Head (properly ראֹשׁ, rosh, κεφαλή), the topmost part of the human body.
I. Anatomically considered, the general character of the human head is such as to establish the identity of the human race, and to distinguish man from every other animal. At the same time, different families of mankind are marked by peculiarities of construction in the head, which, though in individual cases, and when extremes are compared together, they run one into the other, to the entire loss of distinctive lines, yet are in the general broadly contrasted one with the other. These peculiarities in the structure of the skull give rise to and are connected with other peculiarities of feature and general contour of face. In the union of cranial peculiarities with those of the face, certain clear marks are presented, by which physiologists have been able to range the individuals of our race into a few great classes, and in so doing to afford an unintentional corroboration of the information which the Scriptures afford regarding the origin and dispersion of mankind. Camper, one of the most learned and clear-minded physicians of the 18th century, has the credit of being the first who drew attention to the classification of the human features, and endeavored, by means of what he termed the facial angle, to furnish a method for distinguishing different nations and races of men, which, being himself an eminent limner, he designed for application chiefly in the art of drawing, and which, though far from producing strictly definite and scientific results, yet affords views that are not without interest, and approximations that at least prepared the way for something better (see a collection of Camper's pieces entitled l'Euvres qui ontpour Objet l'Histoire Naturelle, la Physiologie, et l'Anatomie comparae, Paris, 1803). It is, however, to the celebrated J. F. Blumenbach, whose merits in the entire sphere of natural history are so transcendent, that we are mainly indebted for the accurate and satisfactory classifications in regard to cranial structure which now prevail. Camper had observed that the breadth of the head differs in different nations; that the heads of Asiatics (the Kalmucs) have the greatest breadth; that those of Europeans have a middle degree of breadth; and that the skulls of the African Negroes are the narrowest of all. This circumstance was by Blumenbach made the foundation of his arrangement and description of skulls. By comparing different forms of the human cranium together, that eminent physiologist was led to recognize three great types, to which all others' could be referred-the Caucasian, Mongolian, and Ethiopic. These three differ more widely from each other than any other that can be found; but to these three, Blumenbach, in his classification of skulls, and of the races of men to which they belong, added two others, in many respects intermediate between the three forms already mentioned. In this way five classes are established, corresponding with five great families.
1. The Caucasian family, comprising the nations of Europe, some of the Western Asiatics, etc., have the head of the most symmetrical shape, almost round the forehead of moderate extent, the cheek-bones rather narrow, without any projection, but a direction downwards from the molar process of the frontal bone; the alveolar edge well rounded; the front teeth of each jaw placed perpendicularly; the face of oval shape, straight, features moderately prominent; forehead arched; nose narrow, slightly arched; mouth small; chin full and round.
2. The second is the Mongolian variety.
4. Malay and South Sea Islanders.
5: American. The description of their peculiarities may be found in Prichard's Researches into the Physical History of Man, 2nd ed. 1, 167 sq. The reader may also consult Lawrence's Lectures on the Natural History of Man; J. Muller's Handbuch der Physiologie. But the most recent, if not the best work on the subject before us is Prichard's Natural History of Man (1843), a work which comprises and reviews, in the spirit of a sound philosophy, all that has hitherto been written and discovered on the origin, physical structure, and propagation over the earth of the race of man. In this invaluable work full details may be found of the methods of studying the human head of which we have spoken, and of some others, not less interesting in themselves, nor less valuable in their results (see particularly p. 116 sq.).
