Isaiah 15:2

Hebrew Bible

1 This is an oracle about Moab: Indeed, in a night it is devastated, Ar of Moab is destroyed! Indeed, in a night it is devastated, Kir of Moab is destroyed! 2 They went up to the temple; the people of Dibon went up to the high places to lament. Because of what happened to Nebo and Medeba, Moab wails. Every head is shaved bare, every beard is trimmed off. 3 In their streets they wear sackcloth; on their roofs and in their town squares all of them wail; they fall down weeping. 4 The people of Heshbon and Elealeh cry out; their voices are heard as far away as Jahaz. For this reason Moab’s soldiers shout in distress; their courage wavers.

Jeremiah 7:29

Hebrew Bible

27 Then the Lord said to me, “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you. When you call out to them, they will not respond to you. 28 So tell them: ‘This is a nation that has not obeyed the Lord their God and has not accepted correction. Faithfulness is nowhere to be found in it. These people do not even profess it anymore. 29 So mourn, you people of this nation. Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the hilltops. For the Lord has decided to reject and forsake this generation that has provoked his wrath!’” 30 The Lord says, “I have rejected them because the people of Judah have done what I consider evil. They have set up their disgusting idols in the temple that I have claimed for my own and have defiled it. 31 They have also built places of worship in a place called Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing!

 Notes and References

"... This verb גזז [shear] in 1:20 is linguistically linked to the noun גז [wool, fleece] in 31:20 (vide infra). This link is significant because the majority of other instances (Genesis 31:19, 38:12.13; Deuteronomy 15:19; 1 Samuel 15:2, 4, 7, 11; 2 Samuel 13:23, 24; Isaiah 53:7) in the Hebrew Bible where this verb is used concern the shearing of sheep. It is only in Jeremiah 7:29, Micah 1:16 and Nahum 1:12 where it concerns a human being, in the former two instances more specifically suggesting lamentation and in the latter case a reference to destruction. In all the instances of ritual lamentation or mourning, that is, Isaiah 15:2, 22:12, Jeremiah 16:6, 41:5, 47:5, 48:37, Ezekiel 7:18 and Amos 8:10, which Clines (1989:135) mentions, this verb is never used. Many of these texts do not even mention the word שערה [hair] as if to avoid it, but describe the bodily state already after shaving as קרח [make]/[be] bald) or קרחה [baldness], a word, which does not appear in the book of Job either, despite both this book and these two words being closely linked to mourning and lamentation. In Micah 1:16, it is said of a נשר [vulture], which God mentions in Job 39:27 but then not related to its baldness. Another word, גרע [withdraw, diminish, shave], which sometimes appears as past participle connected to זקן [beard, not found in the book of Job either] in these texts is found in the book of Job but not in the sense of 'shaving' ..."

Van der Zwan, P. Hair Matters: The Psychoanalytical Significance of the Virtual Absence of Hair in the Book of Job in an African Context (pp. 1-8) HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 78(4), 2022

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