35. Nose Jewels Bracelets

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Genesis 24:2222And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; (Genesis 24:22). It came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold.
1. The “ear-ring” here spoken of (nezem) is more properly a nose-ring. The servant says (vs. 47), “I put the ear-ring upon her face.” The present of a single earring would be strange; to put it on the face would be stranger still. Nose-jewels are referred to in Proverbs 11:2222As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. (Proverbs 11:22), Isaiah 3:2121The rings, and nose jewels, (Isaiah 3:21), and Ezekiel 16:1212And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. (Ezekiel 16:12), where for “forehead” in the text the margin has “nose.”
The nose-ring is made generally of silver or gold, but sometimes of coral, mother-of-pearl, or even of horn, according to the taste or means of the wearer. This curious ornament varies considerably in size and thickness. The metal rings are usually from one inch to one inch and a half in diameter, and sometimes are as large as three inches. Beads, coral, or jewels, are strung upon them. They are usually hung from the right nostril, though sometimes from the left, and occasionally they are suspended from the middle filament of the nose. In India, according to Roberts. the nose-jewels are of different shapes, resembling a swan, a serpent, or a flower. Anderson saw them in Egypt, made of brass, but worn only by women of the lower class. Graham says that in Syria, as well as in Egypt, these ornaments are not worn among the respectable classes of society, but are found among the Africans and slaves; so that the fashion seems to have changed since Rebekah’s day, and since the time when Isaiah wrote.
2. The weight of the nose-jewel given to Rebekah (a half shekel) was nearly a quarter of an ounce, troy.
3. Bracelets are almost universally worn by women in the East. They are sometimes made of gold, sometimes of mother-of-pearl, but usually of silver. The poorer women wear them made of plated steel, horn, brass, copper, and occasionally nothing but simple strings of beads. The arms are sometimes crowded with them from wrist to elbow. They are sometimes flat, but more frequently round or semicircular, and are often made hollow to give, by their bulk, the appearance of greater weight. Bracelets (tsemedim) were also referred to in Numbers 31:5050We have therefore brought an oblation for the Lord, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the Lord. (Numbers 31:50); Ezekiel 16:11; 23:4211I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. (Ezekiel 16:11)
42And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads. (Ezekiel 23:42)
. The other passages in which “bracelets” occur have different words in the original, which will be explained under the several texts where they are used.
4. The weight of the bracelets presented to Rebekah (ten shekels) was over four and a half ounces. They are sometimes worn heavier than this, so as to seem more like manacles than bracelets.