What Did Ancient Israelites Look Like?

1024px-Batsheva_theater_crowd_in_Tel_Aviv_by_David_Shankbone

A diverse crowd of Israelis at a performance in Tel Aviv

If you take a look at the Jewish population living in Israel today, you will probably be struck by the huge variety of physical traits. Millions of people all calling themselves “Jews” have gathered together after over 2000 years of being scattered throughout the world: Northern Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, North Africa, Ethiopia, Persia, the former Soviet Union, the Americas and the list goes on. All these Jews look rather different from each other. And yet, all claim to be descended from a single ancestor: “Abram the Hebrew” (Genesis 14:13). Is this really the case? Is it even possible to know what the ancient Israelites actually looked like?

No, unfortunately it is probably not possible to verify with any real certainty what Abraham looked like. Presumably, if he was born in Ur of the Chaldeans, located in modern-day southern Iraq, he would have had dark wavy hair, an olive complexion; an appearance characteristic of the populations that have lived in this region for millennia: Kurds, Turkmen, Jews, Armenians, etc. We can look to the Song of Songs for an description of what the Israelite ideal of beauty was (Song 5:10-16). However, beyond this very vague image, it is nearly impossible to know about the physical appearance of Abraham or of any of his Israelite descendants. If we cannot obtain concrete information about the genealogy of the ancient Israelites (nature), what about cultural features (nurture) of their appearance: clothing, hairstyle, facial hair, etc.?

Old Jew from Babylonia. Created by Bayard after photo of unknown author, published on Le Tour du Monde, Paris, 1867

Old Jew from Babylonia. Created by Bayard after photo of unknown author, published on Le Tour du Monde, Paris, 1867

In popular imagination, one of the most “obvious” features of an ancient Israelite man’s appearance is a full beard. Any modern illustration depicting the biblical period contains lots of dusty, turban-wearing Israelite men with unkempt beards. You will never see a clean shaven Israelite in a biblical film or drawing. Why is this? Is this just meant to make the actors look authentically “old-fashioned” or do we have evidence for the absence of shaved faces among Israelite men?

oshua and Caleb; as in Joshua 14:6-15; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company, 1901

Joshua and Caleb; as in Joshua 14:6-15; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company, 1901

Contrary to the the ancient Egyptians (who were clean shaven) and Mesopotamians (who wore long groomed beards) who depicted themselves extensively in their art, the Israelites hardly left us images of themselves. The biblical prohibition against making graven images (Exodus 20:4) prevented the Israelites from producing art depicting themselves. So scholars mostly need to use textual descriptions found in the Bible to reconstruct the Israelites’ physical appearance.

shutterstock_57090319

Detail of Assyrian warriors with long curly groomed beards

The Hebrew Bible contains many passages which make it clear that beards are vital part of Israelite fashion. The Book of Psalms compares dwelling in peace with one’s brothers to “fine oil on the head running down onto the beard, the beard of Aaron, that comes down over the collar to his robe” (Psalm 133:2). Listen to two different musical versions of these words here and here. This metaphor is difficult to understand. Why is a well-oiled beard similar to brotherly harmony? Is it because dwelling in peace creates a feeling of overflowing bounty similar to the oil on Aaron’s beard? Is it because in the ancient Near East guests were welcomed by being anointed with fine oil? Perhaps. The main point for our purposes is that the high priest, Aaron, had a very long beard.

A statue of Aaron in priestly garments in Cistercian Abbey of Rudy (Poland).

A statue of Aaron wearing the priestly garments and a long beard, in Cistercian Abbey of Rudy (Poland).

But lest one conclude that beards were only worn by the priestly class, we can find many biblical passages that indicate otherwise. Every Israelite man is commanded “you shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” (Leviticus 19:27). This is the biblical basis for the sidelocks of hair (Hebrew: pe’ot) that Ultra-Orthodox men wear to this day, as seen in the image below. One might even go as far as to say that long sidelocks were the most distinctive feature of the Israelites’ appearance (circumcision was also very distinctive, but not outwardly visible). Jeremiah refers to the foreign nations that surround Israel collectively as “all those with shaven temples who live in the desert” (Jer. 9:25).

