Bible Question:

Can we wear finger rings and nose rings according to the Bible?

Bible Answer:

Rings are mentioned 68 times in Scripture. Sixty-five percent of the references to rings occur in the book of Exodus in reference to constructing the tabernacle. In the rest of the Old Testament, rings are mentioned as items that men and women wore. Rings are mentioned only two times in the New Testament as jewelry for women and men (Luke 15:22; James 2:2).

Does the Bible approve of rings?

Rings in the Old Testament

It was common for men and women to wear rings in both the Old and New Testament  times. The first time that rings are mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 24. In verse 22 Abraham’s servant offers a gold ring and two bracelets to a woman who is later identified as Rebekah.

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold . . . Genesis 24:22 (NASB)

The Hebrew word for ring is nezem. The Hebrew word nezem occurs sixteen times in the Old Testament (Genesis 24:22, 30, 47; 35:4; Exodus 32:2-3; 35:22; Judges 8:24-26; Job 42:11; Proverbs 11:22; 25:12; Isaiah 3:21; Ezekiel 16:12; Hosea 2:13). It is used to refer to nose rings (Genesis 24:22, 30, 47; Isaiah 3:21; Ezekiel 16:12) and earrings (Genesis 35:4; Exodus 32:2-3; 35:22; Judges 8:26; Hosea 2:13).[1, 2]

For example, in Exodus 32:2-3 Aaron commanded the people to remove the gold rings (nezem) from their wives, sons and daughters. The verse states that the rings were earrings and not finger rings.

Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me. Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. Exodus 32:2-3 (NASB)

In Exodus 35:22 we discover that the Israelites wore brooches, earrings (nezem), signet rings (tabbaat), and bracelets.

Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the LORD. Exodus 35:22 (NASB)

Numbers 31:50 reveals that the Israelites also wore armlets, bracelets, signet rings (tabbaat), and necklaces.

So we have brought as an offering to the LORD what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD. Numbers 31:50 (NASB)

The Hebrew word tabbaatis refers to rings used primarily for construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:12, 14-15; 25;26-27; 26:24, 29; 27:4, 7; 28;23-24, 26-28; 30:4; 36:29, 34; 37:3, 5, 13, 14, 27; 38:5, 7; 39:16, 17, 19-21) and signet rings or ordinary finger rings (Genesis 41:42; Exodus 35:22; Numbers 31:50; Esther 3:10, 12; 8:2, 8, 10; Isaiah 3:21).[3, 4] Tabbaat occurs 45 times in the book of Exodus in the construction of the tabernacle. Nine times it is translated as a signet ring.

Job 42:11 states that the people consoling Job presented him with gifts of rings and money, but this verse does not indicate God’s approval of men wearing rings. It simply reports what happened. However, God never warns the Israelites to not wear finger rings, nose rings or earrings. Proverbs 11:22 indicates that women wore nose rings. Nose and finger rings are also mentioned in Ezekiel 16:12.

Rings in the New Testament

Rings are mentioned in the New Testament two times. For example, finger rings are mentioned in Luke 15:22 and again in James 2:2. Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, it is obvious that men and women wore rings on their fingers, in their noses and on their ears. But does God ever prohibit the wearing of rings? The answer is yes! The explanation is given in the conclusion.


God does not prohibit the wearing of finger rings, nose rings and earrings under certain circumstances. A very important and helpful passage about a person’s attitude toward jewelry begins in Isaiah 3:16. In verse 16, God rebukes the women of Israel who wear jewelry for the purpose of being seductive and when they are overly preoccupied with being attractive or beautiful. Carefully read God’s rebuke.

Moreover, the LORD said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud
And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes,
And go along with mincing steps
And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs,
And the LORD will make their foreheads bare. Isaiah 3:16 (NASB)

Then in Isaiah 3:18-21 God states that He would take away the Israelites dangling earrings, bracelets, ankle chains, armlets, finger rings, and nose rings.

In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, finger rings, nose rings . . . Isaiah 3:18-21 (NASB)

This is the first warning in Scripture about wearing jewelry. It occurs because of the sinful heart that is too proud and preoccupied with personal beauty.

God warns men and women to not wear strange clothes in Zephaniah 1:8. The warning deals with wearing clothes of another culture. That is, the blurring of one’s distinctiveness.

1 Timothy 2:9 warns women to wear “proper clothing” and then adds she must be modest. The Greek word for modest has the sense being humble and avoiding shame. The same principle applies to men. We are to avoid costly clothes and jewelry.

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments . . . 1 Timothy 2:9 (NASB)

Finally, 1 Peter 3:3-4 tells women to be more concerned about the inner person and not the external appearance. This does not mean that men and women should totslly avoid jewelry and attractive clothes. God is not promoting nudity and a worn-out clothes look. God is calling for us to be more concerned about the inner person than the external person.

Can men wear finger rings, nose rings and earrings? The answer is yes, but it depends upon the reason and a person’s heart attitude . The issue is your purpose for wearing the ring!



1. Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Clarendon Press. 1977. p 567 nezem can refer to a “nose-ring,” “earring, or an “ornament of men and women.”

2. Leonard J. Coppes, “1338 נזם.” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke. Moody Press, 1999, p. 567 states,

“Our word refers to a ring (usually of gold, Ezk 16:12) which was part of one’s (man, woman, or idol; Job 42:11; Isa 3:21; T. C. Mitchell. ‘Ornament,’ in NBD, p. 913f.) ornamentation worn in nose or ears. These rings were signs of luxury, and as personal possessions were sometimes offered (cf. qārab;) to God (Ex 32:2; 35:22; Jud 8:24). The word occurs seventeen times.”

3. Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Clarendon Press. 1977. p 371 states,

“1. signet-ring, of king, taken from his hand and given as token of authority Gn 41:42 (E), Est 3:10; 8:2; used in sealing official missives Est 3:12; 8(), 10 (vb. חָתַם). 2. ring, as ornament Is 3:21; as gift for sacred purposes Ex 35:22 Nu 31:50 (both P). 3. most often (only in Ex.) of rings for staves of ark, for curtains, for ephod, and other sacred furniture Ex 25:12() + 35 times in Ex (all P).”

4. Ralph H. Alexander, “789 טָבַע,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke. Moody Press. 1999. p 342 states,

“טַבַּעַת (ṭabbaʿat). Ring, signet ring. This term denotes an official seal-ring of the Pharaoh or king which makes decrees official by its imprint (Gen 41:42; Est 3:10, 12; 8:2, 8, 10). The synonym ḥôtām (q.v.) has this same nuance and implies that the Messiah, represented by Zerubabbel, will be God’s official seal and certainty of all his decrees (Hag 2:23). This meaning, or that of an ordinary finger ring, is used in Ex 35:22, Num 31:50, and Isa 3:21. The noun is employed twenty-eight times in Ex to describe the rings used for poles (or bars) which held the tabernacle together, which carried the furniture, or which enabled the high priest’s breastplate to be fastened to the ephod.”


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