Leviticus 21:5

Hebrew Bible

3 and his virgin sister who is near to him, who has no husband—he may defile himself for her. 4 He must not defile himself as a husband among his people so as to profane himself. 5 Priests must not have a bald spot shaved on their head, they must not shave the corner of their beard, and they must not cut slashes in their body. 6 “‘They must be holy to their God, and they must not profane the name of their God, because they are the ones who present the Lord’s gifts, the food of their God. Therefore they must be holy. 7 They must not take a wife defiled by prostitution, nor are they to take a wife divorced from her husband, for the priest is holy to his God.

Ezekiel 44:20

Hebrew Bible

18 Linen turbans will be on their heads and linen undergarments will be around their waists; they must not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 When they go out to the outer court to the people, they must remove the garments they were ministering in and place them in the holy chambers; they must put on other garments so that they will not transmit holiness to the people with their garments. 20 “‘They must not shave their heads nor let their hair grow long; they must only trim their heads. 21 No priest may drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22 They must not marry a widow or a divorcee, but they may marry a virgin from the house of Israel or a widow who is a priest’s widow.

 Notes and References

"... At Leviticus 10:6–7 Moses warns priests against letting loose the hair, a sign of mourning punishable by death. Shaving the head is also a mourning practice (Ezekiel 7:18). The antipathy of holiness to death was clear in the treatment of dead-offerings and funerary monuments in Ezekiel 43 (see Comments on 43:1–12). Shortly, at verse 25, Ezekiel 44 will confirm the Zadokite view - priests must make every effort to avoid contact with the realm of death. They may come near a dead person only if it is “a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, or an unmarried sister” (as in Leviticus 21:1–4 HS). Holiness, we have repeatedly seen, is fundamentally oriented on life. Milgrom rightly insists that in the priestly vision, “holiness stands for life.” In this regard, Ezekiel 44:20 also parallels Leviticus 21:5-6, 10, which forbids priests from shaving their heads and cutting their bodies (compare the reference in Leviticus 19:28 to “gashes in your flesh for the dead”). Ezekiel 44 takes Holiness School rules about funerary practices and expresses them as more general rules about grooming. MacDonald notes that this confirms the priority of Holiness School: “It is readily apparent how a focus on the instructions about hair resulted in a loss of reference to mourning. It is difficult to see how the rules about hair would have developed into rules about mourning.” The more general focus on grooming creates a smooth transition in 44:17-24 between issues of dress and grooming inside the inner court (verse 17–19) and wider norms concerning priestly lifestyle and service (verse 21–24) ..."

Cook, Stephen L. Ezekiel 38-48: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (pp. 220-221) Yale University Press, 2018

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