English translation of three Hebrew terms designating a head covering symbolizing authority and honor. Mitsnepheth is the turban of the high priest (Exodus 28:4,Exodus 28:39) or king (Ezekiel 21:26). The priest's was made of fine linen (Exodus 28:39) with a golden plate (KJV, NAS, NIV) or a flower rosette of pure gold (NRSV) on its front. The plate or rosette is apparently called a nezer (literally, “sign of dedication”) in
Exodus 29:6 (“crown” NAS, KJV; “diadem” NIV, NRSV). Compare
The turban was worn by both religious and royal persons. Aaron the High Priest wore one (Exodus 28:37;
Zechariah 3:5) as did Queens Vashti (Esther 1:11) and Esther (Esther 2:17).
Tsaniph or tseniphah is the turban worn by a man (Job 29:14) or woman (Isaiah 3:23) or by the king (Isaiah 62:3) or high priest (Zechariah 3:5). Tsephirah is a braided crown, garland, or wreath signifying God's glorious power and authority to come (Isaiah 28:5).
The word “diadem” was used in a metaphorical sense of the prudent person (Proverbs 14:18), of justice (Job 29:14), of God (Isaiah 28:5), of God's presence (Ezekiel 21:26), and of Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:3).
Just before the New Testament era, diadem was applied by Greeks to the symbol of royalty worn by the Persians. Since all levels of people wore the turban, the king's diadem was distinguished by its color and perhaps by jewels worn on it. To the Greeks and Romans the diadem was the distinctive badge of royalty and was usually white. Later, a wreath was used as a crown for Greek kings.
The diadem should be distinguished from the wreath given for victory in athletic games (1 Corinthians 9:25), for civil accomplishments, for military bravery, and for weddings.
Revelation 19:12 the diadem conveys the idea of power and authority.