When Do You Use Veils?

On my wedding day, I wore a veil.

This is the most common use of veils in my country.

Other cultures require women to be veiled whenever in public.

More rarely, I discovered some cultures require men to be veiled.

The purpose of a veil can be ornamental, traditional, practical, or symbolic.

Possibly all at the same time.

What does this mean for Genesis 24:64-65?

Our verses to study today:

And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. (Gen 24:64-65 ESV)

Prior to these verses, we learned Abraham had insisted his son Isaac receive a bride from the country Abraham had left at the Lord’s command. (See Gen 24:3-4.)

The servant Abraham assigned to secure a bride for Isaac is now returning successfully with Rebekah, the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor. (See Gen 24:15.)

Rebekah had quickly agreed to the proposal to become Isaac’s bride. (See Gen 24:55-58.)

Next, Genesis 24:63 tells us Isaac was in a field toward evening to meditate when he lifted his eyes and observed camels coming.

Study Questions:

  • What prompts Rebekah to dismount the camel she was riding?

  • Why does the servant describe Isaac as his master?

  • What does Rebekah do after learning Isaac is the man approaching them?

Consider these transitive verb definitions of the word veil:

  • To cover
  • To provide
  • To obscure
  • To conceal 

  • Which of the above definitions applies to Rebekah covering herself before Isaac arrives? Why or why not?

Read Gen 38:11-19.

  • What is the purpose of the veil?

Read Gen 38:24-26.

  • How did Tamar’s action of concealing her identity with a physical veil turn out?

Read Exodus 26:31-33.

  • Who is giving instructions to create a veil in this passage? Why?

Read Exodus 34:29-35.

  • Who is wearing a veil? Why?

Read Exodus 40:17-27.

  • List what they placed behind the veil:

  • List what they placed in front of the veil:

  • What activities take place behind the veil? In front of the veil? Why is this significant?

Read Lev 4:5-20.

  • Who were assigned the actions described in these verses?

  • Why are their actions done in front of the veil? 

  • What is the promised result of their actions?

Read Lev 16:1-17.

  • What are the restrictions for Aaron, the High Priest regarding the veil? Why?

  • How do these restrictions for Aaron reveal God’s holiness?

Read Lev 21:21-23.

  • Describe the additional restrictions God requires of all priests who serve at the tabernacle. Why is this important to God?

Read Lev 24:1-3.

  • Who will provide oil for the lamp?

  • What type of oil will be supplied?

  • Who is to tend to the lamp? How often?

  • List practical and spiritual reasons for the lamp’s location in the tabernacle.

Read Num 4:5.

  • Who handles the veil when the Israelites were moving locations?

Read Num 18:1-7.

  • How does God view the assignments given to Aaron and his sons?

  • Who may not come near the altar and the veil? What is the consequence if they do?

Read Isa 25:6-9.

  • Describe the veil mentioned in this passage.

  • State in your own words the promise shared in this passage.

Read 2 Co 3:7-18.

  • How would you describe the hope revealed in this passage compared to the veil?

Review Questions

  • Is it good or bad to use veils? Why?

  • Are veils meant only for a particular gender? Why or why not?

  • How does Rebekah’s action of putting on a veil prior to meeting Isaac reveal her character? 

  • What have you learned about the purpose of veils from this study?

Personal Application

  • When you meet someone for the first time, what “veils” do you wear to protect yourself? Why?

  • How do you know it is safe to remove a veil between yourself and another person?

  • Is it appropriate to keep a veil between you and someone else?

Keep in mind that the word curtain is a synonym for the word veil as you read the following verses.

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he1 breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mar 15:38 ESV)

19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 6:19-20 ESV)

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:19-22 ESV)

  • Are there any veils existing between you and God today? Why or why not?

  • How do the verses above assure you that God, through Jesus, has made it safe for all veils to be removed between you and Him?

  • Is there anyone you can share this with to encourage them? 

My Personal Reflections

Today, I realized I never gave much thought to the symbolism behind the tradition of wearing a veil on my wedding day.

Having finished writing this study, I am pleased I wore a veil back then.

The symbolism of covenanting a relationship with another person through the donning and removal of a veil cements for me the power of God’s covenantal promises shared in scripture.

We no longer need a veil between us and the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Our heavenly Father has made it possible through Jesus Christ for all who desire to be in His Holy presence. 

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; (Rev 19:7 ESV)


Barbara Lynn


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