II. Scriptural References. — This part of the human body has generally been considered as the abode of intelligence, while the heart, or the parts placed near it, have been accounted the place where the affections lie (Ge 3:15; Ps 3:3; Ec 2:14). The head and the heart are sometimes taken for the entire person (Isa 1:5). Even the head alone, as being the chief member, frequently stands for the man (Pr 10:6). The head also denotes sovereignty (1Co 11:3). Covering the head, and cutting off the hair, were signs of mourning and tokens of distress, which were enhanced by throwing ashes on the head, together with sackcloth (Am 8:10; Job 1:20; Le 21:5; De 14:1; 2Sa 13:10; Es 4:1); while anointing the head was practiced on festive occasions, and considered an emblem of felicity (Ec 9:8; Ps 23:5; Lu 7:46). SEE ANOINT. It was not unusual to swear by the head (Mt 5:36). — Kitto, s.v. The phrase to lift up the head of any one, is to exalt him (Ps 3:3; Ps 110:7); and to return or give back upon one's head, is to be requited, recompensed (Ps 7:16; Joe 3:4; Eze 9:10; Eze 11:21; Eze 16:43; Eze 17:19; Eze 22:31). So, your blood be on your own heads (Ac 18:6); the guilt of your destruction rests upon yourselves (2Sa 1:16; 1Ki 2:33,37). The term head is used to signify the chief, one to whom others are subordinate; the prince of a people or state (Jg 10:18; Jg 11:8; 1Sa 15:17; Ps 18:43; Isa 7:8-9); of a family, the head, chief, patriarch (Ex 6:14; Nu 7:2; 1Ch 5:24); of a husband in relation to a wife (Ge 3:16; 1Co 11:3; Eph 5:23). So of Christ the head in relation to his Church, which is his body, and its members his members (1Co 12:27; 1Co 11:3; Eph 1:22; Eph 4:15; Eph 5:23; Colossians 11:18; 2:10, 19); of God in relation to Christ (1Co 11:3). Head is also used for what is highest, uppermost: the top, summit of a mountain (Ge 8:5; Ex 17:9-10; Ex 19:20). The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established at the head of the mountains, and shall be higher than the hills, i.e. it shall be a prince among the mountains (Isa 2; Isa 2). Four heads of rivers, i.e. four rivers into which the waters divide themselves (Ge 2; Ge 10). Head stone of-the corner (Ps 118:22), either the highest, forming the top or coping of the corner; or lowest, which forms the foundation of the building. SEE CORNER.
III. Hair of the Head (פֶּרִע) was by the Hebrews worn thick and full as an ornament of the person (comp. Eze 8:3; Jer 7:29); a bald head, besides exposing one to the suspicion of leprosy (Le 13:43 sq.), was always a cause of mortification (2Ki 2:23; Isa 3:17,24; comp. Sueton. Caes. 45; Domit. 18; Homer, Iliad, 2, 219; Hariri, 10, p. 99, ed. Sacy); among the priestly order it therefore amounted to a positive disqualification (Le 21:20; Mishna, Bechoroth, 7, 2); among the Egyptians, on the contrary, the hair was regularly shorn (Ge 41:14), and only allowed to go uncut in seasons of mourning (Herod. 2, 36). Hair so long as to descend to the shoulders, however, seems only in early times to have been the habit, in the male sex, with youth (2Sa 14:6; Joseph. Ant. 8, 7, 3; Horace, Od. 2, 5, 21; 3:20, 14). Men cropped it from time to time with shears (מוֹרָה תִּעִר; comp. Eze 44:20, and the κόμη μικρἀ of the Babylonians, Strabo 16:746). SEE NAZARITE. Among the late Jews long hair in men was esteemed a weakness (1Co 11:14; comp. Plutarch, Quaest. Rom. 14; Clem. Alex. Paed. 3, 106; Epiphaii. Haer. 68, 6; Jerome ad Ezech. 44); but it was otherwise in Sparta (Aristot. Rhet. 1, 9; Herod. 1, 82; Xenoph. Lac. 11, 3; comp. Aristoph. An. 1287 sq.); and to the priests any curtailment of it was forbidden (Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 118; for the long hair on the Persepolitan remains, see Niebuhr, Trav. 2. 128; and for that of the Asiatic priests in general, see Movers, Phonic. 