Customs as to shaving differ in different countries, and in ancient and modern times. Among the Egyptians it was customary to shave the whole body (compare Genesis 41:14). With the Israelites, shaving the head was a sign of mourning (Deuteronomy 21:12; Job 1:20); ordinarily the hair was allowed to grow long, and was only cut at intervals (compare Absalom, 2 Samuel 14:26). Nazirites were forbidden to use a razor, but when their vow was expired, or if they were defiled, they were to shave the whole head (Numbers 6:5,9,18; compare Acts 21:24). The shaving of the beard was not permitted to the Israelites; they were prohibited from shaving off even "the corner of their beard" (Leviticus 21:5). It was an unpardonable insult when Hanun, king of the Ammonites, cut off the half of the beards of the Israelites whom David had sent to him (2 Samuel 10:4; 1 Chronicles 19:4).
Shaving "with a razor that is hired" is Isaiah's graphic figure to denote the complete devastation of Judah by the Assyrian army (Isaiah 7:20).
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