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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The antiquity of rings appears from Scripture and from profane authors. Judah left his ring with Tamar, Genesis 38:18 . When Pharaoh committed the government of Egypt to Joseph, he took his ring from his finger and gave it to Joseph, Genesis 41:42 . After the victory of the Israelites over the Midianites, they offered to the Lord the rings, the bracelets, and the golden necklaces, taken from the enemy, Numbers 31:50 . The Israelitish women wore rings, not only on their fingers, but also in their nostrils and their ears. St. James distinguishes a man of wealth and dignity by the ring of gold on his finger, James 2:2 . At the return of the prodigal son, his father orders him to be dressed in a new suit of clothes, and to have a ring put on his finger, Luke 15:22 . When God threatened Jeconiah with the utmost effects of his anger, he tells him, that though he were the signet or ring on his finger, yet he should be torn off, Jeremiah 22:24 . The ring was used chiefly to seal with, and Scripture generally assigns it to princes and great persons; as the king of Egypt, Joseph, Ahaz, Jezebel, King Ahasuerus, his favourite Haman, Mordecai, King Darius, 1 Kings 21:8 ; Esther 3:10 , &c; Daniel 6:17 . The patents and orders of these princes were sealed with their rings or signets, an impression from which was their confirmation. The ring was one mark of sovereign authority. Pharaoh gave his ring to Joseph, as a token of authority. When Alexander the Great gave his ring to Perdiccas, this was understood as nominating him his successor.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Rings'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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