No large ones like ours, for assembling congregations to worship, were anciently known. In Ex 28:33-34, small golden bells are mentioned (72 according to the rabbis) as alternating with blue, purple, and scarlet pomegranates, on the hem of the high priest's ephod. The object was "his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not." The pomegranates with pleasant odor, and refreshing juice, and delicious kernel, symbolized the word of God, the spiritual food refreshing the soul (Ps 19:8-11; De 8:3; Pr 25:11). The bells symbolize the sounding forth of the word (Ro 10:18). Through the robe, with this pendant attached, Aaron wits represented as the receiver and transmitter of the word from heaven.
No ordinary priest could enter Jehovah's immediate presence. The high priest alone was admitted, as wearing the robe of God's word and bearing the divine testimony, upon which the covenant fellowship was founded which ensured his not dying. The sounding bells also assured the people waiting outside that their interceding representative priest was not dead, though in God's immediate presence. So the sounding word assures Christ's waiting people here below that, though withdrawn from their eyes within the heavenly veil, "He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb 7:25). The pamoney are strictly bells (Ex 28:33), from paam, "to strike." But in Zec 14:20 metsillot, from tsalal "to strike," means flat pieces or plates of brass, like cymbals, attached as ornaments to the horses' necks.
By their tinkling they enliven the animal, and keep the party from wandering far from one another. Bells are represented attached to horses on the walls of Sennacherib's palace at Koyunjik. "Holiness unto the Lord," inscribed on even the horse bells, whereas formerly it was only on the plate of the high priest's miter (Ex 28:36), marks that sanctity shall, in the coming day of the Lord, invest even the common occupations and things of life. In Isa 3:16,18,20, women are represented as wearing "tinkling ornaments" (probably with bells attached) about their feet, to attract admiration; ankle rings were worn on both feet joined by a chain, and the tinkling ornaments hanging therefrom.
1. paamon, from 'to strike.' Ex 28:33-34; 39:25-26. They were on Aaron's robes, "a bell and a pomegranate," testimony and fruit were to mark all his goings, as they should accompany the Christian's walk through being attached to Christ.
2. metsilloth, 'bells' from their tinkling, Zec 14:20, but in the margin is read 'or bridles.' These are supposed to be the metallic plates suspended from the heads of the horses, on which inscriptions can be engraved, and which make a tinkling noise. At the restoration and blessing of Israel "Holiness unto the Lord" will be engraved on such plates.
the bells alluded to were the golden ones 72 in number, round the hem of the his priest's ephod. The object of them was so that his sound might be heard."
Ecclus. 45:9. To this day bells are frequently attached, for the sake of their pleasant sound, to the anklets of women. The little girls of Cairo wear strings of them around their feet. In
bells of the horses were concave or flat pieces of brass, which were sometimes attached to horses for the sake of ornament.
BELLS. Moses ordered that the lower part of the blue robe, which the high priest wore in religious ceremonies, should be adorned with pomegranates and bells, intermixed alternately, at equal distances. The pomegranates were of wool, and in colour, blue purple, and crimson; the bells were of gold. Moses adds, "And it shall be upon Aaron to minister; and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out; that he die not." Some of the Hebrews believe that these little bells are round; others, that they were such as were commonly in use. The ancient kings of Persia are said to have had the hem of their robes adorned like that of the Jewish high priest, with pomegranates and golden bells. The Arabian ladies, who are about the king's person, have little gold bells fastened to their legs, their neck, and elbows, which, when they dance, make a very agreeable harmony. The Arabian women of rank, generally, wear on their legs large hollow gold rings, containing small flints, that sound like little bells when they walk; or they are large circles, with little rings hung all round, which produce the same effect. These, when they walk, give notice that the mistress of the house is passing, that so the servants of the family may behave themselves respectfully, and strangers may retire, to avoid seeing the person who advances. It was, in all probability, with some such design of giving notice that the high priest was passing, that he also wore little bells at the hem of his robe. Their sound intimated also when he was about to enter the sanctuary, and served to keep up the attention of the people. A reverential respect for the Divine Inhabitant was also indicated. The palace of kings was not to be entered without due notice, by striking some sonorous body, much less the sanctuary of God; and the high priest did, by the sound of his bells at the bottom of his robe, ask leave to enter. "And his sound shall be heard when he goeth into the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out; that he die not." Bells were a part of the martial furniture of horses employed in war. the Jewish warrior adorned his charger with these ornaments; and the prophet foretels that these in future times should be consecrated to the service of God: "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord." Chardin observes that something like this is seen in several places of the east; in Persia, and in Turkey, the reins of their bridles are of silk, of the thickness of a finger, on which are wrought the name of God, or other inscriptions. A horse which had not been trained was by the Greeks called, "one that had never heard the noise of bells."