Not the head but the heart was regarded as the seat of intellect; it was, however, the seat of life, and was naturally held in honour. Hence phrases such as 'keeper of my head' (1Sa 28:2; cf. Ps 140:7), 'swearing by the head' (Mt 5:36), and the metaphorical use, common to all languages, as equivalent to 'chief.' In De 28:13; Isa 9:14, we find 'head and tail' as a proverbial expression. Christ is the head of the Church (Eph 4:15; Col 1:18; 2:19), as man is of the woman (Eph 5:23). To lift up the head is to grant success (Ps 27:6; 110:7; Ge 41:13, where there is an obvious ironical parallel in Ge 41:19). The hand on the head was a sign of mourning (2Sa 13:19; Jer 2:37); so dust or ashes (2Sa 1:2; La 2:10); or covering the head (2Sa 15:30; Jer 14:3). On the other hand, to uncover the head, i.e. to loose the turban and leave the hair in disorder, was also a sign of mourning (see AV and Revised Version margin, Le 10:6; 13:45; Eze 24:17). Similarly shaving the head, a common practice in the East (Job 1:20; Isa 15:2; 22:12; Eze 7:18; Am 8:10); it was forbidden to priests (Le 21:5), and, in special forms, to all Israelites (Le 19:27; De 14:1). It might also mark the close of a period of mourning (De 21:12), or of a Nazirite's vow (Nu 6:9; Ac 18:18), or of a Levite's purification (Nu 8:7). In De 32:42 there is a reference to the warrior's long hair, Revised Version margin. Laying hands on the head was (a) part of the symbolism of sacrifice (Le 16:21), (b) a sign of blessing (Ge 48:14), (c) a sign of consecration or ordination (Nu 27:23; Ac 6:6). In 2Ki 2:3 the reference seems to be to the pupil sitting at the feet of his master. 'Head' is also used, like 'face,' as a synonym for 'self' (Ps 7:16; and probably Pr 25:22; Ro 12:20).
C. W. Emmet.
Besides the common use of this as 'chief,' referring to the heads of families and heads of tribes, the word was used symbolically of government and power, as when God declared that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's 'head.' Ge 3:15. In the N.T. the term ?????? is employed for the relative position of man in nature, and of Christ and of God: the head of the woman is the man; the head of every man is Christ; and the head of Christ is God. 1Co 11:3. In another connection Christ is the head of the church, Eph 5:23; Col 1:18; and He is head over all things to the church. Eph 1:22; Col 2:10. As head of the church Christ removes entirely every other controlling or guiding authority. As the head of a man guides and controls his body, so Christ has the complete control over His church.
In Re 12:3 the 'head' symbolises a form of power or kingdom; and in Re 17:3,9, the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth, representing Rome, which was commonly described as built upon seven hills, and the woman signifies Papal Rome.
HEAD. This word has several significations, beside its natural one, which denotes the head of a man. It is sometimes used in Scripture for the whole man: "Blessings are upon the head of the just," Pr 10:6.; that is, upon their persons. God says of the wicked, "I will recompense their way upon their head," Ezekiel 9., 10. It signifies a chief or capital city: "The head of Syria is Damascus," Isa 7:8. It denotes a chief or principal member in society: "The Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail. The ancient and honourable, he is the head," Isa 9:14-15. "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent," Ge 3:15; that is, Christ Jesus, the blessed seed of the woman, shall overthrow the power, policy, and works of the devil. The river in paradise was divided into four heads or branches. In times of grief, the mourners covered their heads: they cut and plucked off their hair. Amos, speaking of unhappy times, says, "I will bring baldness upon every head," Am 8:10. In prosperity, they anointed their heads with sweet oils: "Let thy head lack no" perfumed "ointment," Ec 9:8. To shake the head at any one, expresses contempt: "The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee," Isa 37:22.
Head is taken for one that hath rule and preeminence over others. Thus God is the head of Christ; as Mediator, from him he derives all his dignity and authority. Christ is the only spiritual head of the church, both in respect of eminence and influence; he communicates life, motion, and strength to every believer. Also the husband is the head of his wife, because by God's ordinance he is to rule over her, Ge 3:16; also in regard to pre- eminence of sex, 1Pe 3:7, and excellency of knowledge, 1Co 14:35. The Apostle mentions this subordination of persons in 1Co 11:3: "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God." "The stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner," Ps 118:22. It was the first in the angle, whether it were disposed at the top of that angle to adorn and crown it, or at the bottom to support it. This, in the New Testament is applied to Christ, who is the strength and beauty of the church, to unite the several parts of it, namely, both Jews and Gentiles together.