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RING (Heb. tabba‘ath, to sink or stamp, Gr. daktylios, pertaining to a finger). This article of jewelry derived its name from its use as a signet. It became the symbol of authority. The pharaoh gave a tabba‘ah to Joseph (Gen.41.42-Gen.41.43). King Xerxes (kjv Ahasuerus) gave one to Haman, the enemy of the Jews (Esth.3.10). The prodigal’s father placed a ring on the hand of his son (Luke.15.22). This was more than an ornament: it restored the son to authority in the household. The ring early became very valuable, as is shown by Isaiah’s lament (Luke.3.18-Luke.3.23). Originally the signet was worn on a chain or wire about the neck, but the need to safeguard it led to its being put on the hand. Earrings and nose rings were not called tabba‘ath. The seal was an engraved stone, fastened to the ring (Exod.28.11). Such rings have been found among Egyptian artifacts. That they were common during apostolic days is seen from Jas.2.2, where the Greek word chrysodaktylios means “ringed with gold” or “wearing many rings.” See also Dress and Tabernacle.


SHERK (1958), IV 4f.; VII, 196; ISBE (1960), 887, 2044, 2594, 2708f.; IDB (1962), 100.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)