Baldness will come upon Gaza;
Ashkelon will become silent;
you remnant on the plain,
how long will you cut yourself? Bible see other translations

“Baldness.” The people in the East had many customs when it came to mourning the dead, and Jeremiah 47:5 mentions three of them: shaving the head (thus the “baldness”); having a time of silence; and cutting oneself. When it comes to baldness, for the sake of clarity the NIV translates it, “Gaza will shave their head in mourning.” Other verses that mention shaving the head in mourning for the dead include Isaiah 15:2; 22:12; Jeremiah 16:6, 48:37; Ezekiel 7:18, and Micah 1:16. Other signs of mourning include cutting off the beard (cp. Jer. 41:5), putting on sackcloth (cp. Jer. 48:37), having a time of silence (Jer. 47:5), and cutting oneself (see commentaries on Jeremiah 41:5 and 1 Kings 18:28). It was also customary for people to bring food and have a mourning feast (Jer. 16:5).

“cut themselves.” It was a pagan custom practiced by some people to cut yourself when you were in mourning for the dead. This custom was adopted by some Israelites even though it was forbidden by the Law (Deut. 14:1). This is mentioned in a number of verses. [For more on cutting and self-mutilation, see commentary on 1 Kings 18:28. For the custom of shaving the head for the dead and some other customs associated with death, see commentary on Jer. 41:5].

Commentary for: Jeremiah 47:5