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Photius (c. 810—895) Byzantine scholar and patriarch of Constantinople


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Full beards were worn by Jewish men, for whom it was a sign of vitality (unlike the Egyptians, Gen. 41: 14). It was an outrage when Hanun, king of the Ammonites, cut off the beards of David's envoys (2 Sam. 10: 4); and Ezra pulled out his beard to show the depth of his distress (Ezra 9: 3). It has been suggested that the insult voluntarily suffered by the Servant (Isa. 50: 6) of plucking the beard is influenced by the ritual of the Babylonian New Year Festival when the king submitted to this cultic suffering to give reassurance to the people that in their time of distress they would also be succoured by God.

Subjects: Christianity.

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