A Hasidic man prays at the Western Wall, Jerusalem

A Hasidic man with long sidelocks (pe’ot) prays at the Western Wall, Jerusalem

Among ancient Israelite men it was apparently considered humiliating to have one’s face shaven. When King Hanun of Ammon clips off half of the beards of David’s courtiers, he instructs them to “remain in Jericho until your beards grow back” (2 Samuel 10:5). Waiting several weeks for the hair to grow back in the ghost town of Jericho (abandoned since Joshua’s destruction of the city) was evidently preferable to the easier solution of simply shaving the other side off. A common form of greeting a fellow Israelite was to “grab his beard with the right hand to kiss him” (2 Samuel 20:9). Prior to visiting king David, it was imperative for Saul’s son Mephibosheth to prepare himself by doing the following: taking care of his feet, trimming his mustache, washing his clothes (2 Samuel 19:24). The mustache (Hebrew safam) was trimmed, but not the beard (zakan). Maybe the reason why shaving one’s beard was humiliating was that it was a pagan rite (Leviticus 21:5), a mourning practice (Job 1:20), or alternatively, a symbolic act performed by a holy man. The prophet Ezekiel, for example, is instructed as follows:

Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. (Ezekiel 5:1).

In fact, there are works of art from the period of the Bible that do depict Israelites. For example, this frieze found in the throne room of Sennacherib in Nineveh depicts the famous battle of Lachish. This was one of the most important battles fought by the Assyrians as they conquered most of the southern kingdom of Judah in 701 BC. In the image below we see Israelite prisoners being led off into captivity. Note the short curly beards on the faces of the men. These are closely cropped as opposed to the long beard of the Assyrian soldiers.

623px-Lachish_Relief,_British_Museum_13

Three Israelite men playing lyres as they are led off into captivity following the Assyrian victory at Lachish. This recalls the Bible’s description of the Babylonians forcing the exiled Judahites to play songs of Zion on their harps (Ps. 137). The Israelites’ beards are shorter than that of the Assyrian soldier on the left.

Here is a depiction of King Jehu of Israel bowing down to the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. Note the beard.

Jehu-Obelisk-cropped

Detail from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (reigned 858-824 BC). The figure bowing down is the Israelite king Jehu. This is the earliest artistic depiction of a specific figure mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

Another rare artistic depiction which might be depicting Israelites is this tomb painting from Egypt. A detail from the tomb of Khnumhotep II, an aristocrat buried in the Beni Hasan cemetery in Middle Egypt. This painting depicts a family of nomadic traders entering Egypt from Canaan in the 19th cent. BCE. This is a very rare depiction of ancient Semites, dressed in colorful tunics, as opposed to the Egyptians wearing only white waistcloths. Perhaps they have come to buy grain. The man bending over the ibex is named “Abisha the Hyksos” according to the inscription. This is a very nice visual counterpart to the story of Jacob’s sons migrating to Egypt.

Arrival_of_some_foreigners_in_Egypt._Wellcome_L0027408

The man on the upper register holding a dark brown ibex is labeled Abischa (sounds like the Hebrew name “Avishai”) and bears the title Hyksos (“shepherd king”).

The Hebrew word for beard is zakan (זקן) and appears 19 times in the Hebrew Bible. Interestingly the Greek equivalent pogon (πώγων) does not appear even once in the New Testament. What should we make of this? Were Jews clean shaven during the Roman period? No. Certainly the majority of Jewish men still had beards, as they did during the period of the Hebrew Bible. There was a small population of highly Hellenized Jews that might have shaved their beards, as was the custom among Romans. But it would have been very odd to see a Jewish man in the Land of Israel without a beard until the 20th century. The Babylonian Talmud states that Rabbi Yohanan was very handsome but did not possess perfect beauty because he lacked a beard. Interestingly, the beard is referred to by the alias “the adornment of the face” (Baba Metzia 84b). Let’s conclude by quoting one of the rare examples of a description of an ancient Jew. The following description of the physical appearance of the apostle Paul is found in the the 2nd century apocryphal book, the Acts of Paul and Thecla:

He was a man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked, and his knees were projecting, and he had large eyes and his eyebrows met, and his nose was somewhat long, and he was full of grace and mercy; at one time he seemed like a man, and at another time he seemed like an angel.

Not a very flattering description! Evidently, Paul’s beard was so obvious that the author did not even see the need to mention it.

About the author

Jonathan LipnickJonathan Lipnick believes that a truly comprehensive understanding of Scripture must be capable of penetrating beneath the printed words to reveal the authentic world of the Bible: the landscapes, smells and sounds of ancient Israel. He is the dean of the faculty of Holy Land Studies at Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, and is the author of the course "Exploring the Biblical Land of Israel"

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  1. Patrick

    Reading the comments here it seems many people think Egyptians were originally black. Anything is possibly. But recent history has shown us when blacks inhabit a location nothing gets built, only gets rundown. I find it hard to believe they were ever capable of building one of the greatest civilizations in human history. My guess is the blacks were brought to Egypt as slaves to use them for their strength.

