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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Veil (1)

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vāl : The following words are so translated in English Versions of the Bible (sometimes the King James Version vail ): (1) מטפּחת , miṭpaḥath , Rth 3:15 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "mantle." As the material was strong enough to serve as a bag for a large quantity of grain the Revised Version (British and American) is certainly right; compare Isaiah 3:22 . (2) מסוה , maṣweh , Exodus 34:33-35 . Paul in his quotation of the passage in 2 Corinthians 3:13-16 uses kálumma , following Septuagint. The covering worn by Moses to conceal the miraculous brightness of his face, although, according to Massoretic Text, he seems to have worn it only in private. (3) מסּכה , maṣṣkēhāh , Isaiah 25:7 ; in Isaiah 28:20 translated "covering." The use in Isaiah 25:7 is figurative and the form of the "veil" a matter of indifference. (4) צמּה , cammāh , the Revised Version (British and American) Song of Solomon 4:1 , Song of Solomon 4:3 (margin "locks" (of hair)); Song of Solomon 6:7 ; Isaiah 47:2 , the King James Version "locks." The meaning of the word is uncertain and the King James Version may very well be right. If, however, the Revised Version's translation is correct, a light ornamental veil is meant. (5) צעיף , cā‛ı̄ph , Genesis 24:65 ; Genesis 38:14 , Genesis 38:19 . A large wrap is meant, which at times was used to cover the face also. In Genesis 24:65 Rebekah conformed to the etiquette which required the veiling of brides (see MARRIAGE ). In Genesis 38 one motive for Tamar's use of the veil was certainly to avoid recognition, but it seems clear from the passage that veils were used by courtesans. Why is unknown, perhaps partly to conceal their identity, perhaps partly in parody of the marriage custom. (6) רדיד , redhı̄dh , Song of Solomon 5:7 (the Revised Version (British and American) "mantle," margin "veil"); Isaiah 3:23 . A light mantle is certainly meant. In Song of Solomon 5:7 it is torn from the maiden in the watchmen's endeavor to detain her. (7) παρακάλυμμα , parakálumma , The Wisdom of Solomon 17:3 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "curtain." (8) Verb κατακαλύπτω , katakalúptō , 1 Corinthians 11:6 f, with ἀκατακαλύπτω , akatakalúptō , "unveil" in 1 Corinthians 11:5 ; the King James Version has "cover" and "uncover"; καλύπτω , kalúptō , 2 Corinthians 4:3 ( twice ), άνακαλύπτω , anakalúptō , 2 Corinthians 3:18 ; the King James Version "hid" and "open."

It will be seen that there is a certain reference to what in modern times would be termed a "veil" only in (2) above. For a possible additional reference see MUFFLER .

The use of the face veil as a regular article of dress was unknown to the Hebrew women, and if "veil" is to be understood in Song of Solomon 4:1 , etc., it was worn as an ornament only. The modern oriental custom of veiling is due to Mohammedan influence and has not been universally adopted by Jewesses in the Orient. In New Testament times, however, among both Greeks and Romans, reputable women wore a veil in public (Plutarch Quaest . Rom . xiv) and to appear without it was an act of bravado (or worse); Tarsus, Paul's home city, was especially noted for strictness in this regard (Dio of Prusa, Tarsica prior , section symbol 48). Hence, Paul's indignant directions in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 , which have their basis in the social proprieties of the time. The bearing of these directions, however, on the compulsory use of the hat by modern women in public worship would appear to be very remote.

For the Veil of the Tabernacle and the Temple see next article.


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Veil (1)'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/v/veil-1.html. 1915.

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