Ornament

In common with all the Orientals, the Hebrews were very fond of wearing ornaments, and their tendency to extravagance of this kind often met with stern prophetic rebuke (Isa 3:16-24; Eze 13:18-20). On this subject, little is said in the New Testament apart from Jesus’ (Lu 7:25; 12:23) and James’ (Jas 2:2) invectives against meretricious estimates of moral character. Yet the employment of attractive attire receives sanction in the divine example of Eze 16:10-14.

Ornaments in general would include finely embroidered or decorated fabrics, such as the priest’s dress or the high-priestly attire, and the richly wrought veil, girdle and turban used by the wealthier class. But the term may be limited here to the various rings, bracelets and chains made of precious metals and more or less jeweled (compare Jer 2:32).


Figurative: The universal devotion to ornament among the Orientals is the occasion for frequent Biblical allusions to the beauty and splendor of fine jewelry and attire. But everywhere, in divine injunctions, the emphasis of value is placed upon the beauty of holiness as an inward grace rather than on the attractions of outward ornament (Job 40:10; Ps 110:3; Joe 2:13; 1Ti 2:9,10; 1Pe 3:4). In grievous sorrow, all ornament was to be laid aside in token of mourning (Ex 33:4-6).

Leonard W. Doolan

See also

  • Dress