Manners & Customs: Signet Rings
Signet Rings in the Ancient World
As a rule, Jewish men did not indulge in extravagances of dress, and there was little ornamentation among them. They often carried a cane or staff, which would be ornamented at the top, but it served the useful purpose of protecting them from half-wild dogs that abounded in the country, and was not much of an ornament. Certain men wore a ring on their right hand or, suspended by a cord or chain around the neck.
Actually this was the signet ring or seal, and served as the personal signature of its owner, and so was not usually worn as an ornament. (For Scriptural examples of the ring, see Genesis 38:18; Song of Solomon 8:6; Luke 15:22, etc.)
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Ring in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
tabaath, "to impress with a seal." frontEARRING.) Used as "a
signet" (Genesis 38:18, chothem), worn on the hand, or
suspended, as the Arabs do, by a cord from the neck.
Pharaoh's transfer of his ring from his finger to Joseph
betokened his investing him with royal authority (Genesis
41:42; a device, as the beetle or the owner's name, was
engraven on it, Exodus 28:11). So Ahasuerus in the case of
Haman (Esther 3:8-10), and Mordecai (Esther 8:2). In Luke
15:22 it is the father's token of favor, dignity, and
sonship to the prodigal; Roman slaves wore no gold rings. We
are no longer slaves, but God's free sons when we believe,
and receive the Holy Spirit as the pledge of sonship and
earnest of sharing the Father's glory (Galatians 4:3-7).
Rich men (especially Romans of the equestrian order, whose
badge the ring was) wore many rings on the left hand (James
2:2). Greek "golden-ringed," not merely with one ring.
Christians derived the usage of the wedding ring
from the Jews. The ring was treasured much, and so
symbolizes what is most precious to us (Jeremiah 22:24,
Jehoiachin's popularity is alluded to); the signet ring was
worn on the right hand (contrast Haggai 2:23). A costly
sacrifice to the Lord (Exodus 35:22). Song of Solomon 5:14,
"his hands" bent are compared to "rings" in which "beryls"
are set, as the nails in the fingers; compare as to our
names being "sealed" upon His heart, Song of Solomon 8:6,
and palms, Isaiah 49:16. The bride desires herself to be a
signet ring on His arm. God in turn seals us with His signet
(Revelation 7:2-4), "I will make thee as a signet" (Haggai
2:23), i.e. an object of constant regard, as the ring is
ever before the eye. Christ the Antitype is always in the
Father's presence, ever pleasing in His sight; so we,
through Him our representative. The signet represents
legally the owner; so Christ wields the Father's delegated
authority (Matthew 28:18; John 5:22-23).
Ring in Naves Topical Bible
-Worn as a badge of office
-Given as a token
Es 3:10,12; 8:2-10
-Worn in the nose
Pr 11:22; Isa 3:21
-Offerings of, to the tabernacle
Ex 35:22; Nu 31:50
Ring in Smiths Bible Dictionary
The ring was regarded as an indispensable article of a
Hebrew's attire, inasmuch as it contained his signet. It was
hence the symbol of authority. Ge 41:42; Es 3:10 Rings were
worn not only by men, but by women. Isa 3:21 We may conclude
from Ex 28:11 that the rings contained a stone engraven with a
device or with the owner's name. The custom appears also to
have prevailed among the Jews of the apostolic age. Jas 2:2
Ring in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
(Anglo-Saxon, Hring, "ring"): The word renders (the American
Standard Revised Version) two Hebrew words (in the King
James Version and the English Revised Version three) and two
Greek words. Tabba`ath, the principal Hebrew word, is from
Tabha`, "sink," either because the ring is something "cast"
or molded, or, more probably, since the principal use of the
ring was as a seal, because it "sank" into the wax or clay
that received the impression. In Exodus, Tabba`ath, "ring,"
is a detail of furniture or equipment, as the rings of the
ark through which the staves were thrust (Ex 25:12, etc.),
rings for curtains, in the high priest's ephod (Ex 28:28;
39:21), etc. Its other use was perhaps the original, to
describe the article of personal adornment worn on the
finger, apparently in the Old Testament always a signet-
ring, and as such an indispensable article of masculine
attire. Such a ring Pharaoh gave Joseph as a symbol of
authority (Gen 41:42); and Ahasuerus gave Haman (Est 3:10);
with it the royal missive was sealed (Est 3:12; 8:8
twice,10). It was also a feminine ornament in Isaiah's list
of the fashionable feminine paraphernalia, "the rings and
the nose-jewels" (quite likely rings also) (Isa 3:21).
