Leviticus 19:28, No tattoos allowed

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.

//Is this verse saying God doesn’t want you to tattoo your body? Many Christians think so, and it does read rather straight-forwardly. But why does God care?

God cares because that’s what Israel’s enemies—the Canaanites—did in their cultic funeral practices. They cut their hair, and lacerated and tattooed their bodies, all in an attempt to ward off the departing spirit by disguising themselves so they wouldn’t be recognized. God’s instruction continues:

You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard.

But does this have anything to do with today’s time? I suggest this compromise: Go ahead and ink up your biceps, but wear a nametag to the funeral parlor.


  1. I haven’t ‘got’ your style yet! So I can’t read your comments yet!! lol So are you suggesting it’s a bit risky still to do these things? Ha! Only yesterday did my niece show me these verses and ask me about them!!

  2. Hi Caroline! I’m not about to tell anybody how to “do religion,” so I just like to examine the Bible under a historical-critical lens. Sometimes it turns a bit tongue-in-cheek, like this one, ha.

    Funny about the timing with your niece!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>