14 You are the children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead,
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My understanding is that the practices described in the verse cited in the question were observed at the time among multiple idolatrous peoples of the Mideast region (including Egypt, from which the Israelites had been delivered) as part of their religious rituals, and were thus commanded by God to be avoided on the part of Israel as a means of setting themselves apart from those other cultures.
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