or'-na-ment (`adhi, "adornment"):

In common with all the Orientals, the Hebrews were very fond of wearing ornaments, and their tendency to extravagance of this kind often met with stern prophetic rebuke (Isaiah 3:16-24; Ezekiel 13:18-20). On this subject, little is said in the New Testament apart from Jesus' (Luke 7:25; 12:23) and James' (James 2:2) invectives against meretricious estimates of moral character. Yet the employment of attractive attire receives sanction in the divine example of Ezekiel 16:10-14.

Ornaments in general would include finely embroidered or decorated fabrics, such as the priest's dress or the high-priestly attire, and the richly wrought veil, girdle and turban used by the wealthier class. But the term may be limited here to the various rings, bracelets and chains made of precious metals and more or less jeweled (compare Jeremiah 2:32).

These latter, described in detail under their own titles, may be summarized here as finger-rings, particularly prized as seal-rings (Genesis 38:18,25; Jeremiah 22:24); arm-rings or bracelets (Genesis 24:22; 2 Samuel 1:10); earrings (Genesis 35:4; Exodus 32:2); noserings (Genesis 24:47; Ezekiel 16:12); anklets or ankle-chains (Isaiah 3:16,18); head-bands or fillets or cauls (referred to in Isaiah 3:18 only), and necklaces or neck-chains (Genesis 41:42; Ezekiel 16:11).


The universal devotion to ornament among the Orientals is the occasion for frequent Biblical allusions to the beauty and splendor of fine jewelry and attire. But everywhere, in divine injunctions, the emphasis of value is placed upon the beauty of holiness as an inward grace rather than on the attractions of outward ornament (Job 40:10; Psalms 110:3; Joel 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:9,10; 1 Peter 3:4). In grievous sorrow, all ornament was to be laid aside in token of mourning (Exodus 33:4-6).

Leonard W. Doolan

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'ORNAMENT'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.