1 Corinthians 11:15
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her.—We should follow the suggestions of Nature. If a woman has naturally long hair, which is given to her as a covering for her head, the covering of her head can be no shame to her; therefore let her wear a veil. “The will ought to correspond to Nature.”

11:2-16 Here begin particulars respecting the public assemblies, ch. 1Co 14. In the abundance of spiritual gifts bestowed on the Corinthians, some abuses had crept in; but as Christ did the will, and sought the honour of God, so the Christian should avow his subjection to Christ, doing his will and seeking his glory. We should, even in our dress and habit, avoid every thing that may dishonour Christ. The woman was made subject to man, because made for his help and comfort. And she should do nothing, in Christian assemblies, which looked like a claim of being equal. She ought to have power, that is, a veil, on her head, because of the angels. Their presence should keep Christians from all that is wrong while in the worship of God. Nevertheless, the man and the woman were made for one another. They were to be mutual comforts and blessings, not one a slave, and the other a tyrant. God has so settled matters, both in the kingdom of providence and that of grace, that the authority and subjection of each party should be for mutual help and benefit. It was the common usage of the churches, for women to appear in public assemblies, and join in public worship, veiled; and it was right that they should do so. The Christian religion sanctions national customs wherever these are not against the great principles of truth and holiness; affected singularities receive no countenance from any thing in the Bible.It is a glory unto her - It is an ornament, and adorning. The same instinctive promptings of nature which make it proper for a man to wear short hair, make it proper that the woman should suffer hers to grow long.

For a covering - Margin, "veil." It is given to her as a sort of natural veil, and to indicate the propriety of her wearing a veil. It answered the purposes of a veil when it was allowed to grow long, and to spread over the shoulders and ever parts of the face, before the arts of dress were invented or needed. There may also be an allusion here to the fact that the hair of women naturally grows longer than that of men. See Rosenmuller. The value which eastern females put on their long hair may be learned from the fact that when Ptolemy Euergetes, king of Egypt, was about to march against Seleucus Callinicus, his queen Berenice vowed, as the most precious sacrifice which she could make, to cut off and consecrate her hair if he returned in safety. "The eastern ladies," says Harmer, "are remarkable for the length and the great number of the tresses of their hair. The men there, on the contrary, wear very little hair on their heads." Lady M. W. Montague thus speaks concerning the hair of the women:" Their hair hangs at full length behind, divided into tresses, braided with pearl or riband, which is always in great quantity. I never saw in my life so many fine heads of hair. In one lady's I have counted one hundred and ten of these tresses, all natural; but it must be owned that every kind of beauty is more common here than with us." The men there, on the contrary, shave all the hair off their heads, excepting one lock; and those that wear hair are thought effeminate. Both these particulars are mentioned by Chardin, who says they are agreeable to the custom of the East: "the men are shaved; the women nourish their hair with great fondness, which they lengthen, by tresses and tufts of silk, down to the heels. The young men who wear their hair in the East are looked upon as effeminate and infamous."

15. her hair … for a covering—Not that she does not need additional covering. Nay, her long hair shows she ought to cover her head as much as possible. The will ought to accord with nature [Bengel]. But, he saith, if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her. Long hair is comely for the woman, and accounted to her for a beauty or ornament, for God hath

given her her hair for a covering. There have been books written about the lawfulness or unlawfulness of men’s wearing long hair, and the due or undue lengths of men’s hair, the substance of which were too much to transcribe here. That which in these verses seemeth to be commended to us, as the will of God in this matter, is:

1. That men and women should so order their hair, as by it to preserve the distinction of sexes.

2. That men should not wear their hair after the manner of women, either dishevelled, or curled, and tricked up about their heads, which speaks too much of an unmanly and effeminate temper, much more was what became not Christians. And if this be forbidden men, as to the use of their own hair, they stand concerned to consider whether it be lawful for them thus to wear and adorn themselves with the hair of other men and women. But if a woman have long hair,.... And wears it, without cutting it, as men do:

it is a glory to her; it is comely and beautiful; it is agreeable to her sex, she looks like herself; it becomes and adorns her:

for her hair is given her for a covering; not instead of a covering for her head, or any other part of her body, so that she needs no other: we read indeed of the daughter of Nicodemus ben Gorion, that she was obliged to make use of her hair for a covering in such a sense (l);

"it happened to R. Jochanan ben Zaccai that he rode upon an ass, and went out of Jerusalem, and his disciples went after him; he saw a young woman gathering barley corns out of the dung of the Arabian cattle; when she saw him, , "she covered herself with her hair", and stood before him:''

but this covering was made use of, not of choice, but by force, through her poverty, she having no other; this was not the custom of the nation, nor was the hair given to women for a covering in this sense, nor used by them as such, unless by Eve before the fall; but is rather an indication that they want another covering for their head, it not being so decent that their long hair should be seen. The Jewish women used to esteem it an immodest thing for their hair to be seen, and therefore they took care, as much as possible, to hide it under another covering;

"one woman, whose name was Kimchith, had seven sons, and they all ministered in the high priesthood; the wise men said unto her, what hast thou done, that thou art so worthy? she replied to them, all my days the beams of my house never saw , "the plaits of my hair" (m);''

that is, they were never seen by any person, even within her house.

(l) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 66. 2.((m) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 47. 1.

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a {e} covering.

(e) To be a covering for her, and such a covering as should procure another.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. it is a glory to her] The true glory of every creature of God is to fulfil the law of its being. Whatever helps woman to discharge the duties of modesty and submissiveness assigned to her by God is a glory to her.

for her hair is given her for a covering] A mantle, or cloak. Literally, something flung around the body. It is worthy of remark that the Vestal Virgins at Rome wore their hair short, or confined by a fillet. They may, however, have been regarded as protected by their sacred character.1 Corinthians 11:15. Ἀντὶ περιβολαίου, for a covering) Not but that an artificial covering ought to be added, but because her longer hair is a proof of covering the head as much as possible: the will ought to correspond to nature.—[94] δέδοται, has been given) by nature.

[94] The word αὐτῇ, the omission of which was thrust down by the marg. of 2d edition from the mark γ to the mark ε, is exhibited in the Germ. Ver.—E. B.

Αὐτῇ is read by Lachm. with ABg after δέδοται, and before it, in CH and later Syr. and Vulg. Tisch. omits it with D (Λ)Gfg.—ED.Verse 15. - It is a glory to her. Because it is at once beautiful and natural; and as Bengel says, "Will should follow the guidance of nature."
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