Is Long Hair Truly Shameful?
Every picture of our Lord depicts Him with long hair. One who complied with the Nazarite vow of holiness would agree not to cut his hair for a period of time. See Numbers 6:1-8. The period of time was up to the penitent to establish at the start, although Jewish tradition says it was normally 30 days. Thus, his hair could grow very long. The Jewish Encyclopedia relates:
The most prominent outward mark of the Nazarite was long, flowing hair, which was cut at the expiration of the vow and offered as a sacrifice (Num.l.c.; Jer. vii. 29). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=142&letter=N#ixzz1EL7A5TC4
Samson had long hair as a Nazarite, and in it was his power from God:
Samson was a Nazarite, whose mother abstained from wine during her pregnancy. His superhuman strength lay in his long, unshorn locks (Judges xiii.et seq.). Samuel's mother promised to dedicate him to God during his whole life, saying, "There shall no razor come upon his head" (I Sam. i. 11); http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=142&letter=N#ixzz1EL7QSboJ
The term "nazirite" comes from the Hebrew word nazir meaning "consecrated" or "separated." This vow required the man or woman to:
- Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, and according to some — alcohol and vinegar from alcohol
- Refrain from cutting the hair on one's head; and
- Avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members.
[Yahshua's / Jesus' remark 'let the dead bury their dead' takes on a potentially Nazirite significance.]
However, Paul says long hair is a 'shame' to the one with long hair. Paul in 1 Cor. 11:14 says:
"Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a dishonor to him?"
Can Paul be truly reconciled with the word of God?
Paulinists defend Paul by saying that a Nazarite let himself fall into a shameful appearance by having long hair. http://jesusalive.cc/ques193.htm
However, Paul is wrong. This conflict proves why reading a text is key. In Numbers 6:5, we read about the 'not cutting hair' principle as one to demonstrate greater holiness and consecration:
All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
Clearly long hair was a sign of greater holiness, just as avoiding wine and dead bodies was a state of greater holiness than ordinary life. Paul is wrong that long hair meant shame. That was a Roman belief, as all the statues of Caesar or of Roman statesmen always depict such men with short hair. A Paulinist defender unwittingly admits this:
You will find pictures of busts and statues of famous Greeks and Romans of Christ’s time. In every case, the men are portrayed with short hair similar to what we find today. ("Did Jesus Have Long Hair," http://www.thercg.org/articles/djhlh.html#c.)
Matthew Henry, the famous commentator, has it correct. He says that long hair "commanded respect," for this was how Nazirites were often identified among others. (Matthew Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1828) Vol. 1 at 342.) The long hair "was a testament that they had preserved their purity." Id.
Yahshua / Jesus likely did have long hair most of the time. This is not simply because 100% of all depictions show Him with long hair. Rather, it is because Yahshua / Jesus likely took periodic Nazirite vows. (At the end of which, Jesus would have cut His hair, per Numbers 6:18.) Here are statements by Yahshua / Jesus implying this:
Matthew 26:29: But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. [Note: This is one vow of a Nazirite.]
Luke 22:18: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
So Yahshua / Jesus refused to drink wine / fruit of the vine, just like a Nazarite would refuse it during the term of his vow. Yahshua / Jesus speaks of this again in Mark:
Mark 14:25: Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
Also, notice this:
Matthew 27:34: They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
While there is more than one reason why Yahshua / Jesus would not drink wine, the Nazarite vow apparently taken at the last meal before crucifixion would be another reason.
Paul errs saying that long hair is shameful. Biblically, it was a sign of honor.