What does a ring mean in the Bible? Jeremiah 22:24; Proverbs 11:22; Luke 15:22
ESV - 24 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'
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I would say that the Bible speaks of a ring in various symbolic ways, such as: -- a symbol of authority (as when Pharaoh gave his ring to Joseph in Genesis 41:42), or when King Darius sealed Daniel in the lions' den with his signet ring (Daniel 6:17)), or when King Xerxes vested Haman, and, later, Mordecai with his authority (Esther 3:10; Esther 8:2)) -- a symbol of favor (as when the prodigal son returned home and his father commanded that a ring be placed upon his hand (Luke 15:22), or when Abraham's servant gave a ring to Rebekah (Genesis 24:22), or when God said that He would make Zerubbabel a signet ring (Haggai 2:23)); -- a symbol of the withdrawal of favor (as when God spoke in Jeremiah 22:24 of removing a ring from His hand to express His displeasure with King Jeconiah); -- a symbol of beauty (although in Proverbs 11:22, that beauty (represented by the woman's outward appearance) is contrasted with the fact that the ring is placed in a pig's snout (representing the woman's lack of discretion in her words and actions, which overrides her beauty). In addition, a ring can be regarded as a symbol of eternity, due to its never-ending circular shape (although I do not believe that this meaning is explicitly found in the Bible).
I wonder if Lord of the Rings has confused you. Rings mean the same as they do elsewhere. Kings wear signets: to press into the wax to sign the seal. The ring in the pig's snout keeps it from rooting. The point is not the ring, but gold & pigs. The wayward son gets a ring because he is a son & not a servant. Others can address these things better than I. The Bible is not full of hidden codes. Just as we don't use or understand signet rings, for example, we do not understand prophecy and parables and other normal daily routine events in the Bible. So, ripping the signet ring off a finger is symbolic of ripping the kingdom from the king. This is not a Biblical symbol, it is universal in that era.
In Haggai 2:23 we read, "In that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will take you, Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts." Song of Solomon 8:6, " Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm..." A seal is a symbol of possession or ownership. The Shulamite wants the king to feel ownership of her in his heart. Isaiah 42:1, "Behold! My servant whom I uphold, my elect one in whom my soul delights!" Isaiah 43:10, "You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen." A signet ring In ancient days was an item of great value. God uses this imagery in Haggai to indicate Zerrubbabel was in His hand. As a leader of his people Zerrubbabel was encouraged to guide them spiritually. The one who has the ring is a chosen one. The Shulamite woman wants the king to know she has chosen him. In Isaiah, the chosen one is obviously Christ. The elect, indicating selected, sealed as a position of special importance. Think of the story of the prodigal son, Luke 15:22, "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on Him, and put a ring on his hand...'"
A ring meaning in the Bible is symbolized in 3 vss.: Jeremiah 22:24 "As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. Jeremiah 22:24-25 A signet ring was so very precious because a king used it to authenticate critical documents. Jehoiachin's sins wrecked his usefulness to God. Even if he were God's own signet ring, God would remove him from office due to his sins (see Jeremiah 24:1). Bible.org has " Heb “As surely as I live, Jeconiah, King of Judah, son of Jehoiakim will not be a signet ring on my right hand. Indeed I will tear you off from it [i.e., pull you off of my finger as a signet ring].” The signet ring was the king’s seal by which he verified all his legal and political transactions. To have the signet ring was to exercise authority in the king’s name. For examples of this see Gen 41:42, 43; 1 Kgs 21:8; Esth 3:10; 8:2. The figure has been interpreted in the translation for the sake of clarity. The particles כִּי אִם (ki ’im) that stand after the oath formula “As I live” introduce a negative statement according to the usage of Hebrew grammar (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי אִם 1.a and BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b and compare 2 Sam 3:35). The particle כִּי that stands in front of “I will tear you off” introduces a positive affirmation according to the same rules of Hebrew grammar (cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.c and compare 1 Sam 14:39, 44). The Lord is swearing emphatically that Jeconiah will not be the earthly representative of his rule; i.e., not carry the authority of the signet ring bearer." Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe says Ring in Jeremiah 22:24 signifies “God's Judgment.” Proverbs 11:22 "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." Warren W. Wiersbe says Ring in Prov. 11:22 means “Lack of Discretion.” A woman, as well as a man, should be discreet in what they say. Quote: "I have never been hurt by anything I didn’t say." - Calvin Coolidge Luke 15:22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.'" Wiersbe says this verse above speaks of “Forgiveness/Sonship.” Luke 15:22 NET But the father said to his slaves, ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, 2 and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger 3 and sandals on his feet! 2 sn With the instructions Hurry! Bring the best robe, there is a total acceptance of the younger son back into the home. 3 tn Grk “hand”; but χείρ (ceir) can refer to either the whole hand or any relevant part of it (L&N 8.30). William Charles Morro wrote re: “Conditions of Forgiveness: Jesus recognized that there are conditions to be fulfilled before forgiveness can be granted. Forgiveness is part of a mutual relationship; the other part is the repentance of the offender. God does not forgive without repentance, nor is it required of man. The effect of forgiveness is to restore to its former state the relationship which was broken by sin. Such a restoration requires the cooperation of both parties. There must be both a granting and an acceptance of forgiveness. Sincere, deep-felt sorrow for the wrong which works repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10) is the condition of mind which insures the acceptance of the forgiveness. Hence, Jesus commands forgiveness when the offender turns again, saying, "I repent" (Luke 17:3,1). It was this state of mind which led the father joyfully to welcome the Prodigal before he even gave utterance to his newly formed purpose (Luke 15:21).” And on “Forgiveness and Justification” he wrote, “Divine, like human, forgiveness is always contingent upon the fulfillment of conditions. It must be preceded by repentance and a firmly fixed intention not to repeat the offense. In addition to this, one was required to conform to certain legal or formal acts before the assurance of pardon was his. These acts were expressive of the sinner's state of mind.
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