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Leviticus 19:27

    Leviticus 19:27 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shall you mar the corners of your beard.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    The ends of the hair round your face and on your chin may not be cut off.

    Webster's Revision

    Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

    World English Bible

    "'You shall not cut the hair on the sides of your heads, neither shall you clip off the edge of your beard.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

    Clarke's Commentary on Leviticus 19:27

    Ye shall not round the corners your heads - This and the following verse evidently refer to customs which must have existed among the Egyptians when the Israelites sojourned in Egypt; and what they were it is now difficult, even with any probability, to conjecture. Herodotus observes that the Arabs shave or cut their hair round, in honor of Bacchus, who, they say, had his hair cut in this way, lib. iii., cap. 8. He says also that the Macians, a people of Libya, cut their hair round, so as to leave a tuft on the top of the head, lib. iv., cap. 175. In this manner the Chinese cut their hair to the present day. This might have been in honor of some idol, and therefore forbidden to the Israelites.

    The hair was much used in divination among the ancients, and for purposes of religious superstition among the Greeks; and particularly about the time of the giving of this law, as this is supposed to have been the era of the Trojan war. We learn from Homer that it was customary for parents to dedicate the hair of their children to some god; which, when they came to manhood, they cut off and consecrated to the deity. Achilles, at the funeral of Patroclus, cut off his golden locks which his father had dedicated to the river god Sperchius, and threw them into the flood: -

    Στας απανευθε πυρης ξονθην απεκειρατο χαιτην,

    Την ῥα Σπερχειῳ ποταμῳ τρεφε τηλεθοωσαν·

    Οχθησας δ' αρα ειπεν, ιδων επι οινοπα ποντον·

    Σπερχει', αλλως σοι γε πατηρ ηρησατο Πηλευς. κ. τ. λ.

    Iliad, 1. xxiii., ver. 142, etc.

    But great Achilles stands apart in prayer,

    And from his head divides the yellow hair,

    Those curling locks which from his youth he vowed,

    And sacred threw to Sperchius' honored flood.

    Then sighing, to the deep his looks he cast,

    And rolled his eyes around the watery waste.

    Sperchius! whose waves, in mazy errors lost,


    Barnes' Notes on Leviticus 19:27

    Round the corners of your heads - This may allude to such a custom as that of the Arabs described by Herodotus. They used to show honor to their deity Orotal by cutting the hair away from the temples in a circular form. Compare the margin reference.

    Mar the corners of thy beard - It has been conjectured that this also relates to a custom which existed among the Arabs, but we are not informed that it had any idolatrous or magical association. As the same, or very similar customs, are mentioned in Leviticus 21:5, and in Deuteronomy 14:1, as well as here, it would appear that they may have been signs of mourning.

    Wesley's Notes on Leviticus 19:27

    19:27 The corners of your heads - That is your temples, ye shall not cut off the hair of your heads round about your temples. This the Gentiles did, either for the worship of their idols, to whom young men used to consecrate their hair, being cut off from their heads, as Homer, Plutarch and many others write; or in funerals or immoderate mournings, as appears from Isa 15:2 Jer 48:37. And the like is to be thought concerning the beard or the hair in the corner, that is, corners of the beard. The reason then of this prohibition is because God would not have his people agree with idolaters, neither in their idolatries, nor in their excessive sorrowing, no nor so much as in the appearances of it.