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Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [1]


I think it right to stop at this word, because we meet with it very often in the Scripture, though it is to be lamented that our little acquaintance with the customs of the people of the East, makes us lose numberless beauties in the sacred volume, when we meet with expressions of a local nature, for want of being acquainted with their manners and customs.

The vails worn by the women, were chiefly, no doubt, intended for the concealment of their persons. Female children were no vails, we are told by the historians of those countries, until they had arrived at seven or eight years of age; after that, if a woman was seen uncovered, it became the mark of a woman of Hence Rebekah put on the vail on her approach to Isaac. ( Genesis 24:65) And Tamar disguised herself with her vail. ( Genesis 38:14) Indeed, so much the use of vails was observed in the eastern world, that the married women, it is said, were never seen, even in their families, without the Radid, as they called the married vail.

These things, will, in some measure, serve to explain those passages in the apostle Paul's writings to the Corinthians of the women praying or prophecying uncovered, that is, unvailed, because it implied the want of chastity. And this one circumstance alone leads us into a proper apprehension of the apostle's whole discourse. (See  1 Corinthians 11:3-15)

There is a great beauty in that passage of the Songs respecting the church, which, if explained to us in allusion to the custom of vails, becomes very sweet and interesting. "The watchmen (said she) that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me: the keepers of the walls took away my vail from me." ( Song of Song of Solomon 5:7) If the reader enters into the full apprehension of the custom of the vail, he will consider the spouse of Christ as here clothed with her Radid, her marriage vail, shewing who she was, and that she was in subjection to her own husband, ( Ephesians 5:23-24) seeking him in the ordinances, which are here called the streets of the city, were she ought to seek him; and the watchmen, the ministers of the gospel, found her in this enquiry, but instead comforting her with some new and sweet view of her Lord, speaking to her in her then dispirit case and circumstances, in shewing her the safety of a soul justified in Christ's blood and righteousness, however dark and uncomfortable in herself; instead of this, time keepers took away her vail, her covering in Christ, treated her as if a strumpet, as though she was not married to Jesus, and had no right to the Radid, or marriage vail.

I pause over this view of the subject to ask my own heart, while I desire the reader to consult his own also, whether this treatment may not in the present hour be too often shewn to the church, the spouse of Christ, in numberless instances of the individual members of his mystical body, when ministers, watchmen, and keepers of the walls of Zion, instead of strengthening seeking souls in the Lord Jesus's blood and righteousness, are taking away their confidence in him, to direct them in seeking somewhat in themselves. Oh, how little do the best-taught ministers of Christ know of their people's sorrows, and of Jesus's all-suitableness and all-sufficiency! But to take away the believer's Radid, her marriage vail, her wedding garment, her nuptial band, in Christ, oh! what a wounding, what smiting, of a poor sin-sick soul must this be! And it is possible yea, more than possible, that Christ own ministers may but too often fall into this error, when, instead of making Christ what God the Father had made him, the Alpha and Omega of his church, they are directing their people to somewhat besides Jesus for comfort and consolation. The general direction to what is called experience, by way of confidence, is a sad instance of this kind.

While speaking of vails, I must not forget to notice the vail of the temple, which was appointed by the Lord to separate the outer place where the daily service was performed from the holy of holies, into which the high priest entered once in a year, on the great day of atonement. We have the account of it,  Exodus 26:1-37 etc.  Leviticus 16:1-34—and these Scriptures are again blessedly explained to the church by the Holy Ghost,  Hebrews 9:1-12.

That this vail was figurative and typical, need not be insisted upon. The most superficial attention to Scripture very fully shews this. The human nature of the Lord Jesus was no doubt represented by the temple itself; hence Jesus spake of the temple of his body. ( John 2:9-22) And the vail of the temple, forming a separation, and none but the high priest passing within it, and that only once in a year, and even not without blood, those were too striking particularities not to he understood as pointing to him who hath entered with his own blood into "heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for us."

