veil Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
veil in Smith's Bible Dictionary
With regard to the use of the veil, it is important to observe that it was by no means so general in ancient as in modern times. Much of the scrupulousness in respect of the use of the veil dates from the promulgation of the Koran, which forbade women appearing unveiled except in the presence of their nearest relatives. In ancient times the veil was adopted only in exceptional cases, either as an article of ornamental dress, #So 4:1,3; 6:7| or by betrothed maidens in the presence of their future husbands, especially at the time of the wedding, #Ge 24:65| or lastly, by women of loose character for purposes of concealment. #Ge 38:14| Among the Jews of the New Testament age it appears to have been customary for the women to cover their heads (not necessarily their faces) when engaged in public worship.
veil in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(See DRESS.) The mitpachath (Rth 3:15), tsaiph (Genesis 24:65; Genesis 38:14; Genesis 38:19), and radial (Song of Solomon 5:7; Isaiah 3:23). Moses' veil was the masveh (Exodus 34:33-35), related to suth (Genesis 49:11). An ample outer robe, drawn over the face when required. Mispachot, the false prophets' magical veils or "kerchiefs" (Ezekiel 13:18; Ezekiel 13:21) which they put over the heads of those consulting them as if to fit them for receiving a response, that they might be rapt in spiritual trance above the world; placed "upon the head of every stature," i.e. upon persons of every age and height, young and old.
Re' aloth, light veils worn by females, called "mufflers" (Isaiah 3:19), from rahal "to tremble," i.e. tremulous, referring to their rustling motion. Tzammah, translated "locks" (Song of Solomon 4:1; Song of Solomon 4:3), the bride's veil, a mark of modesty and subjection to her lord. Isaiah 47:2, "take off thy veil," or "thy locks," nature's covering for a woman (1 Corinthians 11:15), a badge of female degradation. Anciently the veil was only exceptionally used for ornament or by women betrothed in meeting their future husbands, and at weddings (Genesis 24:65).
Ordinarily women among the Jews, Egyptians, and Assyrians, appeared in public with faces exposed (Genesis 12:14; Genesis 24:16; Genesis 24:65; Genesis 20:16; Genesis 29:10; 1 Samuel 1:12). Assyrian and Egyptian sculptures similarly represent women without a veil. It was Mahometanism that introduced the present veiling closely and seclusion of women; the veil on them in worship was the sign of subjection to their husbands (1 Corinthians 11:4-15