What is the meaning of Leviticus 19:27 and 21:5. Do these passages imply that it is wrong to shave or cut one’s hair?
Notice a more modern rendering of these verses in the “American Translation” by Goodspeed: “You must not shave around your temple, nor do away with the corners of your beard” (Lev. 19:27); and, “They must not shave part of their heads bald, nor shave off the corners of their beards, nor make incisions in their bodies” (Lev. 21:5).
It was a ceremonial custom of the heathen to cut and trim their beards and hair into special shapes in honor of a particular pagan deity — the sun god. The ancient Egyptians had their dark locks cropped short or shaved with great nicety, so the hair which remained on the crown appeared in the form of a circle surrounding the head (the halo has been borrowed from this), while the beard was dressed in a square form. Alternatively, a round bald spot might be shaved on the head.
It is this type of false worship the Bible forbids. Shaving ones beard and cutting ones hair for normal good grooming is something entirely different and not at all condemned in the Scriptures!