In spite of the popular belief (depicted in the drawing of artists) that Jesus had long hair, we believe he had short hair. It is a known fact that short hair was the norm throughout the Roman Empire in the First Century. This is borne out in various writings, such as “A History of the Holy Land” (Michael Evi-Yonah, editor). There are pictures in it of famous leaders (Augustus, Pompey, et al.) who are shown with short hair. Carvings and statures of famous men are portrayed as having short hair. Coins with the image of Caesar show him with closely cropped hair. There is nothing in the accounts of Jesus’ life (in the Four Gospels) to indicate that He looked different than other men of His day. In fact, just the opposite is true, as we see in the following account: “And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had GIVEN THEM A SIGN, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him’ Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him” (Matthew 26:47-49, NKJV). Surely if Jesus had long hair, there would have been no need for Judas to give the multitude a sign (i.e. a KISS) to point Him out to His enemies.

Some may be thinking, “Yes, it is true that the custom of that day was for men to have short hair, but wasn’t Jesus ‘under a Nazarite vow’ that commanded the Nazarite to wear his hair long?” This is based on Numbers 6:2 & 5, “When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to the LORD….All the days of the vow of his separation NO RAZOR SHALL COME UPON HIS HEAD; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD.” Again, contrary to popular beliefs Jesus was NOT under a Nazarite vow. You will look in vain for scriptures to support this view. Having said that, Jesus was a NAZARENE, and people have confused that with being a NAZARITE. Matthew 2:23 says, “And He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” It is clear that He was called a Nazarene because he lived in Nazareth, but it has nothing to do with the “vow of a Nazarite.”

Before we close, it is important to see that God actually condemns long hair on a man. 1st Corinthians 11:14-15 declares, “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her.” God wants men and women to look different! Why? Because they are different and God has ordained their hair to be one of the ways that this distinction between the sexes is manifested. If men choose to grow their hair long like a woman they dishonor themselves AND they dishonor the Lord Who created them. Regarding the Nazarite, as soon as his vow was completed, he was to shave his long hair off to avoid the shame connected with a man having long hair. “Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put in on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering” (Numbers 6:18). (341.5) (DO)