Leviticus 19:27 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(27) Round the corners of your heads.—That is, they are not to shave off the hair around the temples and behind the ears, so as to leave the head bald except a dish-like tuft upon the crown, thus imparting to their heads the form of a hemisphere. This was done by the Arabs, and other worshippers of the god Orotal. Hence the Arabs are ironically called “those with the corner of their hair polled,” as it is rightly rendered in the Margin (Jer. 9:26; Jer. 25:23; Jer. 49:32).
Mar the corners of thy beard.—The beard was regarded by the Hebrews and other eastern nations as the greatest ornament of a man, and was as dear to them as life itself. It was the object of salutation (2Sa. 20:9), and the mutilation of it was looked upon as the greatest disgrace and most degrading punishment (2Sa. 10:4; Isa. 7:20; Ezr. 5:1-5, &c.). It was only in seasons of sorrow that the Hebrews neglected their beards; and sometimes, to show how deeply they were afflicted, they covered them up, or even cut them off, or tore them out (2Sa. 19:24; Isa. 15:2; Jer. 41:5, &c.). Because it was so precious a treasure, it was customary among some of the ancients to present to their gods the firstlings of their beards. The prohibition before us alludes to this practice.
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.