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Who had tattoos in the Bible? Identifying Tattooed Individuals in the Bible

Who had tattoos in the Bible
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Tattoos, a form of body modification involving the insertion of ink into the skin, have been a part of human history for centuries. The notion of tattoos has intrigued scholars and believers alike, prompting questions about their origins, significance, and presence in religious texts.

In the context of the Bible, a revered collection of religious texts central to Judaism and Christianity, the subject of tattoos is a matter of both historical and theological interest.

While the Bible doesn’t extensively delve into the topic of tattoos, there are instances where tattoo-like markings are mentioned.

Who had tattoos in the Bible?

Let’s explore these references and the individuals associated with tattoos in the Bible.

Leviticus 19:28: The Prohibition of Tattoos

The most direct reference to tattoos in the Bible can be found in the Book of Leviticus. Leviticus 19:28 states, “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”

This verse is a part of the Mosaic Law, a collection of rules and regulations that guided the Israelites’ way of life.

The prohibition against tattoos is often interpreted as a commandment against imitating the practices of surrounding pagan cultures, where tattoos might have been used for religious or ritualistic purposes.

The Mark of Slavery: Deuteronomy 15:17

Deuteronomy 15:17 discusses the practice of piercing the ear of a slave who willingly chooses to remain in servitude.

While this isn’t a tattoo in the traditional sense, it involves marking the body as a sign of obedience and allegiance.

This particular practice can be seen as a precursor to tattooing, as it involves a permanent mark on the body to indicate one’s status.

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Ezekiel’s Vision: The Marked Foreheads

In the Book of Ezekiel, there is a vision that describes angelic beings marking the foreheads of individuals in Jerusalem.

While not explicitly mentioning tattoos, the imagery of marking individuals on their foreheads shares some conceptual similarities with tattoos.

The purpose of these marks is to identify and protect the righteous from the impending judgment and destruction.

A Symbolic Tattoo: Revelation 19:16

In the New Testament, the Book of Revelation presents an intriguing reference to what can be seen as a symbolic tattoo.

Revelation 19:16 describes Jesus Christ with a name written on his thigh: “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.”

While this isn’t a literal tattoo, the imagery of a name written on the thigh could be interpreted as a metaphorical representation of authority and power.


In conclusion, the Bible does contain references to practices and markings that could be associated with tattoos.

However, it’s important to note that the biblical stance on tattoos is not explicitly articulated as a comprehensive doctrine.

The references to tattoos in the Bible are generally limited and symbolic, rather than providing a detailed account of individuals with tattoos.

These references offer insights into the cultural and theological contexts of the time, emphasizing the significance of obedience, allegiance, and divine protection.

While the Bible doesn’t provide an exhaustive list of individuals with tattoos, it does offer thought-provoking glimpses into the practices and symbolism associated with body markings.

The various references underscore the multifaceted nature of religious texts, inviting readers to explore and interpret their meanings within historical and theological contexts.


  1. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Crossway, 2001.
  2. Barker, Kenneth L. “Leviticus.” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 2. Zondervan, 1990.
  3. Block, Daniel I. “Deuteronomy.” The New American Commentary, vol. 6. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992.
  4. Allen, Leslie C. “Ezekiel 1–19.” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 28. Thomas Nelson, 1994.
  5. Beale, G. K. “The Book of Revelation.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Eerdmans, 1999.
  6. Matthews, Victor H. “Ezekiel: The New American Commentary.” B&H Publishing Group, 2015.
  7. Bandstra, Barry L. “Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible.” Cengage Learning, 2013.
  8. Klawans, Jonathan. “Tattooing and the Body in Ancient Rome.” Journal of Roman Studies, vol. 90, 2000, pp. 60-88.
  9. Davis, John J. “Moses and the Gods of Egypt: Studies in Exodus.” Eisenbrauns, 2006.
  10. Sarna, Nahum M. “Exodus: The JPS Torah Commentary.” Jewish Publication Society, 1991.
  11. Tigay, Jeffrey H. “The JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy.” Jewish Publication Society, 1996.
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About Author

Jade Blunt | Tattoo Gun Machine
Jade Blunt | Tattoo Gun Machine
Hello everyone! My name is Jade Blunt, and I'm a passionate tattoo enthusiast. Let me share a bit about my life and my journey in the world of ink and skin.

Ever since I was a child, I've been drawn to art and creativity in all its forms. However, it was when I turned 18 that I discovered my true passion: tattoos. I remember my first tattoo, a small design on my wrist that marked the beginning of an adventure that would change my life forever.

As my love for tattoos grew, so did my desire to learn more about this fascinating art. I started researching, talking to talented tattoo artists, and immersing myself in the history and culture of tattoos. Every tattoo tells a story, and I wanted to be a part of that narrative.

Over time, I decided to share my passion with the world through my blog, "Tattoo Gun Machine." In this space, I strive to provide valuable information about tattoos, from tips for tattooed skin care to stories of innovative tattoo artists and inspiring designs. My goal is to educate and inspire those who share my love for tattoos, as well as to demystify some of the stigmas surrounding this art form.

My blog has become a corner of the web where the tattoo-loving community can connect, share ideas, and explore new trends. I've also had the privilege of interviewing some of the most talented tattoo artists in the world, who share their unique experiences and knowledge within my pages.

But my journey in the world of tattoos doesn't stop here. I'm always on the lookout for new inspiration and challenges. I dream of one day opening my own tattoo studio, where I can bring my own designs to life and continue contributing to this form of artistic expression.

So, if you share my passion for tattoos or are simply interested in learning more about this exciting world, I invite you to join me on my journey at "Tattoo Gun Machine." Together, we can explore the art, culture, and beauty of tattoos as we continue to ink our stories onto the canvas of life. I'll see you on my blog!
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