Did Jesus have long hair?
While there are differing opinions on this subject, one thing is certain. We won’t know the answer to this question, until we go to Glory. No one knows. Not you, not me, not your preacher, not your grandma. Scripture is very clear on this...
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” II Corinthians 5:16
Many well meaning preachers and teachers of the Scripture, these days, who love God and are seeking to keep their young men clean, are misapplying verses about short hair on men, to Jesus. No one is implying that men, today, should have long hair, nor, am I giving license. We should go by the dictates of the Apostle Paul, who said…
“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” I Corinthians 11:14
For a man to have long hair, it is a “shame.” According to Paul, long hair is for a woman, because she is under authority.
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3. Please read the whole chapter.)
If it’s a shame for a man to have long hair, why write an article on it? Here is my answer: There are many wonderful truths, hidden in Scripture that, if we take the time to study, will help us grow spiritually perceptive lives.
Every subject in Scripture is important. Therefore, we will take the necessary time it takes to study this out.
Though the Jews were required not to round the corners of their heads nor mar the corners of their beards (Leviticus 19:27), that is not the reason for my allegation.
Instead of asking the initial question, “Did Jesus have long hair?” With your permission, I would like to modify that question a bit with a new question…
Is it possible that Jesus had long hair?
There, that’s an better question to ask. And, to that question, I respond with a resounding “YES!”
There are three main reasons that I believe He did.
1. His nature...
While I agree that I Corinthians 11:14 teaches that it is a shame for a man to have long hair, it is for those very reasons, I believe He did. There always seems be an exception to the rule, and I believe that He was that exception.
Here are some of the reasons...
First of all, being both God and man, Jesus didn't exactly have to go by the same rules we do. Now, don't laugh this off too quickly. Remember, the Scripture does say that He was "in the form of God" (Philippians 2:6).
And, being in the form of God, doesn't it stand to reason that He was also in the form of man? Yes, it does. He was in the form of God, and He was also in the “likeness” of man.
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men….” Philippians 2:7
Since Jesus was both God and man, who should dictate the length His of hair? …A Baptist preacher?!
Let’s go further.
Don't we believe that Jesus appeared as the Angel of the Lord, in the Old Testament, and the fourth man in the fire? (Genesis sixteen and Daniel three) What did He look like, back then? And, while we are pondering that, what will He look like in the future, with legs of brass and a head of "...hairs...white like wool, as white as snow; and...eyes...as a flame of fire...", at His Second Coming? (Revelation 1:14)
Will the length of His hair be a "sin," then? Will someone quote I Corinthians eleven to Jesus, at His (Second) Coming, by telling Him that "...was dead..." and is "...alive for evermore…”, who has “…the keys of hell and of death…" (Revelation 1:18), that He went against Scripture?
2. To fulfill a type...
The type I am referring to, here, was Samson.
Please, read Judges chapters thirteen to sixteen.
Samson was a type of Christ.
He ate honey out of the dead carcass of a Lion. Judges fourteen (Revelation 5:5, Psalm 119:103)
He told riddles. Judges fourteen (Like Jesus told parables—Ezekiel 17:2, Matthew thirteen)
He had a Nazarite vow…
“For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.” Judges 13:5-7
Like Samson, as far as we know, Jesus never drank wine or grape juice. (Scripture does not say.) He was accused of drinking it (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34), and gave it to his Disciples. (Matthew 26:27-29) But, at the last supper, he—who turned water into wine ...John 2:1-11—would "not drink" it himself. (Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25) It was offered to him on the cross, “…but he received it not.” (Mark 15:23)
[By the way, Jesus never came near a dead body that He did not raise. (See Numbers 6:9)]
Since the only way someone knew that a man had a Nazarite vow was the length of their hair, the only difference between Samson and Jesus, at this point, concerning a vow, is that the Scripture never says anything about Jesus' hair.
3. To fulfill prophecy...
Although Psalm 44 has a direct reference to Israel, verse 15 refers to an individual…
“My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me….”
Psalm 69 is the great prophetical chapter on the coming of Christ. Please take time to read it. You will be glad you did. Here are two verses that deal with this subject.
“Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.” (Verse 7)
“Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.” (Verse 19)
Here, read Isaiah 50:6 and Isaiah 53.
What shame and reproach did Jesus bear? Was it only on Calvary? Wasn't that reproach prophesied before he died—calling him “lowly” (Zechariah 9:9), and “meek” (Matthew 21:5) and of “no reputation”? (Philippians 2:7)
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)
How did Jesus humble himself? Wasn’t it from and through the incarnation? Wasn’t He humble all His life—learning obedience through the things He suffered? (Hebrews 5:8) The question comes in, here, when did He start bearing shame? Didn’t He constantly please the Father, by always submitting to the dictates of Scripture? Didn’t He say, “I do always those things that please him…”? (John 8:29)
Why was it necessary for Jesus to have long hair? So, He could fulfill the types and prophecies about it. How was that accomplished? By fulfilling the law of God (found in Numbers six), concerning a Nazarite vow.