  2. David

    The Ivri/Hebrews of the Bible are black, the book itself confirms this.

  3. Breon Israel

    Jeremiah 14:2 JEWS ARE BLACK

  4. Dee

    Very, very few.

  5. Ton

    Hebrews were thought to be Africans (Egyptians) in the bible… Case closed.

  6. Bob Berry

    Noah was an albino he scared his father when he was born, his father ran to his father to describe his strange son. White, red beautiful eyes and speaking to the creator. Lamech thought he was the offspring of the fallen angels telling his father Noah does not look like us he was truly disturbed at Noah’ s look. If white skin does not look like us” then what does us look like. The fallen were evil doing evil on the earth we know that they were white Lamech was scared, an albino would be remindful of the fallen.

  7. Bob Berry

    There are quite a few murals depicting black Hebrews with the braids like they are styled today nappy hair, nappy beards and cornrows being exiled by Assyria and babylonians why deny it. Red is not white, red is someone like Steph Curry and you know it and his hair is tight and nappy with that reddish skin. And you call him black also you all know it. Quit lying to yourself live a righteous life and show yourself approved.

  8. Bob Berry

    The picture of the bearded afro Semites entering Egypt is a fraudulent deception. I saw the original and the people are dark, very dark brown these lightened versions you show, shock me and you display them as actual knowing they’re lightened whitewashed why why why? Why not show the originals? With the very dark skin if color doesn’t matter? Shame on you. The paintings are old and still retain very dark color so new they were very very very dark. People have seen the originals you know. Dark skinned people with afro what is so scary about that?

  9. Seathrún Mac Éin

    The main reasons for the variety of physical appearance among Jews today are fairly obvious. (Perhaps you did not specifically mention them because they are so obvious.) First is intermarriage with Gentiles; second, Gentiles converting to Judaism; and third is rape by alien conquerors or anti-Semites; fourth is seduction either of a Jewish woman by a Gentile man or, occasionally, of a Gentile woman by a Jew. No matter how Jewish the descendants might be in religious terms, this would not obscure the mixture of genes causing some of them to have a distinctly Gentile appearance.
    It is well known that the Rabbis normally define a Jew – other than converts to Judaism – as the son of a Jewish woman. I understand that this ruling dates from a discussion between mediaeval Jewish Rabbis where one Rabbi present asked “How do we know that we ourselves are not descended from the Roman soldiers who raped the maidens of Zion at the siege of Jerusalem?” As a result, it seems to have been arrived at to protect innocent Jewish women.
    Further, it should be clear that the range of genetic factors among modern Jews has had advantages. Some of the Jews who survived the Holocaust and other pogroms did so because of their distinctly Gentile appearance. In addition, a Gentile appearance must have helped many Jewish journalists and researchers to obtain vital information. Lastly, the fact that there are Jews of so many “racial” types has been of benefit to Israeli intelligence gathering: black Jews, presumably of Ethiopian origin, are known to have entered Uganda temporarily to assist in the planning of the Entebbe rescue of Jewish hostages held captive by Palestinian hijackers who were favoured by dictator Idi Amin!

  10. Al Wheeler

    Israelites were often mistaken for Egyptians and Ethiopians: Joseph, Moses, and Paul certainly were thought to be Egyptians, and Egyptians were dark skinned people according to the Bible. When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem where did the Jews flee to? Where did Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to when Herod sought to kill Jesus? Several tribes in Africa proclaim their Hebrew Israelite heritage ( the Lemba, etc.) Revelation 2:9; 3:9?

    1. Kahvyn Zaire

      We are left w/one conclusion, regarding the color of ancient Hebrews__ they had to be dark skinned!! Though Hollywood’s depictions of many (if not all) biblical characters: Moses, Paul, Adam, Solomon and Jesus are ALWAYS transformed from their native beginnings to a more acceptable/profitable hue. Which suggests that this rendition of history was compromised! Why else in the face of common sense, logic and regional sensibilities can Hollywood promote this inconsistency?

  11. Ron Elison

    The New Testament says the Apostle Paul was mistaken as being an Egyptian. Acts 21:38

  12. WM

    What color is an olive?

