CROWN.(Redirected from DIADEM.)
The translation employed for five distinct Hebrew words in the Bible. It renders, first, "zer," a technical term used frequently in the Priestly portions of Exodus for the golden molding with which the Ark (xxv. 11), the table (xxv. 24), its border (xxv. 25), and the altar of incense (xxx. 3) were decorated. While this is an uncommon use, the word is employed secondly and more accurately for the Hebrew "nezer." This carries with it the idea of consecration, and refers solely to the circlet worn on the head by a Hebrew monarch as a symbol of his royal power (II Sam. i. 10; II Kings xi. 12), or to that worn by the high priest (Ex. xxix. 6, xxxix. 30). Because of the significance of the crown, the word is used figuratively for the authority of a king (Prov. xxvii. 24). A third word, "'aṭarah," is used in a perfectly general way both directly (II Sam. xii. 30; Ezek. xxi. 31 [A. V. 26] and figuratively (Job xix. 9, xxxi. 36). It also refers to wreaths used at banquets for purposes of decoration (Isa. xxviii. 1), or at games as rewards (Prov. iv. 9). For "crown" in the phrase "crown royal" in the book of Esther, however, there is another Hebrew word, "keter," which seems to be a Persian loan-word.
In the New Testament the words στέφανος and διάδημα are indiscriminately rendered "crown" in the R. V., but distinguished in the R. V. (I Cor. ix. 25; II Tim. ii. 5; Rev. iv. 4, 10). The latter is the real insignia of royalty; the former, a general symbol of superiority. This distinction is not maintained in the Old Testament. Finally, the word occurs not infrequently for "ḳadḳad" in the phrase "crown of the head," referring to the upper part of the head.
In the New Testament a crown symbolizes victory and all that it involves by way of reward. In the Old Testament it is rather a symbol of splendor and dignity (Prov. xii. 4, xvi. 31). Still, if the Hebrew reading is correct, in Ps. cxlii. 8 the crown is indicative of triumph.
The use of crowns among the Jews in post-Biblical times, both in life and in literature, is varied. Under the influence of Greek custom the guests sat at the festive table with their heads crowned with garlands. In the Book of Wisdom (ii. 8) the ungodly are quoted as saying, with reference to their festal meals: "Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they be withered." With these are contrasted the righteous whose reward is with the Lord: "They receive the crown of royal dignity and the diadem of beauty from the Lord's hand (ib. v. 16). The custom of sitting with wreaths round the head at feasts seems to have been quite common among the Jews before the destruction of the Second Temple. Ben Sira describes a Jewish feast at which the symposiarch sits with a crown of honor (Ecclus. [Sirach] xxxii. 1-2). Judith and all the women of Israel celebrated a thanks giving festival after the victory over Holofernes, "dancing, being crowned with olive garlands, and all the men of Israel followed in their armor with garlands" (Judith xv. 13; compare iii. 7). Thus the Jews of Alexandria, after their miraculous deliverance, celebrated a thanksgiving feast "crowned with garlands of all kinds of sweet-scented flowers" (III Macc. vii. 16; compare ib. iv. 8, and Josephus, "Ant." xix. 9, § 1). Likewise, the Jews in Maccabean times celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles sitting in their booths, "with wreaths upontheir heads," as may be learned from the Book of Jubilees, xiv. 30, where Abraham is said to have received an ordinance to this effect for all generations. Obviously, this custom gave rise to the belief that the Tabernacle feast was a Bacchic festival (Plutarch, "Symposium," iv. 5; compare II Macc. vi. 7).
Whether this Greek custom goes back to ancient Semitic life (see Isa. xxviii. 1-5, and Luzzatto's Hebrew commentary) can not be decided. The Sukkah garlands or crowns of wheat (
Crowns were placed by the Gentiles upon their idols (Epistle of Jeremiah 9; Acts xiv. 13); and accordingly, such "crowns of wheat-ears or of roses" placed upon idols were interdicted (Yer. 'Ab. Zarah iii. 42c, 43d). The Jews, however, modified the custom by placing crowns of gold upon the forefront of the Temple at the dedication feast (I Macc. iv. 57). They also put garlands of olive around the festal steer that led the annual thanksgiving procession, and around the baskets containing the first-fruits (Bik. iii. 3, 9, 10).
