard while you are speaking, this means he does not believe what you are saying. If he should hold his beard while you speak or teach, that means he trusts in what you say. (Watch the news about the Middle East with this in mind- it is very enlightening!)

The town officials will shave half the beard of a disgraced nobleman or a defrocked priest. They will also shave the hair of women who have committed acts of immorality. The women will also tear their garments as a sign of mourning over the deed they have done. Anyone looking at these men and women know they have received their punishment because of the half shaved beard or the shaved head (short hair). See I Cor. 11:5.

Semites consider the beard so highly that at times they will swear by the beards of a prophet, saint, or king. Some Moslems believe that a few hairs from the beard of their holy prophet Muhammad were preserved. Such holy relics are priceless. Pilgrims come from all over the world to visit holy places containing such relics….

David wanted to avenge his honor when he heard that the King of Ammon had disgraced his ambassadors. He commanded his men to stay at Jericho until their beards grew out again. In Eastern countries a man’s beard is a symbol of his dignity, honor, virility, and maturity. If the ambassadors had returned to Jerusalem with half-shaven beards, they would have become a laughingstock."

(Errico, Rocco A. Let There Be Light, Noohra Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico: 1994, pgs 174-175)

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