In addition to rebuilding Jerusalem in a physical sense, Nehemiah was also concerned for the spiritual rebuilding of his people. He was so angry toward the Jewish men who had married pagan woman-a-flagrant disobedience of God’s command (Joshua 23:12-13)-that he beat some of them and pulled out their hair. This violent and serious punishment showed the severity of their sin.
People sometimes pulled out their own hair as an expression of mourning (Ezra 9:3). Sometimes the act was committed against others as an act of extreme persecution (Isa 50:6).
NEHEMIAH 13:25 – I [Nehemiah] contended with them [Jewish men who had married pagan women], and cursed them, and smote [beat, NIV] certain of them, and plucked off [pulled out NIV] their hair.