  13. K. B.

    Good evening. You mentioned only the judahites in exile, someone else in the comment mention ebo tribe,yet you seem dead set to not mention the so called African Americans(Judah), the native Americans ( Gadites) or Jamaicans(benjamites). And Paul was a Gentile.Come on, we all know who we are now
    The guys with the funny beard/hats are russian (kazarian)
    It is not good to know that gentiles came into the fold because of the children’s disobedience only to be further kept from their identity

  14. Robert Russell

    Israel was a wayfarers pit stop and all types of people passed through the area so you would have every type of person with wide range of looks but for the Jews specifically they would be subjected to tradition and the law. The law of Moses is what makes up Jewish life not what the world would consider stylish of the period. Jesus would be Short, dark skinned or olive, Short to medium hair that would be dark brown and thick. Not too many barbers around and being a poor carpenter dress very basic but being a Jewish man wear a Kippah or some head covering at all times because of the law of covering the head. He would also wear Talit Katan (Small Talit) Zitzit or Fringes as that is required of men. Prayer three times a day, eat only what is deemed kosher and observe rituals. And During the last supper which was a Passover Seder by the way, there would be no Bread!!! (Festival of un-leaven bread – just flat flour and water cooked rapid fashion for the haste of escaping Egypt) So in kind he would not be this tall handsome Blue eyed Blond haired dude you see in every Christian book store in the US!

  15. Daphna Oren

    Does this review cover the whole of evidence of facial hair among the Israelites in Tanach? How do the rabbis treat it in the Talmud and agada? I once sat on an El Al flight next to a delightful 20-year old haredi yeshiva student (he did not object to sitting next to a woman, perhaps because he was 30 years my junior) and he said that facial hair was optional, but generally more chosen than not. Did facial communicate any specific idea or understanding among the Israelites? Thanks for a very interesting piece!

  16. asil

    Who cares about the color of their skin. I can’t believe people waste their brain cells with this nonsense. Ask god to reveal himself and Jesus Christ and if you really have faith as small as a mustard seed you will get your answer.

    1. Ann Mcknight

      Asil,It do indeed matter,Negroes History was stolen by Another Race of people,That created their own Blood Line of The Khazar Jews,Zionist.The most Evil set of people that hate all Negroes,Its not nonsense,Truth of the matter these White Khazars are Owners of Record Companies,Run the Media,Control Banking System.Whom own most of the torn down Apartments in New York overcharge Blacks,Latinos,Infected with rats and bugs,Its not a Waste knowing the Truth,They teach False Doctrine,God tell us in his word,They are the Children of the Devil.

  17. servant

    It’s not a skin problem , it’s a sin problem . Jesus says , whomsoever will . that means any body and every body . repent .

  18. Yoav Yahanan Yahsharalah

    I believe that the ancient hebrews are a race of black people. Similar to the ancient Egyptian people in appearance. For the ancient Egyptian people were definitely black and many Hebrews were mistaken to be Egyptian. Could this be possible?

    1. Jonathan Lipnick

      It is of course possible, but you need to be careful. The ruling class of ancient Egyptians did not actually have black skin. This is visible in tomb paintings which contrast the light brown skinned Egyptian masters with the dark skinned slaves brought from Nubia. Most likely the Israelites were similarly brown skinned or even lighter olive skinned, as seen in the Beni Hassan tomb.

      1. Justin

        In Song of Solomon 1:5, Solomon States he is Black and comely. In the hebrew that word is Qadar which means dark-skinned. There is no so such thing as a “black” person, nor is there anything as a “white” person. You have different shades of brown and different shades of Red. the Israelites are light to dark brown nation of people just like the so called negroes are today

      2. CHARLES Cheshvan Sias

        You are wrong , Egypt was under several Dynasties the early one’s 1st 2nd 3rd. Where very dark and so on. Egypt was concord several times, like the Americans. It’s the same old story what did the President of Egypt say. YOU LEFT BLACK AND CAME BACK WHITE. All over Africa everyone knows the answer to this easy question. It is in front of your face. And the truth does Matter

      3. Nehemiah

        Egypt was African settled by Ham’s son Mizraim and will always be black. GOD has made it clear it will be returned to them but they will remain base people. Eze 29:14. The inhabitants presently in Egypt are Arabs, like the present day fake jews in Israel, they stole another nations identity. All Europeans do is lie, we can read now.

    2. rick

      true the apostle Paul was mistaken for an Egyptian by a Roman guard.

      1. Ann Mcknight

        How about Joseph he was the Governor of Egypt sold by his brothers,Moses,King Solomon.I’am studying researching the German Rhineland Bastards,Killed by French,Germany,Millions that were fathered by Africans Negroes,and German White Woman.Forgotten and Hidden Black Holocaust of the Rhineland Bastards.They have overlook for years,only reveal Nazi Holocaust.

