Does The Bible Say Anything About Masks?
When looking through the Holy Scriptures for the word “mask(s)”, it won’t be found; however, the words “vail” and “covering(s)” can. There are several Hebrew terms used in each and the definitions depends on the context they are used. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised with a few things I learned in this search, especially the context in which “vail” was used.
The following are the different Hebrew terms used for “vail” and the books, chapters and verses in which they are used:
*H6809 – צעיף – tsâ‛ı̂yph – tsaw-eef’ – From an unused root meaning to wrap over; a veil. KJV Usage: vail. (Gen. 24:65, 38:14,19)
Note: When reading all of chapter 24, notice that Rebekah only “covered (H3680) herself” with a vail after Isaac was identified to her as the servant’s master. (verse 65) In verses 1-64, she was unveiled, and no mention of her face being covered. The situation was was the opposite with Tamar and Judah in chapter 38. She both “covered (H3680)” and “wrapped (H5968) ” herself.
H3680 – צעיף – tsâ‛ı̂yph – tsaw-eef’ – From an unused root meaning to wrap over; a veil. KJV Usage: vail.
H5968 – עלף – ‛âlaph – aw-laf’ – A primitive root; to veil or cover; figuratively to be languid. KJV Usage: faint, overlaid, wrap self.
*H6532 – פּרכת – pôreketh – po-reh’-keth – Feminine active participle of the same as H6531; a separatrix, that is, (the sacred) screen. KJV Usage: vail. (Ex. 26:31-35, 27:21. 30:6, 35:12, 36:35, 38:27, 39:34,40:3,21,22,26, Lev. 4:6,17, 16:2,12,15, 21:23, 24:3, Num 4:5, 2Chr. 3:14)
Note: These scripture passages relate the screen(s) to and in the Tabernacle.
>>> H6531 – פּרך – perek – peh’-rek – From an unused root meaning to break apart; fracture, that is, severity. KJV Usage: cruelty, rigour.
*H4533 – מסוה – masveh – mas-veh’ – Apparently from an unused root meaning to cover; a veil. KJV Usage: vail. (Ex 34:33-35)
Note: This is the only reference to a man wearing a vail. The reason should be obvious when reading Ex. 34:29-35.
*H4541 – מסּכה – massêkâh – mas-say-kaw’ – From H5258; properly a pouring over, that is, fusion of metal (especially a cast image); by implication a libation, that is, league; concretely a coverlet (as if poured out). KJV Usage: covering, molten (image), vail. (Is. 25:7)
Note: This passage is part of the prophetic times we are in now that begins with Isaiah 24 and goes through chapter 35.
>>>H5258 – נסך – nâsak – naw-sak’ – A primitive root; to pour out, especially a libation, or to cast (metal); by analogy to anoint a king. KJV Usage: cover, melt, offer, (cause to) pour (out), set (up).
*H4304 – מטפּחת – miṭpachath – mit-pakh’-ath – From H2946; a wide cloak (for a woman), KJV Usage: vail, wimple. (Ruth 3:15)
Note: This cloak is not a face covering. She was not wearing it and used it for carrying grain. A better translation would be “shawl” or a large scarf as in a wimple which unfolds to a large square or rectangular cloth. (Similar to the one in the photo above, but not used to cover the front of the face as with Tamar in Genesis 38:13-15.)
In the New Testament, “vail” is only used in 2Cor. 3:13-16 and relates to Moses’ vail in Ex. 34:33-35. (2Cor. 3:1-18) With open faces let us praise the Lord.
Rebekah did not cover herself until she knew it was Isaac, her future husband, she was about to meet. It was most likely as in the flowing photo. She only covered as a method of enhancement and greeting. They soon were married!
Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law played the harlot and both covered and wrapped herself. By covering her face like a harlot, she tricked Judah. Three months later he learned of his own misdeed.
Moses’ vail was to shield the Children Of Israel from the Lord’s reflective glory in his own face. When Moses went back into the Tabernacle, he removed the vail and talked to the Lord face to face.
Ruth’s vail was a shawl. She unfolded and used it to carry grain.
The only term above used in “cover (-ed, -edst, -est, -eth, ing, ings, s) is H4541 in Is. 28:20 and 30:1. The only face covered with this term was the face of the earth or mountains. Lips are covered in Micah 3:7. Nakedness is covered in a number of places. Nothing relating to a vail, which is the closest thing there is in the Bible to a mask.
If there is anything one can use to proclaim a “religious exemption” from today’s message, feel free to use it. When it comes to doing unmasked business, let the money go where the mask doesn’t.
Yawl have a restful and happy Sabbath.