The Head and Heart

The Head and Heart in Ancient Jewish Customs

The Head. In the ancient Jewish culture the head was the seat of life, rather than the seat of intelligence or thoughts. The head contained the breath of life, the soul of man. The Bible revealed that the head of the body is what governs the whole body, and the real place of authority. This is why in Genesis 3:15 the Bible says that the Messiah will "crush" the head of the devil. The biblical meaning is that Satan would lose his authority when his head is crushed, and in the act of crushing the serpents head, his heel would be bruised. This verse is obviously speaking about the crucifixion of Christ, the one seed of the woman Israel who would come and conquer Satan, the seed of the serpent is speaking about "the world system" and everything in it. Cutting off or crushing the head is the ultimate insult to an enemy.

Genesis 3:15 - "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

Customs. The Bible reveals that the head was bowed in worship of God, as well as in respect of someone, especially a dignitary. Bowing the head was also a sign of humility. When someone was in grief they would cover their head, shave their head, or sprinkled it with dust. Priests and Nazarites were not allowed to shave their heads, and lepers were not allowed to cover their heads. Women generally covered their heads while in public. After an enemy was defeated the heads were many times cut off, and this was also often true of criminals.

Figurative. The Bible reveals that God is the head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3), Christ is the head of the church, and man is the head of the household. God is also the head of rulers, of authorities, and head of the main city of the kingdom. when the head is covered it symbolizes that God will defend you, and protect you, it also symbolizes that you are in submission to his authority. There are many other symbols of the head, for example, lifted up means God's joy and blessing, it can also speak of pride and exaltation, especially when it is anointed. Shaking the head is a sign of mockery of the fool and those who do not follow God. The hands were laid upon the head of a person being blessed, or consecrated. When the tongues of fire came upon the heads of those in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, their heads were being anointed by heaven.

The Heart. The heart is the center of the body and the place where a man determines his course of action. Man truly loves from the heart, and also hates from the heart. The heart is the center of thought, the center of understanding, the center of feelings and affections, the center of joy and the center of grief. The center of fear and the center of pain. The heart is also the center of morality, from loving God to loving ones self, from having good thoughts to doing bad deeds. God's laws are written in the heart of man.

Psalms 40:8 - I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart."

Psalms and Proverbs Give a Good idea of how the Head and Heart are used in the Bible:

The Head

Psalms 3:3 - But Thou, O LORD, art a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

Psalms 7:16 - His mischief will return upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate.

Psalms 18:43 - Thou hast delivered me from the contentions of the people; Thou hast placed me as head of the nations; A people whom I have not known serve me.

Psalms 21:3 - For Thou dost meet him with the blessings of good things; Thou dost set a crown of fine gold on his head.

Psalms 22:7 - All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, [saying],

Psalms 23:5 - Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

Psalms 24:7 - Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in!

Psalms 24:9 - Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift [them] up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in!

Psalms 27:6 - And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me; And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

Psalms 37:24 - When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

Psalms 38:4 - For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.

Psalms 40:12 - For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head; And my heart has failed me.

Psalms 58:7 - Let them flow away like water that runs off; [When] he aims his arrows, let them be as headless shafts.

Psalms 60:7 - "Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter.

Psalms 64:8 - So they will make him stumble; Their own tongue is against them; All who see them will shake the head.

Psalms 66:12 - Thou didst make men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; Yet Thou didst bring us out into [a place of] abundance.

Psalms 68:21 - Surely God will shatter the head of His enemies, The hairy crown of him who goes on in his guilty deeds.

Psalms 69:4 - Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies, What I did not steal, I then have to restore.

Psalms 74:13 - Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength; Thou didst break the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.

Psalms 74:14 - Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan; Thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.

Psalms 108:8 - "Gilead is Mine, Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter.

Psalms 109:25 - I also have become a reproach to them; When they see me, they wag their head.

Psalms 110:7 - He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up [His] head.

Psalms 133:2 - It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, [Even] Aaron's beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

Psalms 140:7 - "O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, Thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.

Psalms 140:9 - "As for the head of those who surround me, May the mischief of their lips cover them.

Psalms 141:5 - Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.

Proverbs 1:9 - Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, And ornaments about your neck.

Proverbs 1:21 - At the head of the noisy [streets] she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings:

Proverbs 4:9 - "She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty."