  19. Max Amaya

    Also what color was King David the Bible says red has an Arab would be. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe red and black are two different colors. Also what color was Adam the Bible says red study the Hebrew. Also what color was Esau the Bible says red. Not red as in cherry red but red as in the color of an animal which is Brown as an Arab. Example if you tell me I saw a red cow . I don’t expect it to be cherry red but I expected to be dark brown.

  20. Max Amaya

    Rev 3: 13 is describing the color of his hair his head WHITE like wool what color is wool? White his hair WHITE like wool and also WHITE as snow. WHITE is a symbol of purity have you ever seen pure wool? WHITE have you ever seen pure snow ? WHITE. … By the way Arabic people call father Abraham father through flesh and they have Jesus in their blood line as well. Remember Genesis chapter 10 speaks of Father Abraham he is somatic from the land of or of the Chaldeans Iraq and besides that if you don’t follow the Torah with spirit you are none of his.

  21. ERB (@BibleTard)

    That’s his glorified body being spoken of in Revelation, not his human fleshly body and brass looks more golden than it is black especially when molten or heated, but that’s already been mentioned.

    Why disregard the physical evidence that the people who claim to be Jewish are in fact Jewish to some extent?

  22. ERB (@BibleTard)

    That’s his glorified body being spoken of in Revelation, not his human fleshly body and brass looks more golden than it is black especially when molten or heated.

  23. Michael Carter

    It’s unfortunate that things are often taken out of context. But the reality is this. the images we are presented with today of what we think of as Middle Eastern, is a result of the conquest of Egypt from the original inhabitants who were black.

    It’s like pulling up a picture of Americans. What you see today is a mixture of peoples. Not that of the indigenous black skinned Indians who were wiped out as a result of geneside.

    There were two major invaions of Jeruselem. The Assyrian Invasion and the Roman Invasion of 70 CE. Each drove the original Jews west into Africa, the land of Ham who was also a black man.

    http://www.therealhebrewisraelites.com/photos/THE-BEGINNING-TO-EGYPTIAN-SLAVERY/68814_10150467055390001_666995000_15446197_6093070_n.jpg

    http://www.angelfire.com/ill/hebrewisrael/printpages/phys.html

  24. Chris Fields

    Have you ever seen brass burning in a furnace? It’s not black.
    Know who else has bronze skin?
    The descendents of Ishmael arabic, Palestinian etc…which makes sense seeing as how they are descended from Avraham who was from ur…They also tend to have very thick hair as well.
    Some israelites may very well have been black but likely only after mixing with some of the other people such as in Egypt.

    1. lestee

      The indigenous people of what you call Palestine were black. But to understand or accept that, you will have to come to the realization that Palestine/Israel is actually north east Africa. It was and is the Land of Ham. That land the colonizers called Palestine is the same land the bible calls Canaan. Canaan was a son of Ham, the progenitor of the dark races, not the negroes according to Zondervan’s bible dictionary. Those ancient hebrews were all people with melanin in there skin to protect them from the sun. Same with the people of Ur where our forefather Abraham came from. Nimrod, the first ruler over the people back then was the Grandson of Ham. There were no white people in the land until Esau and he married a Cushite or Nubian woman. So even his first offsprings had melanin. They all had melanin or were dark skinned people.

      1. Ann Mcknight

        Thank You.

  25. LP

    The messiah was not the so called black man. He was middle eastern, not even remotely the same. There are too many biblical references that give clues to the typical Israelite appearance & also there are numerous tomb paintings in Egypt that depict middle eastern Israelites.

  26. David

    Rev 1:13-15 reads in Aramaic NT. and, in the midst of the menorahs, one like the Son of man, clothed to the feet, and turned about in a robe reaching down to the feet with a girdle of gold. 14. And his head and his hair were white, like white wool, like snow and his eyes, like flames of fire : 15. and his feet like fine brass, flaming in a furnace: and his voice, like the sound of many waters.

    fine brass is yellow. burnished brass is yellow with blackish high lights. flaming brass is a yellow glowing metal. when cooled it is yellow.

    Does not sound like a black man to me.

