Should Men Wear Beards?

Leviticus 19:27, You shall not shave around the sides of your beard.Should Men Wear Beards?

Some Torah scholars say that there is no place in the Torah, or anywhere else in the Scriptures, that explicitly commands men to wear beards. Others who are of the opinion that men should wear beards agree that while there may be no direct command to wear a beard, the Scriptures give an implied or indirect command to do so. In other words, it’s assumed that men will have a beard. I am of the latter opinion.

Some will point to Leviticus 19:27 and 21:5 in attempts to prove that men are to wear beards — that they are not to shave their beards. In reality, this command related specifically to shaving the beard in honor of the dead according to some ritual the ancient pagans practiced. In other words, YHVH is telling the Israelite men not to shave their beards as the pagans did in honor of the dead. What exactly that pagan practice was, we don’t know for sure.

Can these two verses be taken as a prohibition against a man shaving his beard? Those who say no will say that there is no direct command in the Bible to have a beard, but if you do have one, don’t shave it in honor of the dead as the pagans did. Those who say yes will say that these two verses imply a command for men to have a beard; that is, how can you cut something that you don’t already have? There are well-meaning people on both sides of this debate.

These things we know for sure. Aaron the high priest had a beard (Ps 133:2). Yeshua had a beard or else Isaiah 50:6 was a false prophecy. Ezekiel had a beard (Ezek 5:1), Ezra had a beard (Ezra 9:3); David had a beard (1 Sam 21:13); and many Israelite men wore beards (2 Sam 10:4-5; 1 Chr 19:5; Jer 41:5). It is also a religious Jewish tradition to this day for men to have beards, and we know that this tradition is rooted in antiquity.

One could also ask the question why would YHVH create men with facial hair if only for the purpose of shaving it off?


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