bras'-let ('ets`adhah, chach, tsamidh, pathil, sheroth):
Used to translate a number of Hebrew words, only one of which means a band for the arm ('ets`adhah), as in 2 Samuel 1:10, "the bracelet that was on his arm." In Exodus 35:22, where both men and women are said to have brought as offerings among other "jewels of gold" "bracelets" (the Revised Version (British and American) "brooches"), another word (chach) is used, meaning most likely nose-rings (see RING). The bracelet asked of Judah by Tamar as a pledge ("Thy signet, and thy b., and thy staff that is in thy hand," Genesis 38:18,25 the King James Version) was probably the cord of softly-twisted wool for the shepherd's headdress (pathil; the Revised Version (British and American) "cord"). The bracelets ("two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold") which Abraham's servant gave to Rebekah stand for still another word (tsamidh). These "bracelets" are always spoken of as "bracelets for the hands," or as "put upon the hands" (Genesis 24:47, compare Ezekiel 16:11; 23:42). Isaiah, predicting the day when Yahweh will smite the haughty daughters of Zion, who "walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet," says, "In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets .... the bracelets" (Ezekiel 3:19, sheroth) etc., where some translate "twisted ornaments," leaving it uncertain as to just what is specifically meant? In 2 Samuel 1:10 the bracelet appears with the crown as one of the royal insignia. In 2 Kings 11:12, according to Wellhausen, W. R. Smith (OTJC2, 311n.) and oth ers, we should read, "Then he brought out the king's son, and put the crown upon him and gave him bracelets" ... for "testimony" ... See DB.
Today, as of old, the bracelet is multiform and a favorite ornament in the East. It is made of gold, silver, copper, brass, glass and even enameled earthenware, and in many designs:
flat band, plain ring, interlinked rings, as well as of twisted wires, connected squares, solid or perforated, with or without pendants (Mackie).
When owned by women, bracelets had the special the commendation, along with other jewelry, of being inalienable--not to be taken by the husband in case of divorce, nor seized and sold for his debts. "Even now," says Rice (Orientalisms, etc., 41), "in Moslem lands a woman may be divorced without legal process, at the freak of her husband, but she can carry away undisputed any amount of gold, silver, jewels, precious stones, or apparel that she has loaded on her person; so she usually wears all her treasures on her person, not knowing when the fateful word may be spoken."
George B. Eager
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