As we continue our headship study we will continue with the writings of Paul. Previously, we looked at 1 Corinthians 11:3, 7-10. Here we will consider the verses in the middle, often ignored or minimized as simply being about a cloth head covering.
Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.  But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.  For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.  For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.1 Corinthians 11:4-7 NASB
As pointed out in the opening post of this series Paul upheld and taught the Torah. I believe we do ourselves and this passage a disservice when we only focus on the literal cloth head covering debate and ignore the deeper truths that Paul is teaching us in this passage. Remember, foundationally, a woman was always to be under the headship/authority/covering of a man. From the beginning, when Eve stepped out from under her covering, we see that she becomes vulnerable. The headship/covering is articulated over and over in Torah through numerous examples demonstrating that a girl was to be under the covering of her father until he released her into the protection of a husband.
As a side note that we will develop later, ‘covering’ allows for a lot of latitude in each relationship. The major guiding principle is Scripture with the husband or father having additional authority to allow or disallow particular things. As Proverbs 31 demonstrates, a woman could be in business, profitable, productive, creative, etc. It is the wicked lies of the enemy that have inculcated us with the idea that headship and covering prevents a woman from using all of her gifting to maximally benefit her family. Quite the opposite, God can more fully bless, protect and utilize her when she is obedient to His plan and provision.
We can clearly see from the quoted verses that it is shameful for a woman to be “uncovered” so we must ask what is Paul’s specific basis for this teaching from the Torah? I think we see his foundation for this in Numbers 5. The situation going on here is a clearly shameful and wicked thing that this woman is accused of. Adultery is one of the most seriously dealt with sins in all of scripture. It is the reason why the House of Israel was divorced and it has been the downfall of Nations, Kings, tribes, clans and families throughout human history.
“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him,  The priest shall then have the woman stand before the LORD and let the hair of the woman’s head go loose, and place the grain offering of memorial in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy, and in the hand of the priest is to be the water of bitterness that brings a curse.Numbers 5:12,18 NASB
KJV renders vs18 this way:
And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:
Paul is harkening back to this passage when he says “  But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.” Paul is pointing out the utter shame that is present for the woman who steps outside the covering of her man’s authority and begins praying or prophesying without his “covering.”
As pointed out by Pete, Korah means “bald.” The parallels here with regard to the symbology of being “uncovered” or “shaved” and the actions of Korah recorded in Numbers 16 cannot be overstated. This is exactly the result we should expect to see when a woman rejects the authority that Yah has ordained in her life. And, I believe we are seeing this play out all through our culture today. We as men in this movement commonly referred to as “Hebrew Roots” have to stand up against the wickedness of feminism that is promoted as “empowering” to women and “good” or even “biblical” in many circles. I am reminded of the words of Isaiah:
Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, And sin as if with cart ropes;  Who say, “Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it; And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near And come to pass, that we may know it!”  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!Isaiah 5:18-21 NASB
Gentlemen, as a note of caution, I am in no way promoting anything resembling oppression or abuse of any lady! Any male who uses the words of Yah to promote such things is in blatant and extreme rebellion against the scriptures! Again I point you to the words of Paul:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,  so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;  for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,Ephesians 5:25-29 NASB
We are called to treat our ladies with the same love that Messiah treats his assembly, not in an abusive or oppressive way as some will try to twist these words and the words of Scripture to claim.
Another thought on this matter: If it is shameful for a woman to be “uncovered” as Paul teaches where does that leave us? Are we open to the leading of Yah as it regards providing a covering for the ladies in our lives? Are we truly attempting to walk out the Scriptures? Are we so heavily influenced by our upbringing or our culture or our women that we do not have the backbone to take a stand for the truth of Scripture and actually walk out what Yah is calling us to? Will Yeshua be ok with us only keeping the parts that are convenient? Or will He expect full submission to Scripture?
“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you,  and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons,  then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.  If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.  The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.Deuteronomy 30:1-5 NASB
Recently, in the flow of the annual Torah cycle, we came to the account in Numbers where the sons of Israel knew the right thing to do, but chose to be disobedient resulting in not being the generation that entered the Land. Let us not be like them and eschew the instructions of our Elohim. Rather, may we have supple hearts and obedient feet. May we hear the instructions in righteousness and run to do them. May we seek to be the people and function as Yah desires.
Thank You Pete for the heavy contributions to this post. My name may be listed as the author but this truly is a team effort.
Up Next: Restoring Kol Israel: (Re)defining Terms, Marriage, Husband and Wife (Part 3)
8 thoughts on “Restoring Kol Israel: Covering”
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Yes, indeed! Great article!