Covering or ornament for the head. Very little information is obtainable as to the adornment and covering for the head in use among the Israelites of antiquity. The Old Testament sources contain scarcely anything on this subject; neither do the monuments furnish any material. The Israelites on Sennacherib's marble relief appear with no head-dress, and although the ambassadors of Jehu on the Shalmaneser stele have a head-covering, their costume seems to be Assyrian rather than Israelitish. Only one passage of the older literature is of any significance: I Kings xx. 31 mentions "ḥabalim" together with "saḳ," both of which are placed around the head. This calls to mind pictures of Syrians on Egyptian monuments, represented wearing a cord around their long, flowing hair, a custom still followed in Arabia. Evidently the costume of the poorest classes is represented; but as it gave absolutely no protection against the heat of the sun to which a worker in the fields is so often exposed, there is little probability that it remained unchanged very long, although it may have been the most ancient fashion.
The Israelites most probably had a head-dress similar to that worn by the Bedouins. This consists of a keffieh folded into a triangle, and placed on the head with the middle ends hanging over the neck to protect it, while the other two are knotted together under the chin. A thick woolen cord ("'aḳal") holds the cloth firmly on the head. In later times the Israelites, both men and women, adopted a turban-like head-dress more like that of the fellahs of to-day. The latter wear a little cap ("ṭaḳiyah"), usually made of cotton cloth folded doubly or triply, which is supposed to shield the other parts of the head-covering from perspiration. With boys this often forms the only head-covering. Under this cap are placed one, often two, felt caps ("lubbadah"), and the national head-dress of the Turks, the red tarboosh. Around this, finally, is wound either an unbleached cotton cloth with red stripes and fringe, a gaily flowered "mandil," a red-and yellow-striped keffich, a black cashmere scarf, a piece of white muslin, or a colored cloth. Such a covering not only keeps off the scorching rays of the sun, but it also furnishes a convenient pillow on occasion, and is not seldom used by the fellahs for proserving important documents.
That the head-dress of the Israelites must have been of this kind is shown by the noun "ẓanif" and by the verb "ḥabash" (to wind; comp. Ezek. xvi. 10; Ex. xxix. 9; Jonah ii. 6 [A. V. 5]). "Ẓanaf" means "to roll like a ball" (Isa. xxii. 18). As to the form of such turbans nothing is known; perhaps they varied according to the different classes of society, as was customary with the Assyrians and Babylonians, whose fashions may have influenced the costume of the Israelites. How the high priest's miter ("miẓnefet"; Ex. xxviii. 37, xxix. 6) differed from the ẓanif is not clear; perhaps it was pointed like the head-covering worn by Assyrian kings: the turban ("migba'ah") of an ordinary priest probably had a conical form. Nothing is known concerning the "'aṭarah" (II Sam. xii. 30; Ezek. xvi. 12) or the "keter" (Esth. i. 11, ii. 17, vi. 8; comp. De Lagarde, "Gesammelte Abhandlungen," pp. 207, 213-215; idem, "Armenische Studien," pp. 67, 2003).
The bridegroom was distinguished by his head-dress ("pe'er"; Isa. lxi. 3; Ezek. xxiv. 17, 23), which was, perhaps, of cloth wound round the head and worn over the ẓanif (comp. Ex. xxxix. 28). Veils were used only by the women, and even by them only on certain occasions, the strict separation of men and women, customary in Mohammedan countries, being foreign to Jewish antiquity. The bride was veiled when she was led to the bridegroom (Gen. xxiv. 65; comp. xxix. 22 et seq.). In later times, however, veils and gauzy garments found their way into the wardrobes of Jewish women (comp. Isa. iii. 16 et seq.). That the Israelitish men sometimes wore a veil, as do men among the Arabs occasionally, can not be proved by Ex. xxxiv. 33 et seq. See Veil.