rings properly for the ear (Ge 35:4; Nu 31:50; Eze 16:12). In Ge 24:47 the word means a nose-jewel, and is so rendered in the Revised Version. In Isa 3:20 the Authorized Version has "ear-rings," and the Revised Version "amulets," which more correctly represents the original word (lehashim), which means incantations; charms, thus remedies against enchantment, worn either suspended from the neck or in the ears of females. Ear-rings were ornaments used by both sexes (Ex 32:2).
nezem, which also includes the nose ring hanging on one side of the nose (Ge 24:47, where the words "upon her face" imply either a nose ring or one to be hung from her forehead, Ge 35:4). Circular, as its other name 'agil implies. Oriental men wore them as well as women. Jg 8:24 seems to imply that the Israelite men did not wear them, as did the Ishmaelites; but Ex 32:2 proves that young "sons" wore them. There were besides netiphot (Jg 8:26), not "collars" but pearlshaped "ear drops," or jewels attached to the rings, or else pendent scent bottles, or pendants from the neck on the breast, "Chains" KJV (Isa 3:19,21), "earrings" (leehashim, from laachash "to whisper"), AMULETS with magic inscriptions, and so surrendered along with the idols by Jacob's household (Ge 35:4).
The best use made of them was that in Nu 31:50, an offering to the Lord to "make atonement for souls"; not that our gifts can wipe away guilt, but acknowledgments of God's grace not being offered in loving gratitude evince an unatoned state, and so a state of guilt. When offered in loving faith, they evidence and seal visibly our reception of the atonement (Lu 7:44-47). The "phylacteries," headbands, totapkot (Mt 23:5) in the Talmudists' opinion were the sanctioned antidote to the idolatrous amulets and "earrings" (De 6:7-8; 11:18-19; contrast Ho 2:13; Isa 3:21, lechashim. But the language in Deuteronomy and in Ex 13:9,16 is rightly taken by the Karaite Jews as proverbial, not literal; as is apparent from the reason added, "that the law of Jehovah may be in thy mouth"; for it is by receiving the law into the heart, and by keeping it, that it would be naturally on the tongue continually.
God does not say that His law was to be written upon scrolls, but to be "for a sign upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes," i.e., was to be kept in view like memorials upon the forehead and the hand, the prominent visible parts symbolizing respectively open confession and action (Re 13:16; 22:4). This view is proved by Pr 3:3; 4:21; 6:21-22; 7:3. But latterly the Jews used the "phylacteries," totaphot, or tephillim, prayer fillets, parchment strips with sentences of the law, bound on the forehead or left arm during prayer.
The material of which earrings were made was generally gold,
and their form circular. They were worn by women and by youth of both sexes. These ornaments appear to have been regarded with superstitious reverence as an amulet. On this account they were surrendered along with the idols by Jacob's household.
Chardin describes earrings with talismanic figures and characters on them as still existing in the East. Jewels were sometimes attached to the rings. The size of the earrings still worn in eastern countries far exceeds what is usual among ourselves; hence they formed a handsome present,
or offering to the service of God.