God Himself is constantly represented as wearing crowns. The archangel Sandalfon binds wreaths for his Maker (Hag. 13b); and the angel Akatriel (
Most crowns of reward mentioned in Hellenistic and rabbinical literature refer to the world to come. The angel of death says to Abraham (Testament of Abraham, A, xvii.; B, xiii.), "If any one is righteous I take crowns and come to him." "The greatness of thy love toward God becomes a crown upon thy head." (Compare "the crowns and thrones of glory" for the righteous in Ascensio Isaiæ, vii. 22, viii. 26, ix. 10; Hermas, "Similitudes," viii. 2.) Such crowns are especially accorded to the martyrs (see Testament of Job, ix. 13, probably based upon
- L. LöW, Kranz und Krone, in Ben Chananja, 1867, Nos. 11, 12;
- Charles, The Ascension of Isaiah, 1900, p. 61;
- J. B. Mayor, The Epistle of St. James, 1892, notes, pp. 40 et seq.;
- Hastings, Dict. Bible;
- Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl. s.v. Crown.
In the Talmudic Hebrew,
"Keter," as well as "'aṭeret" and its derivatives, has also the applied meaning of ornament, dignity, and distinction. The righteous will wear crowns in the hereafter (Ber. 17a; compare Meg. 15b, where God is the crown on the head of the pious; Lev. R. xxx.). So also prayer is woven into a crown for the head of God (Ex. R. xxi.). "Three crowns there are: the crown of the Torah, the crown of the priesthood, the crown of royalty; but the crown of a good name is higher than these altogether" (Abot iv. 13). In explanation of this enumeration of the three degrees of distinction Ex. R. xxxiv. and Num. R. iv. must be kept in mind. The crown of the learned man (Pharisee), that of the priest (Sadducee), that of royal blood, men of good repute not only attain but even surpass; that is, learning, birth, and station are worthless, while character is all. R. Simeon ben Joḥai enumerates these crowns in this order: the crown of royalty, that is, the "table of the showbreads," which had a golden border; the crown of the priesthood, that is, the altar; the crown of the Torah, that is, the Ark of the Covenant. Playing upon the vocalization of
The most distinguished men are called the crown of their fellows (for instance, in Tosef., Soṭah, xv.). With the death of R. Eleazar ben Azariah passed away the crown of the wise, for the wealth of the wise consists in the crown of learning (compare Soṭah 49b). So also the distinctions conferred on the first day are designated as its ten crowns (Sifra, Shemini Shab. 87b).Bridal Crowns.
The bride wore a crown—wreath or chaplet—at the marriage feast, and so did the bridegroom, who, indeed, was regarded as a king during the nuptial ceremonies (Nowack, "Lehrbuch des Hebräischen Archäologie," i. 164). This custom was suspended for a time in consequence of the Roman wars (Soṭah ix. 14). These bridal wreaths could not be woven of myrtle or roses, but were made of reeds. The reason for this restriction is found in the idolatrous uses of wreaths of the kind prohibited (Yer. 'Ab. Zarah iv. 43d: "Not only wreaths made of wheat-stalks, but also of roses"; compare also Yer. Bik. i., toward end 64b, top; Soṭah 49a). In Yer. Soṭah ix. 24b, bottom, R. Jeremiah is reported as wearing a crown of olive-branches in order to amuse the bridal party, from which act he came to be known as the rabbi with the (myrtle bridal) crown (compare Gen. R. lxx.; Lam. R. 94b; the verse "the crown is fallen from our head" [Lam. v. 16] was interpreted to refer to him; Lam. R. to the verse, 69d). Mention is also made of ornaments in the shape of wreaths, which were much affected by women (Shab. v. 1 [57a]; Soṭah 49b). Some of these are even said to have shown in engraving the picture of Jerusalem. By later rabbis the custom of placing a wreath or crown on the head of the bridegroom was regarded as a token of mourning for Jerusalem, the olive-branches being bitter" ("'Aṭeret Zeḳenim to "Or ha-Ḥayyim," 560; Ṭur Eben ha'Ezer, 65; Tos. Pes. 36a). See Crown of the Law.