(מֵצִח, me'tsach, from an obsolete root signif. to shine, Gesenius, Thes. Heb. page 815; μέτωπον). The practice of veiling the face in public for women of the higher classes, especially married women: in the East, sufficiently stigmatizes with reproach the unveiled face of women of bad character (Ge 25:34; Jer 3:3; Niebuhr, Trav. 1:132, 149, 150; Shaw, Travels, pages 228, 240; Hasselquist, Travels, page 58; Buckingham, Arab Tribes, page 312; Lane, Mod Eg. 1:72, 77, 225248;
Burckhardt, Travels, 1:233). An especial force is thus given to the term "hard of forehead" as descriptive of audacity in general (Eze 3:7-9; compare Juvenal, Sat. 14:242 — "Ejectum attrita de fronte ruborem"). SEE VEIL.
The custom among many Oriental nations both of coloring the face and forehead, and of impressing on the body marks indicative of devotion to some special deity or religious sect is mentioned by various writers (Burckhardt, Notes on Bed. 1:51; Niebuhr, Tray. 2:57; Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 2:342; Lane, Modern Eg. 1:66). Sometimes it extends to serious inflictions. SEE CUTTINGS IN THE FLESH. It is doubtless alluded to in Revelation (Re 13:16-17; Re 14:9; Re 17:5; Re 20:4), and in the opposite direction by Ezekiel (Eze 9:4-6), and in Revelation (Re 7:3; Re 9:4; Re 14:1; Re 22:4). The mark mentioned by Ezekiel with approval has been supposed by some to be the figure of the cross, said to be denoted by the word here used, תָּו, in the ancient Shemitic language (Gesenius, Thes. page 1495; Spencer, De Leg. Hebr. 2:20; 3:409, 413). SEE MARK (ON THE PERSON).
It may have been by way of contradiction to heathen practice that the high- priest wore on the front of his mitre the golden plate inscribed "Holiness to the Lord" (Ex 28:36; Ex 39:30; Spencer, l.c.). SEE MITRE.
The "jewels for the forehead" mentioned by Ezekiel (16:12), and in the margin of the A.V., Ge 24:22, were in all probability nose-rings (Isa 3:21; Lane, Mod. Egypt 3:225, 226; Harrer, Observ. 4:311, 312; Gesenius, Thesaur. page 870). The Persian and also Egyptian women wear jewels and strings of coins. across their foreheads (Olearius, Travels, page 317; Lane, Mod. Eg. 2:228). — Smith, s.v. SEE NOSE JEWEL.