An ornamental wreath worn on the head. The Hebrew term tsephi·rahʹ (garland) was used symbolically in a prophecy of Jehovah’s judgment on Samaria, the capital city of Ephraim, that is, the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. Samaria was at that time full of political “drunkards,” drunk over the northern kingdom’s independence from Judah and over its political alliances with Syria and other enemies of Jehovah’s kingdom in Judah. (See Isa 7:3-9.) Just as drunkards would wear garlands of flowers on their heads during their wine bouts, so Samaria wore the garland of this political power. It was a decoration of beauty but was a fading blossom that would disappear. Then Jehovah would become for the remaining ones of his people as a crown of decoration and as a garland (or “diadem” according to several translations) of beauty.—Isa 28:1-5.
The same Hebrew word appears at Ezekiel 7:7, 10. Translators, however, are uncertain as to the sense or application of the word in this case. A similar Aramaic word means “morning,” and Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta here reads “dawn,” rather than garland, or diadem. Some translators (AS, AT, RS) link the word with a cognate Arabic noun and render it as “doom.” Still others, on the belief that the root meaning of the Hebrew word is “to go round,” translate it as “turn,” in the sense of a turn of events.—JB; JP; “circle,” Ro.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the plural form of the Greek word stemʹma, “garland,” appears at Acts 14:13. As there related, the priest of Zeus at Lystra brought bulls and garlands to the city gates to offer sacrifices, because the people supposed that Paul and Barnabas were gods. They may have intended to put garlands on the heads of Paul and Barnabas, as was sometimes done to idols, or on themselves and the sacrificial animals. Such garlands were generally made up of foliage supposed to be pleasing to the god worshiped.—Ac 14:8-18; see CROWN.