But the fullest and most delightful explanation of the vail of the temple, was given in the moment of our Lord's death on the cross; for when the Lord Jesus bowed his sacred head, and gave up the ghost, instantly, we are told, the vail of the temple was rent in twain, by some invisible hand, from the top to the bottom; thus signifying that now, from the highest heaven to the lowest earth, Jesus had opened a new and living way by his blood, and was now not only entered himself within the vail, but as our forerunner, and that we should assuredly follow him, that "where he is there we might be also."

And as Jesus had now opened a new and living way of his people, so he had broken down all the vails of separation between himself and his redeemed The Jew and the Gentile were now brought into one fold, the vail of mysteries, of ordinances, of darkness, of ignorance, of blindness, in short the vail of all obstructions was now no more. Jesus had now, agreeably to his prophecy, destroyed in his holy mountain the church "the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that was spread over all nations." ( Isaiah 25:7)

And it is a sweet addition to all those precious views of the Lord Jesus removing every vail in his church, when he hath in the heart of his redeemed also taken away the vail of unbelief, and opened, to the soul's comfort, sweet and soul-ravishing views of his own person and glory. Reader, think what a glorious object will that day, that wonderful day, open to the soul, when Jesus, removing the last vail of death, shall appear in all his beauty to take home his redeemed to himself, and when they, awakening up after his likeness, shall be fully and eternally satisfied with his presence for ever.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

VEIL. —‘The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom’ when Jesus died ( Matthew 27:51,  Mark 15:38,  Luke 23:45). The Temple is, of course, the Temple of Herod, and the veil is, the ‘second veil’ ( Hebrews 9:3) which divided the הֵיבָל or Holy Place from the רְּבִיר or Holy of Holies. This is the only reference to the veil of the Temple in the NT, that in Hebrews being to the veil of the Tabernacle. The Greek words are τὸ καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ. In the LXX Septuagint ναός = דְּבִיר in  Psalms 28:2 and κατ. = (1) מָסָךְ, the curtain before the door of the Holy Place and before the gate of the fore-court in the Tabernacle; and (2) פָרכָח, the curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies (similarly Philo, Vita Moysis , iii. 5). The Gospel according to the Hebrews, as quoted by Jerome, had in the above passage ‘lintel’ instead of ‘veil’ (‘superliminare templi infinitae magnitudinae fractum esse atque divisum’). It is asserted that in the Temple of Solomon there was no veil, since it is mentioned only in  2 Chronicles 3:14; but Thenius’ emendation of  1 Kings 6:21 ‘drew the veil across with golden chains’ is good. In the Mishna the veil of the sanctuary is presupposed, e.g. in Yoma v. 1, where the mention of the ark shows that the writer is thinking of the Temple of Solomon. Josephus ( BJ v. v. 4) mentions a gorgeously embroidered veil before the הֵיבָל, and a second veil, which he does not describe, in front of the דְּכִיר of the Temple as he knew it.

A difficulty is occasioned by the fact that there appear to have been in Herod’s Temple not one but two veils between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, each representing a surface of the wall one cubit thick, which in Solomon’s Temple separated the two places. In Yoma v. 1 the high priest on the Day of Atonement leaves the Holy Place by the south end of the outer veil, walks northwards down the cubit space between the two veils, and enters the sanctuary by the north end of the inner veil. This cubit space is in Middoth iv. 7 called מרקסין, that is, τἀραξις, because in the first Temple it was filled with the wall, and the builders of the second did not know whether to reckon the space as belonging to the Holy Place or to the Holy of Holies. According to another account, there was only a single veil. In any case the veil would mean the outer one, which alone was visible to any except the priests. The Kaabah in Mecca has also a veil over its door.

The rending of the veil of the Temple would indicate the end of its sanctity, just as the tearing of a woman’s veil means dishonouring her (Hamasa, Freytag , i. 141).

