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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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1. In the OT . The word represents several Heb. terms with distinct meanings. (1) zçr , properly an edge or border, with the suggestion of a twisted or wreathed appearance. It occurs only in Ex ( Exodus 25:11 and frequently). It is always of gold, and in the furniture of the Tabernacle surrounds the ark, the table of shew-bread and its border, the altar of incense. RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] gives as alternative renderings ‘rim,’ ‘moulding.’ Its purpose seems to have been ornamental merely. (2) nçzer , properly ‘mark of separation or consecration’ (fr. nâzar ‘to separate, consecrate’; whence nâzir = ‘Nazirite’). Originally it was no more than a fillet to confine hair that was worn long (W. R. Smith, RS [Note: S Religion of the Semites.] 2 p. 483). It is used of the crown set upon the forehead of the high priest ( Exodus 29:6 etc.) a plate of pure gold with the engraving ‘Holy to J″ [Note: Jahweh.] ’ ( Exodus 39:30 , cf. Leviticus 8:9 ), and also of the crown worn by Heb. kings ( 2 Samuel 1:10 , 2 Kings 11:12 ). In both cases it was the symbol of consecration. (3) kether , similar in meaning to (2) but without the idea of consecration, is used in Est. ( Esther 1:11; Esther 2:17; Esther 6:8 ) to denote the diadem of a Persian king or queen. (4) ’atârah , the word that is most frequent and of the most general significance. It is applied to the crown worn by kings, whether Jewish ( 2 Samuel 12:30 etc.) or foreign ( 1 Chronicles 20:2 , Esther 8:15 [cf. Esther 6:8 ]), to the wreath worn at banquets ( Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 28:3 , Ezekiel 23:42 ); but also in a fig. sense, as when, e.g. a virtuous woman is called her husband’s crown ( Proverbs 12:4 ), a hoary head the crown of old age ( Proverbs 16:31 ), the Lord of hosts the crown of His people ( Isaiah 28:5 ). (5) qodhqôdh is the crown or top of the head, as in the expression ‘from the sole of his foot even unto his crown’ ( Job 2:7 ); cf. Genesis 49:26 , Deuteronomy 33:20 etc. The vb. ‘to crown’ is comparatively rare in the OT: ‘âtar (corresponding to (4) above) is found in Psalms 8:5; Psalms 65:11; Psalms 103:4 , Song of Solomon 3:11 , Isaiah 23:8; kathar (corresp. to (3)) in Proverbs 14:18; nâzar (corresponding to (2)) in Nahum 3:17 .

2. In the NT . In AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘crown’ represents two Gr. words: (1) stephanos (whence stephanoô , ‘to crown’), (2) diadema; the former being the badge of merit or victory, the latter (found only in Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 19:12 ) the mark of royalty. This distinction, though not strictly observed in LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , is properly maintained in RV [Note: Revised Version.] , where (2) is in each case rendered ‘diadem.’ The stephanos (properly ‘wreath’ = Lat. corona ) was the garland given as a prize to the victors in the games ( 1 Corinthians 9:25; cf. 2 Timothy 2:5 ). It is the word applied to our Lord’s ‘crown of thorns’ ( Matthew 27:29 , Mark 15:17 , John 19:2; John 19:5 ). It is used figuratively of the ‘crown of righteousness’ ( 2 Timothy 4:8 ), ‘of life’ ( James 1:12 , Revelation 2:10 ), ‘of glory’ ( 1 Peter 5:4 ). St. Paul applies it to his converts as being his joy and reward ( Philippians 4:1 , 1 Thessalonians 2:19 ); and in Rev. it is employed in various symbolical connexions ( Revelation 4:4; Revelation 4:10; Revelation 6:2; Revelation 9:7; Revelation 12:1; Revelation 14:14 ).

J. C. Lambert.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Crown'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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