You might have an objection, here, saying that “It doesn’t say anywhere in Scripture that Jesus had a vow. If He had a Nazarite vow, like the Apostle Paul took one in Acts 21, we would know it. So, that seals it, for me.” You may be right, but Scripture doesn’t always say something just because we want to know. A lot of things that we don’t understand today, we will realize later in Glory. (I Corinthians 13:12)
Someone suggested, that if Jesus had a vow, when Judas turned him in to the authorities, instead of saying “…Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he…” (Matthew 26:48), Judas would have said “the man you are looking for is the man with the long hair.”
That may be true, but it was not uncommon, back then, for Jews to take a Nazarite vow (remember Paul). And, don’t forget, it was after supper had ended, early in April. (Matthew 26:30) Maybe He slipped on his poncho because it was cool in the evening, in the Mount of Olives, and decided to cover His head.
Though Jesus was a rugged carpenter, Scripture never indicates that His hair was ever untidy or unkempt.
Last, and most important, let’s say, for argument sake, that Jesus, like Sampson, had a Nazarite vow on him, from the womb. When would that vow have ended? According to Numbers chapter six, the priest offered “…a sin-offering, and…a burnt offering to make an atonement for him…” (verse 12), after the vow was done. Should the spotless Lamb of God have a lamb offered for Him, for a “trespass-offering”? May I remind you that Jesus was not a sinner; He was the Saviour. "All the days of His Separation, he is holy unto the Lord." (Numbers 6:8) Jesus was holy all his life, and never was defiled. Therefore, he never needed to cut His hair. That is why I conclude that His vow would have lasted His entire life; until He made the atonement for our sin(s). Truly, it’s a shame for a man to have long hair. (I Corinthians 11:14)
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
When did that shame begin? At His Birth (Judges 13:7, Luke 1:31—please compare these two verses)? Or, at His crucifixion?
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: 3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. 4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. 5 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. 6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. 7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. 8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD. 9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. 10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day. 12 And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.
13 ¶ And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 14 And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings, 15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings. 16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: 17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering. 18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings. 19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: 20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine. 21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.
22 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
Did Jesus have a Nazarite vow?
Jesus was God's anointed. He didn't need a vow because He WAS the vow. (Read that last sentence again.) He was the One that all those who took that vow emulated. He was holiness unto the Lord all His days. (Exodus 15:11) Don't forget, Jesus was NOT a sinner. What kind of “vow” (Numbers 6:2) would God incarnate have had to take anyway?
Unlike a Nazarite who took a vow for a certain amount of time, it is “...evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” (Hebrews 7:15-16) Jesus is/was ETERNAL God, born in time (see Exodus 3:14; John 8:58; 5:18), so there was no “carnal” vow needed.
Jesus the “Winebibber”
Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
If John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, was not to drink “wine” or “strong drink,” wouldn't the same hold true for his cousin, the Messiah? Let's face it, there is no indication that John ever had a Nazarite vow, yet, he was instructed not to partake. What can we make of this interesting find? It might help us understand that there is a bigger picture that needs to be observed here. If John was filled with the Holy Ghost “FROM his mother's womb,” (emphasis mine) what can we say of the Messiah who “...received not the spirit by measure...”? (John 3:34) In other words (Jesus, the Son of God) had the Spirit of God [the Holy Ghost] FROM conception. (Luke 1:35)
If the above paragraph is true (...and, it is), ask yourself this question...
Why would God be more stringent on drinking wine with John the Baptist than He would with His own son?
The three most damning verses that I have found to the idea that Jesus drank grape juice (Numbers 6:1-4) are...
“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.” Mark 14:25
“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.” Matthew 26:29
“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil." The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” Luke 7:33-34 (Matthew 11:19)
The first two verses could be read this way (Jesus speaking)...
“Even though I [like my cousin John the Baptist who] never drank wine, from this moment on I will not partake, till I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”
Simply, the second objection about men accusing Jesus of being a “winebibber” could be nothing more than an accusation of sin like we see in Acts 2:13. (“New wine” would not have made these men drunk.)
Finally, scripture never says that Jesus drank wine. It says that He refused it.
Bagels and Lox, prophetically speaking...
"His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven."
We are not told how long it was, but we know that He did not have closely cropped hair like the Romans did. It was long enough to have "locks."
Did Jesus Have Long Hair...?
I found this short audio clip, many years after I wrote my article...
(To stop the music, pause the SECOND player below.)