1, 682: on the Assyrian monuments it is always, in the case of natives at least, represented as long and elaborately curled; see Layard, passim). Only in cases of religious vows did males suffer it to grow uncut (Ac 18:18; see Kuinol, ad loc.). Females, on the contrary, set great value upon the hair (1 Corinthians 1. c.; compare Song 4:1; Lu 7:38; Joh 11:2 [Re 9:8]; Philostr. Ep. 26; Plutarch, De vit. cere al. 3; Harmer, 3:319; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. 6, 108; Kype, Observ. 2, 220). There were various modes of putting up the hair (Eze 44:20; comp. Herod. 4:175,191); and it was a statute that men should not cut off the earlocks (הִזָּקָן פּאִת, Le 19:27; A.V. "round the corners of the head"). Women, especially, were wont to curl the hair (Isa 3:24; see Gesen. ad loc.; comp. Serv. ad — En. 12, 98), and to braid it (2Ki 9:30; Judith 10:3; 1Pe 3:3; 1Ti 2:9; comp. Joseph. War, 4, 9, 10; Homer, II. 1, 330; 14:175; Harmer, 2, 381: to go with disheveled hair [passis crinibus] was a mark of grief, 3 Macc. 1:9; comp. Lu 7:38; Lightfoot,Opp. p. 1081; but rustic maidens often let the hair fall in loose tresses [דִלָּה, Song 7:6; comp. Anacr. 29, 7], merely bound with a ribbon), or even to interweave it with gems or other finery (Iliad, 17, 52), and in later times to ornament it most elaborately (see Lightfoot, Opp. p. 498; Hartmann, Hebr. 2, 208 sq.). SEE HEAD-DRESS. Even men sometimes appeared with curls (Joseph. Ant. 14, 9, 4; comp. War, 4, 9,10; Philo, Opp. 2, 479; Plutarch, Lycurg. 22), which, however, was generally disapproved (Philo, Opp. 2,.306, 479; Cicero, Sext. 8; Artemid. 2, 6; Martial, 2, 36; Phocyl. Sentent. 194 sq.; Clement Alexand. Pced. 3, p. 101). Combs are nowhere mentioned in the O.T. (other nations knew them, Ovid, Fast. 1, 405; Petron. Sat. 126; Apul. Asin. 2, p. 213; comp. Iliad, 14, 176), although they, as well as hairpins, are referred to in the Talmud (Hartmann, p. 224 sq.). Hair-powder was unknown to the ancients. On the other hand, they used to anoint the hair with costly oils (Ps 23:5; Ps 133:2; Mt 6:17; Lu 7:46; Joseph. Ant. 19:4, 1; as also non-Jewish nations, Plutarch, Pracepta cozjug. 29; Horace, 0. 2, 11, 16; 3:29, 2; Ovid, Ars Am. 1, 505; Tibul. 1, 751; Suetonius, Cces. 67; Apud. Metam. 2, 30, Bip.), and gave it a brilliant luster by a mixture of gold-dust in these unguents (Joseph. Ant. 8, 7, 3; comp. Lamprid. Commod. 17), as the hair of Orientals is generally black (Song 4:1; Song 5:11: David's rufous hair is named as peculiar, 1Sa 16:12). A common method of dressing the hair among many ancient nations (Pliny, 15:24; 23:32, 46; 26:93; 28:51; Athen. 12:542; Val. Max. 2, 1, 5; Diod. Sic. 5, 28; but not among the Greeks, Plutarch, Apopht. reg. p. 19, Tauchn.), and one highly esteemed by modern Orientals, namely, to stain it reddish-yellow by means of henna, SEE CAMPHIRE, although perhaps not unknown to the Hebrewesses (see Song 7:5), as an imitation of the generally prized golden locks (flavi crines) of antiquity (Iliad, 1, 197; 2, 642; Virg. En. 4, 549; Ovid, Fast. 2, 763; Stat. Achil. 1, 162; Petron. Sat. 105; Apul. — Metam. 2, 25, Bip.; see Brouckhus. ad Tibull. 1, 6, 8), was a practice that does not appear to have anciently prevailed in the East; and modern Arabs are only accustomed to dye the hair when gray (Niebuhr, Trav. 1, 303). False hair has been incorrectly inferred from the Mishna (Shabb. 6, 5), although used among the Medians (comp. Xenoph. Cyr. 1, 3, 2, κόμαι πρόσθετοι), and occasionally by old men (Ovid, Ars Am. 3, 16), or for some special purpose (Polyb. 102, 78; Petron. Sat. 110; Juven. Sat. 6, 120: Josephus condemns its use, περιθετὴ κόμη, Life, 11); but wigs, although common in ancient Egypt (see Wilkinson, Anc. Ey. 2, 325, 326, 329), are unknown in the modern East (see Nikolai, Ueb. d. falschen Haare u. Periicken in alt. u. n. Zeit. Berl. 1801; Heindorf, on Horat. Satir. p. 183; Beroald, on Apul. Met. p. 244; Fabric. Bibliogr. Antiq. p. 847). See generally Schwebel, De vett. in capillis ornandis studio (Onold. 1768). On the treatment of the hair in mourning, SEE GRIEF. See Junius, De coma, c. animad. Gruteri (Amst. 1708); Salmasius, De ccesarie viror. et coma mulier. (L. B. 1644) Henning, De capillis vett. (Magdeb. 1678). SEE HAIR.