Jump to: ISBEEaston'sWebster'sThesaurusHebrewLibrarySubtopicsTerms
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


(1) The English word "barber" is from Latin barba, "beard" = a man who shaves the beard. Dressing and trimming the hair came to be added to his work. "Barber" is found only once English Versions of the Bible, in Ezekiel 5:1, "Take thee a sharp sword; as a barber's razor shalt thou take it unto thee, and shalt cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard" (compare Chaghigha' 4b, Shab, section 6).

(2) In Genesis 41:14 we probably have a case of conformity to Egyptian, rather than Palestinian custom, where Joseph "shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh." It is known that Egyptians of the higher classes shaved the beard regularly and completely (as the Hittites, Elamites and early Babylonians seem to have done), except that fashion allowed, as an exception to the rule, a small tuft, or "goatee," under the chin.

(3) We learn from various Scriptural allusions, as well as from other sources (compare W. Max Muller, Asien und Europa, 296), that the business of the oriental barber included, besides ceremonial shaving, the trimming and polling of the hair and the beard. Compare 2 Samuel 19:24 where it appears that the moustache (Hebrew sapham; the King James Version "beard") received regular trimming; and 1 Samuel 21:14, where the neglect of the beard is set down as a sign of madness.

That men wore wigs and false beards in ancient days, the latter showing the rank of the wearer, appears from Herodotus ii0.36; iii0.12; and Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt, II, 324, etc. Josephus, Vita, II, gives one case where false hair appears to have been used as an intentional disguise. See also Polyb. iii0.78.

(4) The business of the barber (see Ezekiel 5:1, "as a barber's razor shalt thou take it unto thee, and shalt cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard"), outside of ceremonial shaving, may have consisted in trimming and polling the beard and the hair of the head. Of other nations with whom Israel of old came in contact, the Hittites and Elamites, it is now known, shaved the beard completely, as the earliest Babylonians also seem to have done.

(5) The prohibition enjoined in the Mosaic law upon "the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok" (Ezekiel 44:15, 20) forbidding either "shaving the head," or "suffering their locks to grow long," or shaving off the corners of their beard (Leviticus 21:5), was clearly, in a sense peculiar to the priests, etc.: "They (the priests) shall only cut off," i.e. trim, not shave, "the hair of their heads" (Ezekiel 44:20). But in the Apostolical Constitutions, I, 3, insistence is laid upon the Biblical prohibition as applicable to all as regards the removal of the beard (compare Clement of Alexandria, Paed., III, edition Migne, I, 580). Jerome on Ezekiel 44:20 and some of the Jewish sages find the basis of this prohibition in the fact that God gave a beard to man to distinguish him from the woman-so, they reasoned, it is wrong thus to go against Nature (compare Bahya, on Leviticus 19:27).

(6) In the Palestine of the Greek period, say in the 3rd century B.C., when there was a large infusion of Hellenic population and influence, clipping of the beard prevailed in some circles, being omitted only in times of mourning, etc. The common people, however, seem to have seen little distinction between clipping the beard and shaving. But see pictures of captive Jews with clipped beard in the British Museum.


Benzinger, heb. Arch., 110; Nowack, Lehrbuch der Heb. Arch., 134; W. Max Muller, Asien und Europa, 296.

George B. Eager

Strong's Hebrew
1532. gallab -- a barber
... 1531, 1532. gallab. 1533 . a barber. Transliteration: gallab Phonetic
Spelling: (gal-lawb') Short Definition: barber's. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/1532.htm - 5k

... Barber. Barber, Mary Ann Serrett, was an Englishwoman, the daughter of Thomas
Barber. She wrote many poems for the Church of England ...
// writers of the church/barber.htm

Wesley and his Barber
... Chapter 9. Wesley's Marriage; Dealings with Cornwall Smugglers; His Illness
and Recovery Wesley and His Barber. Thursday, April 11 ...
/.../wesley/the journal of john wesley/wesley and his barber.htm

