Is it wrong to shave our sideburns, since in Leviticus it says not to MAR the corners of our beards?
Leviticus 19:27,28 says, “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”
Some take this to mean that a man cannot cut or trim his beard (and sideburns) at all, but must let it grow as long, and in whatever direction, as it may go. That is a misinterpretation of the above Scripture. To be consistent with that interpretation, a person would also have to then say that it is wrong for a man to ever cut his hair, because it also tells men, “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads.” Does that mean that a man is to let his hair grow as long, and in whatever direction that it may go? No, because the Bible says in I Corinthians 11:14,15, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” It is a shame for a man to have long hair.
The Bible is very clear that when it came to the priests, those who ministered in God’s presence, they were to have decent haircuts: “Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.” (Ezekiel 44:20). The priests were not to shave their heads, nor were they to let their hair grow long. The priests were simply told to have DECENT HAIRCUTS. If that was God’s standard for those who ministered in His very presence, then that is His will for all men.
There is nothing spiritual about having a shaggy, long beard, that looks unruly. In some circles, that is looked at as a mark of spirituality, but that is hypocrisy. John 7:24 says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” God did not want the priests with shaggy-looking hair, nor does He want us looking that way, either.
On the other hand, God also did not want His priests with carved designs, and unnatural shapes made in their hair and beards. Some of the sports players in recent years have done the very thing that the Scripture condemns here. They have names and shapes shaved into the hair on their heads. The old “flat-top” haircut has also been resurrected through the sports players in recent years. That haircut (the flat-top) cuts lines into the hair that are not natural.
A greasy substance is often used to make the hair stick straight up, and then the hair is shaved flat across the top of the head. That is not having a decent length haircut that allows the head to retain its natural shape, but is a good example of “marring the corners of the head.” It is making corners in the head appear that are not natural. A “natural” haircut is one that cuts the hair short enough to lay “naturally” upon the head.
Look at some pictures of Egyptians, to see what God was talking about in regard to “neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” The pictures of the Egyptians show very thin, long beards. Their beards were not natural-looking, but were shaved in a very thin, unnatural shape.
How would you like to be the wife of one of these men who believe that it is spiritual to have a long, shaggy, uncut beard? Those poor women have to look at a mess every day of their lives when their husbands are home. How would those same men like their wives to follow after their example, and allow their hair to grow shaggy, and left uncombed and never trimmed? How would they like looking at a mess like that everyday? They would not stand for that very long. It is a pity that they do not love their wives as themselves, for if they did, they would get a decent haircut, and a decent trim on their beards.