Injury to the head was a chief form of defeating an enemy (Ps 68:21). Decapitation, a custom likewise practiced in Babylonia and Assyria, added insult to injury (1 Sam 17:51). On the other hand, anointing the head was a symbol of joy and prosperity (Ps 23:5; Heb 1:9), and dedication to priestly service (Exod 29:7).
Leaders are heads, “the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail” (Isa 9:15). Christ is the head of the church, His body, and of all creation (Eph 1:22), of every man (1 Cor 11:3) and of all rule and authority (Col 2:10). The husband is the head of the woman. Because of the Gr. custom of veiling of women, as opposed to the Jewish custom, Paul urged the Corinthian women to be obedient to the local standards of decency and order, and to cover the head in worship. Men, however, pray with uncovered heads. At present, the wearing of hats by women in the sanctuary is a sign of the headship of Christ.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
1. Used of Men:
By a slight extension of meaning, "head" occasionally stands for the person itself. This is the case in all passages where evil is said to return or to be requited upon the head of a person (see below).
2. Used of Animals:
The word is also used in connection with the serpent’s head (Ge 3:15), the head of the sacrificial ram, bullock and goat (Ex 29:10,15,19; Le 4:4,24), the head of leviathan (Job 41:7, Hebrew 40:31).
3. The Head-Piece:
4. Beginning, Source, Origin:
As a fourth meaning the word occurs (Pr 8:23; Ec 3:11; Isa 41:4) in the sense of beginning of months (Ex 12:2), of rivers (Ge 2:10), of streets or roads (Isa 51:20; Eze 16:25; 21:21).
As a leader, prince, chief, chieftain, captain (or as an adjective, with the meaning of foremost, uppermost), originally: "he that stands at the head"; compare "God is with us at our head" (2Ch 13:12); "Knowest thou that Yahweh will take away thy master from thy head?" (2Ki 2:3); "head-stone" the Revised Version (British and American) "top stone," i.e. the upper-most stone (Zec 4:7).
5. Leader, Prince:
6. Various Uses:
In this connection the Pauline injunction as to the veiling of women in the public gatherings of the Christians (1Co 11:5), while men were instructed to appear bareheaded, must be mentioned. This is diametrically opposed to the Jewish custom, according to which men wore the head covered by the Tallith or prayer shawl, while women were considered sufficiently covered by their long hair (1Co 11:15). The apostle here simply commends a Greek custom for the congregation residing among Greek populations; in other words, he recommends obedience to local standards of decency and good order.