“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #128
“For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels” (1 Cor. 11: 10).
The last part of this verse is obscure to us, and has generated a good bit of discussion. Because of the angels? The first question concerns whether they are celestial beings or just ordinary messengers, or perhaps pastors (as I think they are in Revelation). I take this as a reference to celestial beings, thinking that the burden of proof should be on those who want to maintain otherwise. That is what the word usually means. The second question concerns whether the women ought to behave in a particular way to avoid offending the angels, or to avoid stumbling them. I think there could be an element of both here, but I think it is a reference to Gen. 6:2, coupled with verse 5 of that chapter. When human societies are disordered, one of the fundamental relations that breaks down is the relationship between men and women. Christian churches should want to avoid being like those people who died in the Flood, wanting instead to be like those who were gathered into the ark.
The first part of the verse is much more straightforward. The word translated here as woman can also be translated as wife. I think it means wife here because she has to wear a particular sign of authority on her head, and to fail to do so disgraces a particular man, her husband (v. 5). She is obligated to have authority on her head. But though this has direct reference to wives, it is certainly relevant to those young women who are preparing to be wives, or those widows who have been wives. Reasoning by analogy, it is necessary for them to honor their fathers or their deceased husbands.
Put it together in this paraphrase. Because the man was not made for the woman, but the woman for the man, the woman is required to have a visible indicator of his authority over her, and she must have it on her head. She must do this because the woman was created for the man, and not for the angels.