Turban Though it is presumable that in a climate like that of Palestine the inhabitants did not expose themselves to the cold of winter or the heats of summer without some covering for the head, there is no certain evidence that any such was in common use. The Hebrews have several words by which articles of head-dress are designated, but they all apparently belong to coverings which were either official or merely ornamental, with the exception of those used by the military.
In the Pentateuch two kinds of head-coverings are mentioned as forming part of the priest's dress, the מַצנֶפֶת of the high-priest, and the מַגבָּעָה of the common priests; the former of which was probably a sort of tiara, while the latter may have been a turban, but was more probably a high cap of a flower-like Nape, such as are found among Orientals in the present day (Bahr, Symbolik des mos. Cult. 2, 66). As these head, coverings (A. V. "bonnets") were expressly designed for "glory and for beauty" (Ex 28:40), they evidently give us no idea of what was commonly worn on the head. by the people. In the ceremony prescribed for the drinking of the waters of jealousy, the priest is directed to loosen (פרע) the woman's head i.e. to let her hair fall down loosely (Nu 5; Nu 18); and in the law concerning the leper it is prescribed that his head shall be loosened (פרוע); phraseology which seems to indicate that it was customary in the Mosaic times to bind the hair with a band or fillet, such as we see represented on the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments. On the other hand, from the stress that is laid in the law concerning the Nazarite on his suffering his locks to grow, and on his hair thus abundantly grown being the crown of God on him (Le 13:45), it seems fair to infer that the cropping of the hair, and perhaps also the shaving of the head and the wearing of some covering (it may be of artificial hair, as among the Egyptians), was common among the people.
1. צָנַיŠ, tsaniph. This term occurs three times in the Old Test. (Job 29:14;. Isa 62:3; Zec 3:5). In all these cases the usage of the word shows that it refers, not to an ordinary article of dress, but to one which was ornamental and for display. It was probably a turban, the word being derived from צנŠ to roll round or wind. Schrider (De Vest. Mulier. Heb. p. 364) endeavors to prove from the Arabic that this word means a narrow strip wound round the head; but his instances only prove that the Arabic tsinf and tsinfa denote a small band, or the hem of a garment. In Isa 3:22 the fern. tseniphah is used of a female head-dress worn for ornament.
2. פּאֵר, peer. This word is used of the head-dress of distinguished persons, both male and female (Isa 3:20; Isa 61:3,10; Eze 24:17,23; Eze 44:18). In Ex 39:28 it is used of the priest's head-dress, as also in Eze 44:18. In all the other instances it indicates an article of holiday costume. Saalschtütz suggests that the peer was probably the hat or bonnet, properly so called, and the tsaniph the ornamental headband wrapped round it.
3. צפַירִת, tsephirdth, from צָפִר, to circle, a circlet or diadem (Isa 28:5); or it may have been a piece of fine muslin wound round the turban for ornament, such as the Orientals still use.
4. לַויָה , livyah (Pr 1:9; Pr 4:9). Some regard this as a species of fillet by which the head was bound; but it probably means rather a garland or wreath of flowers.
The examination of these terms has failed to convey to us any information respecting the ordinary every-day costume for the head of the Hebrew people. Probably they were wont simply to throw some part of their dress over their heads when they had occasion to expose themselves to the weather, or to fold a piece of cloth over their heads, as do the Arabs of the present day, reserving such articles as those above named for holiday or festive occasions (Jahn, Biblische Archiologie, I, 2, 2, p. 116; Saalschiitz, Arch. der Hebr. 2, 22). SEE HEAD-DRESS.