Either as ornaments or for their intrinsic value, or both,
rings were used as gifts for sacred purposes from both men
and women: "brooches, and ear-rings, and signet-rings"
(margin "nose-rings") (Ex 35:22); "bracelets, rings (the
American Standard Revised Version "signet-rings"), ear-
rings" (Nu 31:50 the King James Version). chotham, "signet,"
mentioned in Gen 38:18,25; Ex 28:11,21,36; Ex 39:6,14,30;
Jer 22:24; Hag 2:23, etc., was probably usually a seal ring,
but in Gen 38 and elsewhere the seal may have been swung on
wire, and suspended by a cord from the neck. It was not only
an identification, but served as a stamp for signature.
galil, "circle" (compare "Galilee," "Circle" of the
Gentiles), rendered "ring" in Est 1:6; Song 5:14, may rather
mean "cylinder" or "rod" of metal. Earring (which see) in
the King James Version is from totally different words:
nezem, whose etymology is unknown, aghil, "round," or
lachash, "amulet"; so the Revised Version (British and
American). The "rings" of the wheels in Ezek 1:18 (the King
James Version) are gabh, "curved," and mean "rims" (American
Standard Revised Version), "felloes." Egyptians especially
wore a great profusion of rings, principally of silver or
gold, engraved with scarabaei, or other devices. In the New
Testament the ring, daktulios, "finger-ring," is a token of
means, position, standing: "put a ring on his hand" (Lk
15:22). Perhaps also it included the right to give orders in
his father's name. To be chrusodaktulios, "golden-ringed,"
perhaps with more than one, indicated wealth and social
rank: "a man with a gold ring" (Jas 2:2).
Signet in Easton's Bible Dictionary
a seal used to attest documents (Dan. 6:8-10, 12). In 6:17,
word properly denotes a ring. The impression of a
signet ring on
fine clay has recently been discovered among the
Nineveh. It bears the name and title of an Egyptian
actual signet rings of ancient Egyptian monarchs
Horus) have also been discovered.
When digging a shaft close to the south wall of the
area, the engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund,
depth of 12 feet below the surface, came upon a
polished stones, formerly one of the streets of the
this pavement they found a stratum of 16 feet of
among this concrete, 10 feet down, they found a
bearing the inscription, in Old Hebrew characters,
of Shebaniah." It has been asked, Might not this be
seal of Haggai the prophet? We know that he was in
after the Captivity; and it is somewhat singular
that he alone
of all the minor prophets makes mention of a signet
(See SEAL -T0003246.)
Signet Scripture - Daniel 6:17
And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den;
and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the
signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed
Signet Scripture - Exodus 28:11
With the work of an engraver in stone, [like] the engravings
of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names
of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in
ouches of gold.
Signet Scripture - Exodus 28:21
And the stones shall be with the names of the children of
Israel, twelve, according to their names, [like] the
engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be
according to the twelve tribes.
Signet Scripture - Exodus 28:36
And thou shalt make a plate [of] pure gold, and grave upon it,
[like] the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
Signet Scripture - Exodus 39:14
And the stones [were] according to the names of the children
of Israel, twelve, according to their names, [like] the
engravings of a signet, every one with his name, according to
the twelve tribes.
Signet Scripture - Exodus 39:30
And they made the plate of the holy crown [of] pure gold, and
wrote upon it a writing, [like to] the engravings of a signet,
HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
Signet Scripture - Genesis 38:18
And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy
signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that [is] in thine
hand. And he gave [it] her, and came in unto her, and she
conceived by him.
Signet Scripture - Genesis 38:25
When she [was] brought forth, she sent to her father in law,
saying, By the man, whose these [are, am] I with child: and
she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose [are] these, the signet,
and bracelets, and staff.
Signet Scripture - Haggia 2:23
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O
Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD,
and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith
the LORD of hosts.
Signet Scripture - Jeremiah 22:24
[As] I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of
Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand,
yet would I pluck thee thence;
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