A Story of a Barber's Payments, Introduced for the Sake of ...
... The Conferences of John Cassian. Chapter XIII. A story of a barber's payments,
introduced for the sake of recognizing the devil's illusions. ...
/.../cassian/the conferences of john cassian/chapter xiii a story of.htm

Herod by Caesars Direction Accuses his Sons at Eurytus. They are ...
... 5. At which time there was a certain barber, whose name was Trypho. This
man leaped out from among the people in a kind of madness ...
/.../chapter 27 herod by caesars.htm

First Day in New York
... Now, Father, you have to hurry, because the barber shop closes at 12 o'clock
and you only have the necessary time to change your dress. ...
/.../chapter iii first day in.htm

To the Rev. A. Brandram
... my stay in Madrid, finding myself scarcely able to stand, I was fain to submit to
a somewhat desperate experiment, and by the advice of the barber-surgeon who ...
/.../borrow/letters of george borrow/to the rev a brandram 25.htm

1872-1874. Letter from Rev. AMW Christopher --Letter from Gulf of ...
... Lawrence. I heard that Miss Barber, the Lady Superintendent, was nursing some
of the children who had the smallpox. I went to see her. ...
// answers/chapter v 1872-1874 letter from.htm

How Herod, by Permission from Caesar Accused his Sons Before an ...
... 6. When this was over, one Trypho, who was the king's barber, took the opportunity,
and came and told the king, that Tero would often have persuaded him, when ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 11 how herod by.htm

Jeremy Taylor -- Christ's Advent to Judgment
in Cambridge, England, in 1613, was the son of a barber. By ...
/.../various/the worlds great sermons vol 2/jeremy taylor christs advent.htm

Change not Always Improvement.
... Whence comes it that some of our Numidians, with their long locks made longer by
horsetail plumes, learn to bid the barber shave their skin close, and to ...
/.../tertullian/on the pallium/chapter iv change not always improvement.htm

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Found only once, in Ezek. 5:1, where reference is made to the Jewish custom of shaving the head as a sign of mourning. The Nazarites were untouched by the razor from their birth (Numbers 6:5). Comp. Judges 16:19.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) One whose occupation it is to shave or trim the beard, and to cut and dress the hair of his patrons.

2. (v. t.) To shave and dress the beard or hair of.

... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. BARBER. bar'-ber: (1) The English word "barber"
is from Latin barba, "beard" = a man who shaves the beard. ...
/b/barber.htm - 11k

Barber's (1 Occurrence)
... Multi-Version Concordance Barber's (1 Occurrence). Ezekiel 5:1 You, son
of man, take a sharp sword; You shall take it as a barber's...
/b/barber's.htm - 6k

Razor (8 Occurrences)
... 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 ...
/r/razor.htm - 10k

Hair (135 Occurrences)
... 1 Timothy 2:9 1 Peter 3:3). 6. Barbers: The care of the hair, especially the periodical
cutting of the same, early necessitated the trade of the barber. ...
/h/hair.htm - 60k

Barbed (1 Occurrence)

/b/barbed.htm - 7k

Barbs (2 Occurrences)

/b/barbs.htm - 6k

Balances (15 Occurrences)
... 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 ...
/b/balances.htm - 10k

Apportioned (24 Occurrences)
... Ezekiel 5:1 And thou, son of man, take to thee a sharp weapon, the barber's razor
thou dost take to thee, and thou hast caused 'it' to pass over thy head, and ...
/a/apportioned.htm - 13k

Knife (10 Occurrences)
... Ezekiel 5:1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's
razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee ...
/k/knife.htm - 13k



Barber: General Scriptures Concerning

Related Terms

Barber's (1 Occurrence)

Razor (8 Occurrences)

Hair (135 Occurrences)

Barbed (1 Occurrence)

Barbs (2 Occurrences)

Balances (15 Occurrences)

Apportioned (24 Occurrences)

Knife (10 Occurrences)


Weapon (21 Occurrences)

Shave (19 Occurrences)

Weigh (24 Occurrences)

Weighing (39 Occurrences)

Beard (23 Occurrences)

Divide (71 Occurrences)


Minor (2 Occurrences)

Asia (22 Occurrences)

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Top of Page
Top of Page