What does Haman have to do with head coverings and 1 Corinthians 11:1-16? An examination of the LXX of Esther 6 brings out a correlation between these seemingly otherwise unrelated entities that has important bearing on the interpretation of this highly disputed NT passage.
Esther 6 records the dramatic reversal that resulted in Haman’s humiliation. Hearing the king speak of one whom he desired to honor, he thought that surely the king intended to honor him (6:6). To his great chagrin, he learned that the king ordained that Haman himself was to honor Mordecai, whom he greatly despised (6:10).
After he had fulfilled the king’s directives to honor Mordecai publicly (6:11), “Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered” (6:12). Plainly, this text is not declaring that he went to his home having hair on his head. Nor is it asserting either that he had long hair on his head as he went home or that he somehow miraculously grew his hair long.
Rather, this verse records that because he had been humiliated, he headed home, draping an external covering over his head.
Furthermore, the LXX rendering of the verse reads as follows:
BGT Esther 6:12 ¶ ἐπέστρεψεν δὲ ὁ Μαρδοχαῖος εἰς τὴν αὐλήν Αμαν δὲ ὑπέστρεψεν εἰς τὰ ἴδια λυπούμενος κατὰ κεφαλῆς
LXE Esther 6:12 And Mardochaeus returned to the palace: but Aman went home mourning, and having his head covered.
KJV Esther 6:12 And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered.
NAU Esther 6:12 Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered.
The exact phrase κατὰ κεφαλῆς found here occurs in only one other passage in the Bible in Greek:
BGT 1 Corinthians 11:4 πᾶς ἀνὴρ προσευχόμενος ἢ προφητεύων κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.
SCR 1 Corinthians 11:4 πᾶς ἀνὴρ προσευχόμενος ἢ προφητεύων, κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.
KJV 1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
NAU 1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.
Moreover, Hatch and Redpath (κατακαλύπτειν, 733) report that another hand of the Septuagint for Esther 6:12 reads, κατακεκαλυμμένος κεφαλήν. This variant reading has the perfect passive participle of the key verb used in 1 Corinthians 11:6 and 7 for both a man’s and a woman’s covering his or her head (κατακαλύπτω):
BGT 1 Corinthians 11:6 εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνή, καὶ κειράσθω• εἰ δὲ αἰσχρὸν γυναικὶ τὸ κείρασθαι ἢ ξυρᾶσθαι, κατακαλυπτέσθω.
SCR 1 Corinthians 11:6 εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνή, καὶ κειράσθω• εἰ δὲ αἰσχρὸν γυναικὶ τὸ κείρασθαι ἢ ξυρᾶσθαι, κατακαλυπτέσθω.
KJV 1 Corinthians 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
NAU 1 Corinthians 11:6 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.
BGT 1 Corinthians 11:7 Ἀνὴρ μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ὀφείλει κατακαλύπτεσθαι τὴν κεφαλὴν εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα θεοῦ ὑπάρχων• ἡ γυνὴ δὲ δόξα ἀνδρός ἐστιν.
SCR 1 Corinthians 11:7 ἀνὴρ μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ὀφείλει κατακαλύπτεσθαι τὴν κεφαλήν, εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων• γυνὴ δὲ δόξα ἀνδρός ἐστιν.
KJV 1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
NAU 1 Corinthians 11:7 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.
This evidence from the LXX therefore supports holding that the covering in view in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 is an external head covering for both a man and a woman.
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