Mad Tungsten-BIBLE AND RINGS
Mad Tungsten-BIBLE AND RINGS
For many in the world, the Bible is the ‘word of God.’ The questions – what does God say about rings and what Bible says about rings may sound synonymous to most of the believers. Before we move on to what the Bible teachings and verses say about the rings, let us know a little more about the history of Bible and the history of rings.
The Bible is a canonical collection of texts considered holy by the followers of Christianity and Judaism however the text differs slightly depending upon the religious groups. For many, the Bible is a moral support, the solution to all the problems of the world. It is known to cast light during darkness and guide a person to light. Many followers of Christianity and Judaism use the Bible for oaths and swearing, with respect that the person swearing on the Bible would never tell a lie. Some even consider it was a safeguard against the ‘evil’ and as a mental security in the times of danger and turmoil.
The Bible is widely considered to be the best-selling book of all time, has estimated annual sales of 100 million copies and is often recited in churches and in homes of the followers of Christianity and Judaism.
The history of the rings dates back to thousands of years ago, some credit it to the Egyptians. At different places and in different eras the ring had its own meaning. At some places it was a symbol of ownership; somewhere it was a symbol of wealth and status, somewhere it was the symbol of marriage but universally and as we know today rings are a symbol of love.
The circular shape of the ring also has significance. A circle symbolizes eternity, the eternity of the bond between the lovers and the eternity of the promises and commitment. Mainly, the ring is worn on the left hand, third finger. Legend says the reason behind this is that this finger has ‘Vena Amoris’ that is a vein of love, a vein that directly leads to the heart.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SPEAK ABOUT THE RINGS?
The Bible does not clearly state anything about rings being the token of love. There is no evidence about the religious significance of rings but from the verses we can see that it was common for the people to wear rings, especially of gold and these rings worked as a security for the times of crisis. We can also see from the verses that the rings were worn as jewellery by men and women both and were a status symbol as well. However there are a few verses which speak about the rings and it shows that the Bible does not condemn the use and wearing of rings, on the contrary in some verses the rings are mentioned in a positive way.
For instance in Exodus 35 we read that rings were included in the offerings that the Israelites gave for building the tabernacle. No indication of any displeasure is indicated in the Bible’s teachings. Some believe that wearing of rings is condemned because this was practiced in the Pagan culture but that is not so. We also read that Joseph accepted a ring from the Pharaoh as a symbol of the high office of power that had been conferred upon him. In Luke 22 we also see that the ring was a symbol of the father’s love for his son, the father gave the ring to his son who had returned.
Another reason for the Bible not condemning or encouraging the wearing of rings could be that it was left to the choice of an individual to whether or not wear a ring. Today also it left to personal choice whether to wear a ring or not, there is no compulsion for that indicted anywhere. Many believe that wearing a ring helps the marriage as it serves as a constant reminder of the bond whereas some believe that they do not need to wear a ring or a physical thing to show that they are married.
Every verse of the Bible has a meaning, which we would explore further to know how rings were looked upon in the era when the Bible was written and what kind of rings people wore during the time when the Bible was written. Some of the verses of the Bible are reproduced below.
“On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.”
Here the words ‘signet ring’ are used which symbolizes power. The tradition of rings evolved from the seal or signet. The seal was power back then, so the wearer of the signet ring was regarded as a person of a great authority.
But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.”
From this verse of the Bible we can see that wearing a ring was considered to ornamental. We can assume that those who were well to do and of a certain status could have worn rings.
Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck.
Taking off the signet ring and putting it in another’s hand was a symbol of respect and power. Gifting rings was also a beautiful custom.
“So we have brought as an offering to the LORD what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD.”
Rings were precious, worthy of being ‘offerings to LORD’ according to this verse of the Bible.
Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.
From this verse of the Bible we can deduce that it was common for the people to wear rings on their ears, the rings which were precious enough to save them during the time of a crisis.
Then all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the LORD had brought on him. And each one gave him one piece of money, and each a ring of gold.
Rings were considered to be a security as well back then as they are considered now. However, The Bible mentions about gold rings mainly whereas now we have rings made of other precious metals as well.
For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes…
Wearing a gold ring was considered to be symbol of wealth and of high status as well with a clear contrast to poverty.
In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags;
The rings were considered to be a part of jewellery worn by men and women alike.
And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
The ones in power, here the king, were known to wear rings as symbol of that power.
A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.
Once again, here we see the signet ring is portrayed as symbol of power worn by the people holding high offices.
He made two golden rings for it under its molding, on its two sides–on opposite sides–as holders for poles with which to carry it.
This verse is about the building of the tabernacle where the rings were used as offerings to ‘lord’. From this verse we can deduce that the rings were considered holy as well and it was not a sin to wear a ring according to the teaching of the Bible.
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold,
Buying of rings for an ornamental purpose was practiced is what we can see from this verse.
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.
From this verse of the Bible, we can deduce that the ring held high value and were precious and it could not be worthy in a ‘swine’s snout’.
finger rings, nose rings,
This verse mentions about finger and nose rings which justifies that the wearing of rings is tradition that started very long ago and is widely practiced today.
Abraham’s servant said, “So I put the nose ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. And I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son”
From this verse we can deduce that the ring was used as a gift to accept a woman as a bride for marriage. No custom of exchanging rings during marriage is indicated in the Bible.
“‘When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,’ says the Lord GOD.’ …
“‘I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.’”
Here also we can see that it is indicated that for expressing the love, jewellery was often gifted.
Today, we often wonder that where did the tradition of the ring came from. When we read about it, we read that it was traced back to the Egyptians and to the Roman civilization but we cannot personally affirm or verify that from any text. When we read these verses of the Bible, we can see that the wearing of rings dates back to when the Bible was written, that itself is hundreds of years ago. We often follow a tradition without questioning because most of the people today do not the answers to it; reason being that the tradition is very old so finding answers is also difficult. At least now we have some source to refer to when we speak about the tradition of wearing rings- The Bible.
The Bible verses can be carved on the inside or the outside of the rings today. The rings indeed are beyond a simple piece of metal. In the history of in the present a lot of importance has been attached to the rings. However to wear it or not is definitely a personal choice.
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