79. Signets - Robes - Necklaces

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 12
Genesis 41:4242And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; (Genesis 41:42). Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.
1. Great importance was attached to the signet ring, which contained the owner’s name, and the impression of which was of the same validity as a written signature is among us. Hence the gift of this royal signet ring was a transfer of royal authority to Joseph. Thus Ahasuerus gave his ring to Haman, and the document which Haman signed with it was considered as coming from the king (Esther 3:10-1210And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy. 11And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee. 12Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. (Esther 3:10‑12)). The same ring was afterward given to Mordecai, who used it in the same way (Esther 8:2,8,102And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. (Esther 8:2)
8Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse. (Esther 8:8)
10And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries: (Esther 8:10)
). The value and importance attached to the signet ring are referred to in Jeremiah 22:2424As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; (Jeremiah 22:24) and in Haggai 2:2323In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:23). Some valuable specimens of ancient signet rings have been found by antiquaries. One of the most remarkable of these is now in the Abbott Collection of Egyptian Antiquities, in the Museum of the New York Historical Society. It is in most excellent preservation and of very high antiquity, bearing the name of Shoofoo, the Suphis of the Greeks, who reigned before the time of Joseph. It was found in a tomb at Gizeh, and is of fine gold, weighing nearly three sovereigns.
2. The fine (or, literally, white) linen robes were worn by the Egyptian priests, which fact has given some occasion to think that Joseph was received into the caste of priests, which was of the highest rank in Egypt, as it was the one to which the king himself belonged.
3. The gold chain was another mark of distinction, since none but persons of high rank were permitted to wear such ornaments. There is in the Abbott Collection a gold necklace which has on it the name of Menes, the first Pharaoh of Egypt, and who reigned several hundred years before Shoofoo. The necklace has a pair of ear-rings to match. The signet and the necklace are no doubt similar in general appearance to those with which Joseph was invested. See also note on Song of Solomon 1:1010Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. (Song of Solomon 1:10) (#476).