    1. Santonia Tyson

      what does burnt brass look like because that is the description given. and if you need more proof read song of solomon 1:4-5…..and use a concordance if you like to define the hebrew word shakur……………it means black not in feelings or emotions, not in some mental state……its his skin color. the shu or shemarians were called SA.GA.GI….THE BLACK FACE OR HEADED ONES. NOW THIS IS WHAT GONA MAKE WHITY SHIT HIMSELF…………….YOUR GREEK GOD JESUS SAID HE CAME FROM THE LINE OF ……………………………………………………………………………………DAVID…………………………..WELL SO DID SOLOMON! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOUVE SEEN 2WHITE PEOPLE MAKE BLACK PEOPLE? 2BLACK PEOPLE CAN MAKE VERY REAL WHITE PEOPLE! YOUR HISTORY LIES…..AS WELL AS YOUR RELIGIONS……..ALL DISTORTIONS OF THE REAL TRUTH OF THE PEOPLE WHO REALLY INHABITED THIS ROCK. EVEN AS YOUVE STOLE OUR ARTIFACTS AND CLAIMED IT AS YOUR OWN………….EVEN AS YOU DESTROY RELICS OF OUR PAST…………..ALONG WITH AFRICANS THAT YOU CONVINCED MOST OF US WE ARE, SOME OF US HAVE AWAKEN.

  27. David DuPratt

    The people of the levant area looked like a melting pot of many different races.Most men other than Greeks and Romans wore beards.

  28. Ducharme Williams

    The Hebrews in the picture bowing down to king shalmaneser, clearly look like what we would call an African american today lol I ain’t never seen no white Jew with Wooly hair and a flat nose. All the Europeans Jews are converts and came down and destroyed the land before capturing it. Ezk. 38.. I always wondered why Jews weren’t suppose to read the end of the Tora lol because it prohisizes who the the people in israel are today lol, “THE BATTLE OF GOG AND MAGOG”. All of the Gentile nations came in, including Ashkenaz through Gomer, Japeths first born. Strange that 80% of the Jewish population living in Israel claim to be Ashkenazi.. Just connecting the dots freckles????????

    1. rick

      Your are correct, the true Hebrews (Shem) and Japeths non-hebrews descendants( Indo-cauc-Asians aka Europa) Ashkenaz through Gomer were never Semitic people.

    2. Dan

      First of all, Africans and not Americans they are Africans. The people under study were wandering around in Asia and Africa and Europe at the relevant times. Black Africans are definitely not native to North America and neither are any other of these people under discussion. Now, there is very serious authority that argues that the original Jews were black and went from the area of current Israel into East Africa and that there are people today who are black and live as Jews in Africa, especially East Africa. Your suggestion that the original Jews were black is quite possible although the pictures that I have seen suggest that the Egyptians were very dark but the Jews were not. It would be nice to find some authoritative drawings, pictures or whatever of the people from around the time of Jesus to see what they looked like. The available evidence is really scanty and basically makes the matter even more confusing than it is just based on the original documents.

      1. Santonia Tyson

        YOU NEVER WILL…………………HITLER STATES THAT THE JEWS HAVE AMERICA BY THE BALLS BECAUSE AMERICA HAS TAKE THE TRIBE OF YAHAWADAH (JUDAH) INTO SLAVERY FROM AFRICA. HE REFERRED TO US AS GOD’S JEWELRY. HE ALSO GOES ON TO SAY HOW FRIGHTENED WHITE WOULD BE WHEN THEY DISCOVER WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO GOD’S PEOPLE. I SUGGEST WHITE PEOPLE REREAD THE BOOK OF JOEL..OR ACTS 7:7 OR GENESIS 15:13-17……………………………………..IT DOES NOT LOOK GOOD FOR THE HEATHEN NATIONS THAT ENSLAVED US. BUT WHAT DO I KNOW…….I M JUST READING A CORRUPT VERSION OF MY OWN HISTORY………….CALLED THE BIBLE!

        TO EXPLAIN……..THE GREEKS KICKED OUR ASSES IN YERUSHALIM, AND WE WERE FORCED TO RUN IN PARTS OF AFRICA……STORY SHORT……..THE BIBLE EXPLAINS HOW WE NOMADS(HEBREWS) ,,,,THE CROSSING ONES FROM HIBIRU…PLANET X AS YOU NUT JOBS CALL IT…….WERE FOUND IN WEST AFRICA AND BY ODER OF ROME……SENTENCED TO ANOTHER 400 YEARS OR THE MOST INHUMANE TREATMENT ANYTHING LIVING COULD ENDURE AND REMAIN STEADFAST ON LIVING ON THIS ROCK. BUT SOON THIS CURSE WILL END AND AS THE WHITE MAN BIBLE SAYS……..YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW, HE THAT LIVE BY THE SWORD…….HE THAT TAKETH INTO CAPTIVITY MUST ALSO GO INTO CAPTIVITY…….PRAY THAT OUR CREATOR IS AS MERCIFUL AS YOUR KIND HAS BEEN TO US……WITH DISCRIMINATION IN ALLLLLLLLLL FACETS OF LIFE, OUT -RIGHT HATRED, OUR sanguineous struggle to survive peacefully with the nations we find our selves scattered……only to discover no matter the continent…..our plights the same! but i pray you’ll not take heed…..so you will discover how contaminated your religious beliefs are. you cant call the new testament and the old testament the words of god when they clearly contradict one another.

