A Marriage Symbol
In the Bible, rings have different symbolic meanings, but all of them point to the idea of a lasting commitment. The most common symbol is marriage. In the book of Genesis, God tells Abraham “take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). After he is ready to sacrifice his son, an angel of the Lord appears and says “do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Genesis 22:12). After this Abraham is told to take a ram and offer it as a burnt offering and to never forget this event. This event is referred to as “The Binding of Isaac.” To commemorate this, Abram gave his servant a ring, which is thought to be the first ring given as a symbol of love and commitment.
A Symbol of Authority and Protection
Rings also symbolized authority and protection throughout the Bible. Joseph was given a gold ring and a beautiful robe by Pharaoh when he was awarded the responsibility of governing Egypt (Genesis 41:42). In the book of Esther, King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther a signet ring to show that she was now the queen of Persia (Esther 3:10). Furthermore, rings were used to symbolize the covenant between God and his people. For example, in Ezekiel 16, God said to Israel, “I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you and you became mine. Then I passed my bow, my sword, and all my weapons over you, and I gave you a signet ring, binding you with my faithfulness” (Ezekiel 16:8-11).
Rings as a Symbol of Wealth and Power
Rings were also used in the Bible to show wealth and power. In Numbers 31, Moses gave the Midianite women, who had been captured during battle, a signet ring as a dowry (Numbers 31:50). Likewise, the nobles presented gifts of gold and jeweled signet rings to Saul when he became the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 10:1).
A Promise of Eternal Loyalty
The Bible also speaks of rings as a symbol of eternal loyalty. In the Song of Songs, the bridegroom says, “I have adorned you with jewels and set a gold ring in your nose; I have put a bracelet on your arm and a golden crown on your head” (Song of Songs 3:9-11). This passage speaks of the bridegroom adorning his bride with gifts as a sign of their eternal commitment and loyalty to one another.
The Sign of Love between King and Bride
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote about the love between Christ and the Church as a bridegroom and his bride. In Ephesians Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27). This passage speaks of Christ cleansing and sanctifying the Church and presenting himself to her as the perfect bride. The ring is a symbol of the love and commitment that Christ has for his bride, the Church.
A Symbol of Wedded Faithfulness
In the Bible, rings are associated with many symbols, but most of all it symbolizes wedlock. It is a physical representation of a couple’s commitment to each other, a promise of eternal love and loyalty. The ring symbolizes the keepsake of a marriage and its reminder that God joins couples together in marriage.
A Symbol of God’s Uninterrupted Love and Loyalty
The Bible also speaks of God’s unconditional love and loyalty. In Malachi 4:2 it says, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.” In this passage, God reminds us of his unending love and loyalty and that nothing can separate us from him. The ring symbolizes this unbroken bond, a reminder of God’s faithfulness even in the midst of trials.
A Symbol of Friendship
The Bible also uses rings as a symbol of friendship. In the book of Job, friends go to comfort Job and when Eliphaz speaks to him he says, “Put your hand on me, and I will turn my eyes away from you; only do not refuse me” (Job 13:21). This act of Eliphaz reaching out his hand to Job is an offering of friendship and support.
A Symbol of Honor
Rings symbolized honor in the Bible too. In the book of Daniel, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, handed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego a royal signet ring of authority to prove they were honored (Daniel 6:11). This was a visible reminder of the king’s favor and loyalty towards them.
A Symbol of God’s Sovereignty
Finally, rings symbolized God’s sovereignty in the Bible. In the book of Revelation, the angel told John, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). Here the ring symbolizes that we are all invited to the great banquet that God has prepared and that he reigns supreme over all.
A Symbol of Redemption
Rings were also used to symbolize the idea of redemption in the Bible. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet says, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). Here, the metaphor of food and drink being provided without cost speaks to the idea of redemption from sin. Just like the ring is an outward sign of a person’s commitment to their partner, so too is the forgiveness of our sins by God a sign of His unconditional and unwavering love.
A Symbol of Eternity
Rings were emblems of eternity in the Bible too. In the book of Isaiah, it says, “For I am the Lord your God who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar — the Lord of Hosts is his name. And I have put my words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people’” (Isaiah 51:15-16). This passage speaks of God’s enduring faithfulness and the security that He provides His children. The ring symbolizes this endless devotion of God towards His children and His promise of eternity.
A Symbol of Holiness
The Bible also speaks of rings in terms of holiness. In the book of Exodus, God commands the Israelites to wear a signet ring when they are in His presence. This ring was to remind them of the holiness of God, and as a symbol of their obedience to Him (Exodus 28:11-12).
A Symbol of Covenant
Finally, rings were symbols of covenant in the Bible. In the book of Genesis, God tells Noah that a rainbow is the sign of His everlasting covenant with man, “I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:13). Here the ring symbolizes the unbreakable bond that God has established between Himself and His people.