Should Men Wear Beards?

Leviticus 19:27, You shall not shave around the sides of your beard.

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?


12 thoughts on “Should Men Wear Beards?

  1. In 2 Samuel 10:4-5 we read about the king of Amon who shaved off half the beards of David’s servant’s and how they were deeply humiliated and stayed in Yericho until their beards had grown back before returning back home. This passage infers that all Israelites at this time in history did wear beards although we still don’t know whether they were commanded by Adonai to do so. It seems to me that when men started to shave, it was the first step to feminizing themselves and now we have the drag queens.
    Blessings, Sonja

  2. I have heard it taught that Numbers 5:18 – regarding the law of the jealous husband – seems to assume that the woman is wearing a head covering just as the passage about the beard assumes the man has one.

    • My wife wrote a post about this on her blog a few years back that deals with how the Torah looks at women and head covering just as this post deals with men and beards. I think she did an excellent job of covering the topic! 🙂

    • Hello Kraig. The rules of my blog state that the posting of other websites and blogs on this site must be first pre-approved. This is because we need to insure that what passes through the gate is not antithetical to biblical truth. After reading your wife’s excellent blog post on head coverings, I decided that it would be an excellent addition to this blog, so I allowed it to be posted. It is one of the best discussions of the topic of women’s head coverings that I’ve read. However, in the future, please respect the rules of this blog. Thank you for understanding.

      BTW, for you Torah Homschooling You Tube channel, allow me to direct your attention to our free resource called Torah Explorers that I wrote and published many years ago when we were homeschooling our own children and I was pastoring a congregation. You can find this free resource at

    • . It follows the traditional weekly Jewish parashah schedule and is pro-Torah and gospel oriented. Perhaps you’ll find it as a useful resource to link to in your homeschooling curricula. Blessings!

      • My wife stated that we already link to your excellent Torah Explorers in our weekly lesson plans for our Homeschooling families. 🙂

      • Thanks for allowing us to serve you in this regard. May YHVH be glorified as we all labor together to help bring in the harvest!

  3. I want to apologize. I completely understand and did not mean to act inappropriately. I put the link up when I first commented and figured you would need to approve it. When the commenter asked again after it was up, I was afraid she couldn’t see it under the reply I gave her, so that is why I posted it again. Again, I apologize for the confusion. 🙂 Thank you for the great blog. I really appreciate all your hard work!

    I regularly use your materials and while we haven’t used all of Torah Explorers, we have used some of them. Great stuff! Thank you again!

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