It is a curious fact that Jewish tradition also records the occurrence of certain prodigies about this time. Josephus ( BJ vi. v. 3) enumerates several portents which presaged the destruction of the Temple: a sword appeared suspended over the city, a heifer about to be sacrificed brought forth a lamb, and the brazen gate opened of its own accord. Lightfoot ( Prospect of the Temple , xx. 1 [Pitman’s ed. ix. 329]) says: ‘There are three remarkable things, which the Jews do date from forty years before the destruction of the Temple—namely this of the Temple-doors’ opening of themselves, and the Sanhedrin’s flitting from the room Gazith, and the scarlet list on the scapegoat’s head not turning white.’ Compare Plutarch’s account of the prodigies which foreshadowed the murder of Caesar.

In  Hebrews 10:20 the veil of the Tabernacle is interpreted as symbolizing the corporeal nature of Christ, and in later mysticism phenomenal existence is termed ‘the veil.’ In  2 Corinthians 3:12 ff. the veil (κάλυμμα) which Moses put on ( Exodus 34:33 מָסְוֶה, LXX Septuagint κάλυμμα) becomes the spiritual blindness of the Jewish nation, probably without any reference to Is 25:7, where the words are different. The veil on Israel’s heart is ‘done away in Christ’ (ἐν Χριστῷ καταργεῖται).

Literature.—Grimm-Thayer, Lex. s.v . κατατέτασμα; Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, art. ‘Veil’; Edersheim, LT [Note: T Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah [Edersheim].] ii. 610 ff.

T. H. Weir.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

Women were wont to cover their faces with veils in token of modesty, of reverence, and subjection to their husbands,  Genesis 24:65;  1 Corinthians 11:3 , &c. In modern times, the women of Syria never appear in the streets without their veils. These are of two kinds, the furragi and the common Aleppo veil; the former being worn by some of the Turkish women only, the latter indiscriminately by all. The first is in the form of a large cloak, with long straight sleeves, and a square hood hanging flat on the back; it is sometimes made of linen, sometimes of a shawl or cloth. This veil, reaching to the heels, conceals the whole of the dress, from the neck downward; while the head and face are covered by a large white handkerchief over the head dress and forehead, and a smaller one tied transversely over the lower part of the face, hanging down on the neck. Many of the Turkish women, instead of the smaller handkerchief, use a long piece of black crape stiffened, which, sloping a little from the forehead, leaves room to breathe more freely. In this last way, the ladies are completely disguised; in the former, the eyes and nose remaining visible, they are easily known by their acquaintances. The radid is a species of veil, which Calmet supposes is worn by married women, as a token of their submission and dependence, and descends low down on the person. To lift up the veil of a virgin is reckoned a gross insult; but to take away the veil of a married woman is one of the greatest indignities that she can receive, because it deprives her of the badge which distinguishes and dignifies her in that character, and betokens her alliance to her husband, and her interest in his affections. This is the reason why the spouse so feelingly complains; "They took away my veil, רדד , from me,"  Song of Solomon 5:7 . When it is forcibly taken away by the husband, it is equivalent to divorce, and justly reckoned a most severe calamity; therefore, God threatened to take away the ornamental dresses of the daughters of Zion, including the radidim, the low descending veils: "In that day the Lord will take away the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils,"   Isaiah 3:18 , &c.

The ordinary Aleppo veil is a linen sheet, large enough to cover the whole habit from head to foot, and is brought over the face in a manner to conceal all but one eye. This is perhaps alluded to by the bridegroom in these words: "Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes,"