Proverbs 4:25 - Let your eyes look directly ahead, And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.

Proverbs 10:6 - Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Proverbs 11:26 - He who withholds grain, the people will curse him, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells [it].

Proverbs 16:31 - A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.

Proverbs 25:22 - For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.

The Heart

Proverbs 2:2 - Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;

Proverbs 2:10 - For wisdom will enter your heart, And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

Proverbs 3:1 - My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments;

Proverbs 3:3 - Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 4:4 - Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live;

Proverbs 4:21 - Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 - Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it [flow] the springs of life.

Proverbs 5:12 - And you say, "How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof!

Proverbs 6:14 - Who [with] perversity in his heart devises evil continually, Who spreads strife.

Proverbs 6:18 - A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil,

Proverbs 6:21 - Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.

Proverbs 6:25 - Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her catch you with her eyelids.

Proverbs 7:3 - Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 7:10 - And behold, a woman [comes] to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.

Proverbs 7:25 - Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths.

Proverbs 10:8 - The wise of heart will receive commands, But a babbling fool will be thrown down.

Proverbs 10:20 - The tongue of the righteous is [as] choice silver, The heart of the wicked is [worth] little.

Proverbs 11:20 - The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in [their] walk are His delight.

Proverbs 11:29 - He who troubles his own house will inherit wind, And the foolish will be servant to the wisehearted.

Proverbs 12:20 - Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy.

Proverbs 12:23 - A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims folly.

Proverbs 12:25 - Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.

Proverbs 13:12 - Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 14:10 - The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.

Proverbs 14:13 - Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.

Proverbs 14:14 - The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, But a good man will [be satisfied] with his.

Proverbs 14:30 - A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones.

Proverbs 14:33 - Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding, But in the bosom of fools it is made known.

Proverbs 15:7 - The lips of the wise spread knowledge, But the hearts of fools are not so.

Proverbs 15:11 - Sheol and Abaddon [lie open] before the LORD, How much more the hearts of men!

Proverbs 15:13 - A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:15 - All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart [has] a continual feast.

Proverbs 15:28 - The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

Proverbs 15:30 - Bright eyes gladden the heart; Good news puts fat on the bones.

Proverbs 16:1 - The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

Proverbs 16:5 - Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Proverbs 16:21 - The wise in heart will be called discerning, And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

Proverbs 16:23 - The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds persuasiveness to his lips.

Proverbs 17:3 - The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts.

Proverbs 17:22 - A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 18:12 - Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility [goes] before honor.

Proverbs 19:3 - The foolishness of man subverts his way, And his heart rages against the LORD.

Proverbs 19:21 - Many are the plans in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD, it will stand.

Proverbs 20:5 - A plan in the heart of a man is [like] deep water, But a man of understanding draws it out.

Proverbs 20:9 - Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin "?

Proverbs 21:1 - The king's heart is [like] channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:2 - Every man's way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.

Proverbs 21:4 - Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin.

Proverbs 22:11 - He who loves purity of heart [And] whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.

Proverbs 22:15 - Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

Proverbs 23:7 - For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But his heart is not with you.

Proverbs 23:12 - Apply your heart to discipline, And your ears to words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:15 - My son, if your heart is wise, My own heart also will be glad;

Proverbs 23:17 - Do not let your heart envy sinners, But [live] in the fear of the LORD always.

Proverbs 23:19 - Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:26 - Give me your heart, my son, And let your eyes delight in my ways.

Proverbs 24:12 - If you say, "See, we did not know this," Does He not consider [it] who weighs the hearts? And does He not know [it] who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?

Proverbs 24:17 - Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;

Proverbs 25:3 - [As] the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable.

Proverbs 25:20 - [Like] one who takes off a garment on a cold day, [or like] vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.

Proverbs 26:23 - [Like] an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross Are burning lips and a wicked heart.

Proverbs 26:24 - He who hates disguises [it] with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart.

Proverbs 26:25 - When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart.

Proverbs 27:9 - Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.

Proverbs 27:11 - Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, That I may reply to him who reproaches me.

Proverbs 27:19 - As in water face [reflects] face, So the heart of man [reflects] man.

Proverbs 28:14 - How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Proverbs 28:26 - He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

Proverbs 31:11 - The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.

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