Eze 9; Re 7:3. The devotees of different idols in India receive at this day different marks on the forehead, distinguishing them one from another. By a similar method the slaves claimed by different owners were sometimes designated.
As the women veiled their faces, not to do so was a mark of shamelessness; "thou hadst a whore's forehead" (Jer 3:3). The forehead is made the seat of boldness of speech and act (Eze 3:7-9): "the house of Israel are stiff of forehead ... against their foreheads as an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead." Votaries of idols branded themselves with the idol's symbol. So Antiochus Epiphanes branded the Jews with the ivy leaf, Bacchus' symbol (2Ma 6:7; 3 Maccabees 2:29). God's seal and name are in the foreheads of His servants, the conspicuous, noblest part of man's body, the seat of the understanding, whereon the helmet, "the hope of salvation," is worn (Eze 9:4).
At the Exodus the mark was on the houses, for then it was families; here it is on the foreheads, for it is individuals whose safety is guaranteed by the Lord's mark. The mark on "the right hand and forehead" of the worshippers of the beast (Re 13:16) implies prostration of body and intellect to him. "In the forehead for possession, in the hand for work and service." God's name shall be "in the saints' foreheads." Their sonship shall no longer be a personal secret between them and God (Re 3:17), but shall be openly (Re 22:4) visible to all citizens of New Jerusalem's that the free flow of mutual love among Christ's family will not be checked by suspicion as here.
Upon the harlot's (the apostate church) forehead was written "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." What a contrast to the inscription on the mitre on the high priest's forehead, "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" (Re 17:5; Ex 28:36). In Eze 16:12, "a jewel on thy forehead," rather "a ring in thy nose" (Isa 3:21). However, Persian and Egyptian women often wear jewels and strings of coins across the forehead.
In Jer 3:3 a whore's forehead is a type of shamelessness; in 8/type/juliasmith'>Eze 3:8,8 the forehead stands for obstinacy. In Eze 9:4 the righteous receive a mark, probably the letter Taw, on their forehead. Hence the symbolism in Re 7:3, etc., where the mark is the Divine signet. It is doubtful what is the mark of the beast (Re 13:15); see Swete, ad loc. Re 17:5 is a probable allusion to a custom of Roman harlots. Shaving the forehead in sign of mourning is forbidden (De 14:1). For Eze 16:12, see RV. See also Marks.
C. W. Emmet.
1. aph, 'nose.' Eze 16:12 is better translated 'ring upon thy nose.'
2. metsach, ???????, used as a symbol of manifest character. Israel in apostasy is described as having a harlot's forehead, and refusing to be ashamed. Jer 3:3. Ezekiel's forehead was made as hard as adamant, because of the hardness of Israel's forehead, with whom he had to contend. Eze 3:8-9. Aaron wore a plate of gold on his forehead, with 'Holiness to the Lord' engraved thereon, that he might bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel should offer. Ex 28:36-38. God set a mark upon the foreheads of those that sighed and cried for the abominations that were done in Jerusalem, and the rest of the inhabitants were to be slain. Eze 9:4,6. So, in a future day the servants of God will have His mark in their foreheads; Satan will also cause his followers to have a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads. All will then have to be manifest as to whom they belong. Re 7:3; 9:4; 13:16; Rev.14:1, 9; Rev.17:5; Rev.20:4.
The practice of veiling the face (forehead) in public for women of the high classes, especially married women, in the East, sufficiently stigmatizes with reproach the unveiled face of women of bad character.
The custom among many Oriental nations both of coloring the face and forehead and of impressing on the body marks indicative of devotion to some special deity or religious sect is mentioned elsewhere. The "jewels for the forehead," mentioned by Ezekiel,
and in margin of Authorized Version,
were in all probability nose-rings.
FOREHEAD, Mark on the, Eze 9:4. Mr. Maurice, speaking of the religious rites of the Hindoos, says, Before they can enter the great pagoda, an indispensable ceremony takes place, which can only be performed by the hand of a brahmin; and that is, the impression of their foreheads with the tiluk, or mark of different colours, as they may belong either to the sect of Veeshnu, or Seeva. If the temple be that of Veeshnu, their foreheads are marked with a longitudinal line, and the colour used is vermilion. If it be the temple of Seeva, they are marked with a parallel line, and the colour used is turmeric, or saffron. But these two grand sects being again subdivided into numerous classes, both the size and the shape of the tiluk are varied, in proportion to their superior or inferior rank. In regard to the tiluk, I must observe, that it was a custom of very ancient date in Asia to mark their servants in the forehead. It is alluded to in these words of Ezekiel, where the Almighty commands his angels to "go through the midst of the city, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh for the abominations committed in the midst thereof." The same idea occurs also in Re 7:3. The divers sects of the Hindoos have a distinguishing mark of the sect, by which they are known, on the forehead, of powdered sandal wood, or of the slime of the Ganges. The mark of the Wischnites consists of two nearly oval lines down the nose, which runs from two straight lines on the forehead. The mark of the Schivites consists of two curved lines, like a half moon with a point on the nose. It is made either with the slime of the Ganges, with sandal wood, or the ashes of cow dung.