 Song of Solomon 4:9 . In Barbary, when the ladies appear in public, they always fold themselves up so closely in their hykes, that, even without their veils, one can discover very little of their faces. But, in the summer months, when they retire to their country seats, they walk abroad with less caution; though, even then, on the approach of a stranger, they always drop their veils, as Rebekah did on the approach of Isaac. But, although they are so closely wrapped up, that those who look at them cannot see even their hands, still less their face, yet it is reckoned indecent in a man to fix his eyes upon them; he must let them pass without seeming at all to observe them. When a lady of distinction, says Hanway, travels on horseback, she is not only veiled, but has generally a servant, who runs or rides before her to clear the way; and on such occasions the men, even in the market places, always turn their backs till the women are past, it being thought the highest ill manners to look at them. A lady in the east considers herself degraded when she is exposed to the gaze of the other sex, which accounts for the conduct of Vashti in refusing to obey the command of the king. Their ideas of decency, on the other hand, forbid a virtuous woman to lay aside or even to lift up her veil in the presence of the other sex. She who ventures to disregard this prohibition inevitably ruins her character. From that moment she is noted as a woman of easy virtue, and her act is regarded as a signal for intrigue. Pitts informs us that in Barbary the courtezan appears in public without her veil; and, in  Proverbs 7:13-14 , the harlot exposes herself in the same indecent manner: "So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face," a face uncovered and shameless, "said unto him, I have peace-offerings with me, this day have I paid my vows." But it must nevertheless be remarked, that, at different times, and in different parts of the east, the use, or partial use of the veil has greatly varied.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [4]

1: Καταπέτασμα (Strong'S #2665 — Noun Neuter — katapetasma — kat-ap-et'-as-mah )

lit., "that which is spread out" (petannumi) "before" (kata), hence, "a veil," is used (a) of the inner "veil" of the tabernacle,  Hebrews 6:19;  9:3; (b) of the corresponding "veil" in the Temple,  Matthew 27:51;  Mark 15:38;  Luke 23:45; (c) metaphorically of the "flesh" of Christ,  Hebrews 10:20 , i.e., His body which He gave up to be crucified, thus by His expiatory death providing a means of the spiritual access of believers, the "new and living way," into the presence of God.

2: Κάλυμμα (Strong'S #2571 — Noun Neuter — kalumma — kal'-oo-mah )

"a covering," is used (a) of the "veil" which Moses put over his face when descending Mount Sinai, thus preventing Israel from beholding the glory,  2—Corinthians 3:13; (b) metaphorically of the spiritually darkened vision suffered retributively by Israel, until the conversion on the nation to their Messiah takes place,  2—Corinthians 3:14-16 . See under Unlifted.

3: Περιβόλαιον (Strong'S #4018 — Noun Neuter — peribolaion — per-ib-ol'-ah-yon )

rendered "a veil" in the AV marg. of  1—Corinthians 11:15 : see Cover , B, No. 1, Vesture

Holman Bible Dictionary [5]

1. Womens' veils. Rebecca veiled herself before meeting Isaac ( Genesis 24:65 ). Her veil was perhaps the sign that she was a marriageable maiden. Tamar used her veil to conceal her identity from Judah ( Genesis 38:14 ,Genesis 38:14, 38:19 ). Another Hebrew term renders veil at  Isaiah 3:23 . Here veils are but one of the items of finery which the elite women of Jerusalem would lose in the coming siege. The same Hebrew term is rendered, “shawl” (NAS), “cloak” (Niv, Reb ) and “mantle” (Kjv, Nrsv ) at Song of  Song of Solomon 5:7 . There, removal of the shawl was part of a humiliating assault on the king's beloved. At  Isaiah 47:2 , the removal of one's veil is again a sign of shamelessness. Paul regarded the wearing of veils as necessary for women praying or preaching (“prophesying”) in public ( 1 Corinthians 11:4-16 ).

2. Moses' veil. Moses spoke to God with his face unveiled and then delivered God's message to the people with his face still unveiled. Afterwards, Moses veiled his face ( Exodus 34:33-35 ). For Paul, Moses' practice illustrated the superiority of the new covenant: Christians see the abiding splendor of the era of the Spirit and God-given righteousness; Israel saw the fading splendor of the era of death reflected in Moses' face ( 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 ). Moses' veil further illustrated the mental barrier preventing Israel from recognizing Christ in the Old Testament ( 2 Corinthians 3:12-15 ). Through faith in Christ the veil is removed, and believers enjoy free access to God which transforms life ( 2 Corinthians 3:15-18 ).

3. Imagery. The “veil which is stretched over the nations” ( Isaiah 25:7 NAS) is likely an image for death which is also swallowed up (  Isaiah 25:8 ). The veil possibly includes reproach as well.

