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, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. 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.
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