        one question that will shatter, hopefully your blind faith in redemption……………………… if god destroyed the earth and all living creatures due the abomination created via copulation between the elohim and daughters of men, and what these abominations taught mankind, how they devoured mankind………why would he/GOD……ALSO make this folly with a MARRIED WOMAN? THEN AS THE CHILD BECOME MAN ………….HUMAN/BLOOD SACRIFICE HIM………….AS PAYMENT FOR OUR SINS? HE CLEARLY DESPISES HUMAN SACRIFICES TO MOLOCH! BUT THIS IS ACCEPTABLE? IF YOU WOULD TAKE THE TIME TO REALLY READ IT………….YOU’LL DISCOVER THEIR TWO GODS ARE INVOLVED..IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND VYING .FOR THE LOYALTY OF THE HEBREWS!…………………ONES A SERPENT AND MAKES LOTS OF REFERENCES TO SERPENTS ESPECIALLY WITH MOSES!

        1. Santonia Tyson

          THE ELOHIM (GODS/ANGELS) MADE MAN AND FEMALE AFTER THEIR IMAGE CHAPTER 1 GENESIS VERSE 27.

          CHAPT 2 VERSE 4…….THEN JEHOVAH ELOHIM MADE ADAM FROM THE GROUND AND GAVE HIM A MATE FROM HIS OWN DNA………..NOT NECESSARILY IN HIS IMAGE! AND GAVE HIM A GARDEN TO TEND. THE FEMALE STATES SHE BEARS ONE SONE BY THE HELP OF HER LORD……..CAIN THE SERPENT SON……THE LIAR AND KILLER FROM THE BEGINNING. THE FATHER BUT ENMITY BETWEEN THE SEEDS OF THESE AGGRESSIVE ONES FROM THE SEED OF ADAM. AND THEY ARE STILL ENEMIES TODAY!

      2. lestee

        I hope you found your evidence because it’s out there. Use your logic and look at the whole picture. When one of the Roman emperors wanted to kill the Messiah, God told Joseph to take the child into Egypt. Why? to hide among the sons of Ham/Mizraim. A white or really light skinned person or persons could not hide in Egypt without being notice. When Jacob died in Egypt, he requested to be buried in his own country. When the funeral procession was observed by the Canaanites, they said, this is a sad day for the EGYPTIANS. Why, because they could not physically distinguish the Egytians, (sons of Ham,) from the Hebrews, (sons of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Shem)

  29. KD

    For those of you searching for the truth its right in the bible. You don’t need all this extra. The bible tells you what the Messiah looks like and IS the king of the Jews. Revelation 1:13-15. He had wooly hair and skin the color of brass burned in a furnace. He was a so called black man. Please read for your self and ask The MosThe High God for understanding.

    Have a blessed day.

    1. e. nicholas

      AMEN KD!!! AMEN!!!!

    2. martitrue

      brass, not coal

    3. Ann Mcknight

      Well Put.

  30. ana babin

    hi, i had a ukraninan bible showing the anciet israelites. there the ancient israelites wore colourful robes of many colours that were loose, with fancy beautiful sandles. they all had long hair. sometimes they levitated in the air. they had hair colours of all kinds and skin types of all kinds as well as eye colour. it is an old bible. women wore make up and pierced their ears and noses as much as possible. they loved jewellery. the had little pots of make up that they put henna in for their lips. they sometiems wore loose pants instead of loose robes. i gave away this book though. the modern jews are nothing like the ancient israelites. they also never had slaves. never. it was uncommon. i don’t know where the slave myth came from. everyone lived with lots of animals in their farm and covered their heads. the women loved rings and bracelets. they also had ankle bracelets. men wore colourful clothes as well. they were basically peasants. they wanted to be strong. childhood was considered a time to survive. people lived long, until the ages of 120. they drank grape juice instead of wine. they used herbal remedies instead of chemistry to help themselves with their illnesses (see mary magdalene). i have old herbal remedy books at home. anything was not permited. this was a sign of prostitution. tattoos were also not permited, except henna. i went to a private religious school and this is what they taught us.

