What does the Bible say about tattoos?

The Bible clearly has a negative perception towards tattoos. For instance, Exodus 21:17-18 lists three types of tattoos, both physical and psychological. Here are their descriptions of the types of tattoos and their meanings within the Bible.

Physical Tattoos are listed in chapter 22 of the Bible, Exodus 22:39 and 41:26. The term physical tattoos are also found in the Book of Judges.

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Judges 19:12 lists physical tattoos as a method of identification.

Numbers 30:13 lists physical tattoos as a means of identifying the Israelites.

Numbers 33:5 and Numbers 33:7 lists physical tattoos as a means to identify the tribe of Levi.

Leviticus 20:20 is the same as Numbers 30:13 and 31:3; it lists the skin as the medium of identification and says the tattoos should match the skin color and texture as determined by the Israelites.

The term spiritual tattoos was used in the Book of Proverbs (2:27), and the first commandment to destroy tattoos was given in Leviticus 18:22. The term tattoo was also used in Deuteronomy 15:8.

What does the Bible say about tattoos that were not done by God?

The Bible does not specifically list physical tattoos, but there are three ways in which tattoos that were not done by God could be identified.

These were done by someone who had divine approval (e.g., Moses and Aaron). The tattoo was not done with an intent to deceive (as in Jesus’ and God’s tattoos). The person performing the tattoo had special abilities that were not a part of the ordinary skill set of the person who did the tattoo.

Physical Tattoos

1. Tattooed with a human being’s name. This was the custom of the Egyptians during the period of Abraham and his descendants from the time of Moses until about the time of Jesus. The name on these animals was a sign or name of God, that is, the name of God and the name of the godhead itself (“Hieroglyph”), or its name (e.g., “My God”). (e.g., Abraham’s name “Abraham”, his wife’s name “Betherah”.)

2. Tattooed with a human soul or other spirit of a god or with an animal’s name. The tattooing of the heart of an animal or the name or symbol of a man and a woman on human