4. Temple veil. This curtain separated the most holy place from the holy place ( 2 Chronicles 3:14 ). Only the high priest was allowed to pass through the veil and then only on the Day of Atonement ( Leviticus 16:2 ). At Jesus' death the Temple veil was ripped from top to bottom, illustrating that in Christ God had abolished the barrier separating humanity from the presence of od ( Matthew 27:51;  Mark 15:38; compare  Luke 23:45 ).  Hebrews 10:20 uses the tabernacle veil, not as the image of a barrier, but of access: Access to God is gained through the flesh of the historical Jesus (compare   John 10:7 ).

Chris Church

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [6]

(See Dress .) The Mitpachath ( Ruth 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. Μispachot , 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).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

An indispensable part of the outdoor dress of Eastern Ladies, who live secluded from the sight of all men except their own husbands and their nearest relatives. If an Egyptian lady is surprised uncovered, she quickly draws her veil over her face, with some exclamation like, "O my misfortune." To lift or remove one's veil was to insult and degrade her,  Genesis 24:65 Song of   Song of Solomon 5:7   1 Corinthians 11:5,10 . The custom of wearing veils, however, has not been prevalent at all times. Sarah the wife of Abraham, and Rebekah and her companions at the well do not appear to have worn them,  Genesis 12:14,15   24:16 . Compare also  Genesis 38:14,15   Proverbs 7:13 . See Abimelech .

Veil were of different kinds. Those now worn in Syria and Egypt may be divided into two classes, the one large and sometimes thick, the other small and of lighter materials. The usual indoor veil is of thin muslin, attached to the headdress, and falling over the back, sometimes to the feet. A similar veil is added to the front of the headdress on going abroad, partially covering the face and hanging low. The other veil, to be worn in the street, is a large mantle or sheet, of black silk, linen, or some coarse material, so ample as to envelope the whole person and dress, leaving but one of the eyes exposed, Song of  Song of Solomon 4:9 . Such was the veil worn by  Ruth 3:15 , translated "mantle" in  Isaiah 3:22 . Many women wear no other veil than this. The Greek word translated "power" in  1 Corinthians 11:10 , probably means a veil, as a token of her husband's rightful authority and her own subordination. This was to be worn in their Christian assemblies "because of the angels;" that is, because of the presence either of true angels, or of the officers of the church, who being unaccustomed to see the unveiled faces of women, might be distracted by them in the discharge of their public duties.

For the "veil of the temple," see Tabernacle and Temple .

Webster's Dictionary [8]

(1): ( n.) Something hung up, or spread out, to intercept the view, and hide an object; a cover; a curtain; esp., a screen, usually of gauze, crape, or similar diaphnous material, to hide or protect the face.

(2): ( n.) Fig.: To invest; to cover; to hide; to conceal.

(3): ( n.) A membrane connecting the margin of the pileus of a mushroom with the stalk; - called also velum.

(4): ( n.) The calyptra of mosses.

(5): ( n.) A cover; disguise; a mask; a pretense.

(6): ( n.) A covering for a person or thing; as, a nun's veil; a paten veil; an altar veil.

(7): ( n.) Same as Velum, 3.

(8): ( n.) To throw a veil over; to cover with a veil.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

Veil. 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,  Song of Solomon 4:1;  Song of Solomon 4:3;  Song of Solomon 6:7, or by betrothed maidens in the presence of their future husbands, especially at the time of the wedding,  Genesis 24:65, or lastly, by women of loose character for purposes of concealment.  Genesis 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.

King James Dictionary [10]

VEIL, n. L. velum.

1. A cover a curtain something to intercept the view and lude an object. 2. A cover a disguise. See Vail. The latter orthography gives the Latin pronunciation as well as the English, and is to be preferred.


1. To cover with a veil to conceal. 2. To invest to cover. 3. To hide. See Vail.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [11]

VEIL . See Vail.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [12]


Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Veil'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.