|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews (Leviticus 19:27; 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel's (5:1-4) description of the "razor" i.e., the agents of an angry providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews. It was a part of a Jew's daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil and perfume (Psalm 133:2). Beards were trimmed with the most fastidious care (2 Samuel 19:24), and their neglet was an indication of deep sorrow (Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 41:5). The custom was to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isaiah 50:6; Jeremiah 48:37; Ezra 9:3). The beards of David's ambassadors were cut off by hanun (2 Samuel 10:4) as a Mark of indignity.
On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Genesis 41:14).
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) The hair that grows on the chin, lips, and adjacent parts of the human face, chiefly of male adults.
2. (n.) The long hairs about the face in animals, as in the goat.
3. (n.) The cluster of small feathers at the base of the beak in some birds
4. (n.) The appendages to the jaw in some Cetacea, and to the mouth or jaws of some fishes.
5. (n.) The byssus of certain shellfish, as the muscle.
6. (n.) The gills of some bivalves, as the oyster.
7. (n.) In insects, the hairs of the labial palpi of moths and butterflies.
8. (n.) Long or stiff hairs on a plant; the awn; as, the beard of grain.
9. (n.) A barb or sharp point of an arrow or other instrument, projecting backward to prevent the head from being easily drawn out.
10. (n.) That part of the under side of a horse's lower jaw which is above the chin, and bears the curb of a bridle.
11. (n.) That part of a type which is between the shoulder of the shank and the face.
12. (n.) An imposition; a trick.
13. (v. t.) To take by the beard; to seize, pluck, or pull the beard of (a man), in anger or contempt.
14. (v. t.) To oppose to the gills; to set at defiance.
15. (v. t.) To deprive of the gills; -- used only of oysters and similar shellfish.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) Western Semites in general, according to the monuments, wore full round beards, to which they evidently devoted great care. The nomads of the desert, in distinction from the settled Semites, wore a clipped and pointed beard (see Jeremiah 9:26: "all that have the corners of their hair cut off, that dwell in the wilderness"; and compare 25:23; 49:32, etc.).
(2) Long beards are found on Assyrian and Babylonian monuments and sculptures as a mark of the highest aristocracy (compare Egyptian monuments, especially representations by W. Max Muller, Asien und Europa, 140). It is not clear that it was ever so with the Jews. Yet it is significant that the Hebrew "elder" (zaqen) seems to have received his name from his long beard (compare bene barbatus).
(3) The view of some that it was customary among the Hebrews to shave the upper lip is considered by the best authorities as without foundation. The mustache (Hebrew sapham, "beard"), according to 2 Samuel 19:24, received regular "trimming" (thus English Versions of the Bible after the Vulgate, but the Hebrew is generic, not specific: "He had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard").
(4) In one case (1 Samuel 21:13, 14) the neglect of the beard is set down as a sign of madness: "(He) let his spittle fall down upon his beard. Then said Achish,. Lo, ye see the man is mad."
(5) It was common. Semitic custom to cut both hair and beard as a token of grief or distress. Isaiah 15:2, describing the heathen who have "gone up to the high places to weep," says "Moab waileth over Nebo, and over Medeba; on all their heads is baldness, every beard is cut off." Jeremiah (Jeremiah 41:5), describing the grief of the men of Samaria for their slain governor, Gedaliah, says, "There came men from. Samaria (his sorrowing subjects) even four score men, having their beards shaven and their clothes rent," etc. And Amos, in his prophecy of the vision of the "basket of summer fruit" (Amos 8:1), makes Yahweh say to His people: "I will turn your feasts into mourning;. I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head" (Amos 8:10). On the other hand it was even more significant of great distress or fear to leave the beard untrimmed, as did Mephibosheth, the son of Saul, when he went to meet King David, in the crisis of his guilty failure to go up with the king according to his expectation: "He had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace." (Compare 1 Samuel 21:13, 14 2 Samuel 19:24.)
(6) Absalom's hair was cut only once a year, it would seem (2 Samuel 14:26; compare rules for priests, Levites, etc., Ezekiel 44:20). But men then generally wore their hair longer than is customary or seemly with us (of Songs 5:2, 11, "His locks are bushy, and black as a raven"). Later, in New Testament times, it was a disgrace for a man to wear long hair (1 Corinthians 11:6-15). To mutilate the beard of another was considered a great indignity (see 2 Samuel 10:4; compare Isaiah 50:6, "plucked off the hair"). The shaving of the head of a captive slave-girl who was to be married to her captor marked her change of condition and prospects (Deuteronomy 21:12; W. R. Smith, Kinship, 209).
Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, II, 324, 349; Herod. i0.195; ii0.36; iii0.12; Josephus, Antiquities, VIII, viii, 3; XVI, viii, 1; W. R. Smith, Kinship, 209; RS, 324; Wellhausen, Skizzen, III, 167,
George B. Eager
Beard (23 Occurrences)
Leviticus 13:29 "When a man or woman has a plague on the head or on the beard, (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Leviticus 13:30 then the priest shall examine the plague; and behold, if its appearance is deeper than the skin, and the hair in it is yellow and thin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is an itch, it is leprosy of the head or of the beard. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Leviticus 14:9 It shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his body in water, then he shall be clean. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Leviticus 19:27 "'You shall not cut the hair on the sides of your heads, neither shall you clip off the edge of your beard. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Leviticus 21:5 "'They shall not shave their heads, neither shall they shave off the corners of their beards, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 17:35 I went out after him, and struck him, and rescued it out of his mouth. When he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and struck him, and killed him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
1 Samuel 21:13 He changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down on his beard. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 10:4 So Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 10:5 When they told it to David, he sent to meet them; for the men were greatly ashamed. The king said, "Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return." (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 19:24 Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; and he had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS RSV)
2 Samuel 20:9 Joab said to Amasa, "Is it well with you, my brother?" Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 19:5 Then there went certain persons, and told David how the men were served. He sent to meet them; for the men were greatly ashamed. The king said, "Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return." (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezra 9:3 When I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down confounded. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Psalms 133:2 It is like the precious oil on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron's beard; that came down on the edge of his robes; (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 7:20 In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired in the parts beyond the River, even with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 15:2 They have gone up to Bayith, and to Dibon, to the high places, to weep. Moab wails over Nebo and over Medeba. Baldness is on all of their heads. Every beard is cut off. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 50:6 I was offering my back to those who gave me blows, and my face to those who were pulling out my hair: I did not keep my face covered from marks of shame. (See NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 9:26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that have the corners of their beard cut off, that dwell in the wilderness: for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart. (DBY YLT)
Jeremiah 25:23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that have the corners of their beard cut off; (DBY YLT)
Jeremiah 48:37 For every head is bald, and every beard clipped: on all the hands are cuttings, and on the waist sackcloth. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 5:1 You, son of man, take a sharp sword; You shall take it as a barber's razor to you, and shall cause it to pass on your head and on your beard: then take balances to weigh, and divide the hair. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 24:17 Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind thy turban upon thee, and put thy sandals upon thy feet, and cover not the beard, and eat not the bread of men. (DBY)
Ezekiel 24:22 And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover the beard, neither eat the bread of men; (DBY)