Is Locked hair Pagan?
“Locks”—wrongly called “dreadlocks” or “dreads” sometimes—is a popular hairstyle in various counterculture groups, but is also an ancient hairstyle.
Below is what most people think of when they think of the locked hair style, or “dreadlocks”:
Because of the stigma of many pagan cultures, modern and ancient, wearing this hairstyle, it is therefore believed that this hairstyle is pagan, and we should by no means ever have hair like this.
However, we should ask ourselves: did the pagans create this hairstyle, or did they take it and corrupt it when they should not be using it. Many things practiced by pagans are corruptions of things originally given to us by YHWH. That’s why they came to be in the first place (albeit many other things practiced by pagans came from fallen Watchers).
There are those who disagree and say that locked hair is good, and of YAH, and often will point to Samson, who bore seven locks of hair, which would happen if an Eberyeh man never combed, cut or separated his hair all his life (which would describe Samson, a nazarite from birth). However, these people will often point to the english translations of Judges, and so their strong visual argument becomes a weakness to those who would then go into the Eberyeh language and say that the word used for “locks” here is מחלפח and that it means “braids” due to it meaning a “ringlet of hair”, and its relation to the word for “gliding over/through”. Though this word in itself is a vague word, it is commonly understood as braids, and this usually this creates stagnant debates, with each just reasserting their same argument about the passage in judges, and never elaborating further. This word though, used in Judges to describe samson’s hair, is used nowhere else in scripture. it occurs only 2 times, and both times in the book of Judges, revolving around the story of Samson. So this whole argument about Samson and his hair, and using this for or against long locked hairstyles ,is meaningless…when only this aspect is studied.
What both sides are ignoring is the actual command for the Nazarites, and what their hair is to look like. When one reads an english translation, they will find something along the lines of this:
“All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled which he seperateth himself unto [YHWH], he shall be holy and let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” (Numbers/Shemoth 6:5) (KJV)
In English, the command seems to say to just grow long hair, and never cut it. This is a terrible translation, as it captures the most minimal of the details of the Eberyeh, and ironically, in more words than Eberyeh.
Here are the words use to describe what is written in bold above, in Numbers 6:5
גדל פּרע שער ראשו
Let’s break this down:
Process of Nazarite Hair
גדל–Gidel: to twist, braid, lengthen, increase, build up, make greater.
פּרע–Peruwheh: loosen, to be disheveled, distressed, revealed, exposed, naked
שער–Sawyer: many understandings, all ranging from coarse, rough/ sections, pieces/ stormy/tempestuous/whirlwind, etc.
ראש–Rahsh: among many meanings, the applicable one is “head”
So let us analyze YHWH’s instructions:
1) Nazarites are to braid and twist their hair, and allow it to accumulate, in both length and girth and volume.
2) They must let their hair be loosed, freed, naked, or natural, and not be allowed to look pristine and immaculate through great care and maintenance. Letting one’s hair be free from all combs, products, while also not doing anything to comb it and separate it or smooth it out, will naturally cause it to become disheveled and tangly, and look a complete mess, which leads to…
3) it looking coarse, and rough, and figuratively as if a “whirlwind” went through it. As well. Once the braids are set and are never undone—while also twisting the hair with friction in ones palms in the beginning—and then these braids are simply left alone, they will become matted tangled sections of hair which accumulates in length and volume and density.
The steps would be as so: 1) braid your hear together, into different sections. For greater strength, braid some of the braids together. twist them and tangle them together to form larger, stronger sections. 2) twist them between your palm and extend downward, thus disheveling them and lengthening them. 3) maintain the sections by continuing the previous process, until the sections are stable, and not falling apart anymore, but rather are remaining as sections. 4) All this time, do not use any products in your hair: no oils or soaps or combs or anything—just water to wash. (most soaps are already against YHWH’s will, but even natural hair-care products violate the Turah of the Nazarite). 5) When the sections are sturdy, leave them alone, and let them be natural, untamed and free to do as they please. The braids, being now tightly situated and tangles with other hair, will set into matted clumps as they are allowed to do their own thing.
The end result of doing what YHWH said to do as a nazarite, is large matted clumps of tangled locked hair that looks like a disheveled mess. This is a command of YHWH for His Nazarites. This hair sets them apart from the rest of the world. It is not pagan. It is abused by pagans who have no right having this hair, and thus will suffer for it, because they do not understand what the hair of separation is for: how it is a spiritual thing regarding becoming a person who is dedicated to YHWH (more or less like a monk, for lack of a better word). So if an individual is not keeping Turah, and certainly not a monk for YHWH, then they should by no means have this hair. It is set-apart hair abused by pagans, just as pagans abuse many other set-apart things.
Regarding Samson and his hair, whether it was in braids, pleats, etc. is not of too much importance. If he was a nazarite, then his hair would have been in matted locks anyway, since that is what YHWH instructed Nazarites to do. Whether he had seven large locks (which is my opinion, considering that’s what would happen after a lifetime of locked hair) or whether he had thinner locks and just braided them into seven larger braids—this does not matter, because he was a Nazarite, so he would obey the Turah and grow his hair in matted, clumpy, accumulated locks.
So let us look to Turah for the truth, rather than only at the examples of the world, for we will be led astray by them. This is a clear example of individuals, who, by seeking to not be like the pagans, rest on their own man-made assertions and vehemently preach them (their “traditions” so to speak), and thus are in fact preaching against the word of YHWH while seeking to preach being set-apart.
So in regards to the Nazarite vow, let us not blaspheme YHWH by calling the mark of His set-apart monks, who chose to do this for the Most High, as something that is dirty, unclean, and pagan.
Sadly, because pagans took the hair given to YAH’s monks, people will unwittingly blaspheme the hair of separation, speak falsehoods, and teach others to do wrongly and against the Turah regarding the Nazarite vow, among many other transgressions. It is amazing how when we choose not to consult the Turah on one matter, how much more Turah we break in the process. It is a chain of events that grows exponentially, and if we would simply seek knowledge of the Turah of YHWH, we would greatly diminish our transgressions against it, and the transgressions against it that we cause others to do by our forsaking it.