  31. Maria Cecilia Arango

    Jonathan, thanks.

    I am one of your students of Exploring the Biblical Land of Israel.

    So at the end, Jesus could have be:

    -Dark wavy hair,
    -Olive complexion
    -Beard (may be not long because he was not a priest, but a carpenter, a craftsmen), as it is shown in the Egyptian fresco.
    -Large eyes
    -Quite large nose

    Is there any apocryphal text that describes Jesus?

    It would be too much ¿isn’t it?

    1. Robert Russell

      The large nose comes across as anti-Semitic. Jews from Israel are know as Sephardic and have darker complexion, short in stature and small noses most of the time. European Jews are Ashkenazi from Russia and eastern Europe. (They have large noses sometimes because of the region but not always) The whole nose thing goes back to Nazi Germany degrading Jews and should be avoided because it is very anti-Semitic!

      1. Dan

        I get that but we are looking for the truth whether or not it is flattering. Once you infect your research with fears of being anti-semitic or anything else like that you poison the result. You must focus on the truth and follow it wherever it goes. Then you can be confident in your results.

  32. Maxcine Zapata

    Hello johnathan, you may like to check out Just Genesis index of topics by Alice C. Linsley you will find this VERY informative, she is a biblical anthropologist and archaeologist for 30 yrs.Take a look.

  33. Ilya Gromov

    Great post! But regarding the appearance of St. Paul – you conclude that his beard must have been so obvious so there was no need to mention it. I was wondering what other evidence (other than him being a jew) is there to have a beard? He was a roman citizen who grew up in a Hellenistic town and spent much of his time outside of Judea – is it possible that he was beardless?

    1. Jonathan Lipnick

      Thanks for your comment. It is possible but not likely that Paul was clean shaven given that the beard was not only a sign of Jewish identity but also the fashion among Greek intellectuals. Philosophers were known to have long unkempt beards, a sign of their rejection of the material world. These two spheres (Jewish scriptural authority and Greek philosophical methodology) are precisely the ones Paul sought to belong to and so a beard would have made a lot of sense for him.

  34. Anna

    Please send me more teachings,they are wonderful. Thank-you

    1. Jonathan Lipnick

      Thanks for reading!

      1. Amy KANE

        Very interesting. What do you thing about igbos they are judah’s lost tribe

  35. victor mulligan

    Thank You I enjoyed that Oh please dont stop there ive allways been looking to learn and get to know as much as i can about god and the jews have allways been pulled by my lord jesus to care about a nation of peaple Israel all my life wish i could go there but if you will please tell me more. Thank You

    1. Jonathan Lipnick

      So glad you enjoyed the post. I hope I can provide you with more interesting content in the future!

      1. Nguyen Phuoc Minh Tan

        Hi, I come from Viet Nam. I do not really know how exactly the hair of Israel’s man at that time look like. Or did I miss something in the post? Cause’ my english is not so good.
        Im looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

    2. Mike

      I wonder why no one mentions DNA? The various Jewish groups, Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Mizrahi are related through Y-DNA that goes back to the Israelite, Aaron, brother of Moses! Also its been proven Palestinians are related to modern Jews! Palestinians (not all) are the descendants of the ancient Jews forced to convert to Islam

      1. cerealbreakfastdowntown

        They are the sons and daughters of Ishmael. This is why they are related.

    3. Robert Russell

      As a devoted Christian, I enjoy the research into ancient history but I have a few critical points to make that every Christian institute seem to get wrong due to bias ignorance!
      First of all stop approaching from a Christian point of view (Get it wrong every time) Why? It is all based from Jewish point of view not the Goyim (Outsiders) The Law of Moses dictate in 613 mitzvoth (Commandments, not to be confused in what we call 10 commandments because they are not 10 commandments but declarations of the law.)The actual commandments dictated through Deuteronomy state a man must not shave five points on his face and no ornamentation. His head must be covered (Man cannot walk five paces uncovered) This symbolizes respect to the creator over us! He must wear Talit Katan with 4 ztizit (Fringes or knotted chords {613 knots}) to obey law of respect to Hashem! On days (Not Sabbath) The prayers 3 times a day (Sharcharit, Mincha and not the evening maariv) He would wear Tefillin on the head and arm to obey law of the Shima (Deut 4 6-9) The life of a Jewish man is about the law not the faith.