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English Bible Dictionary

Seal

 

The importance attached to seals in the East is so great that without one no document is regarded as authentic. Among the methods of sealing used in Egypt at a very early period were engraved stones, graved stones, pierced through their length and hung by a string or chain from the arm or neck, or set in rings for the finger. The most ancient form used for this purpose was the scarabaeus, formed of precious or common stone, or even of blue pottery or porcelain, on the flat side of which the inscription or device was engraved, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. In many cases the seal consisted of a lump of clay, impressed with the seal and attached to the document, whether of papyrus or other material, by strings. In other cases wax was used. In sealing a sepulchre or box, the fastening was covered with clay or wax, and the impression from a seal of one in authority was stamped upon it, so that it could not be broken open without discovery. The signet-ring was an ordinary part of a man's equipment. (Genesis 38:18) The ring or the seal as an emblem of authority in Egypt, Persia and elsewhere is mentioned in (Genesis 41:42; 1 Kings 21:8; Esther 3:10,12; 8:2; Daniel 6:17) and as an evidence of a covenant, in (Jeremiah 32:10,44; Nehemiah 9:38; 10:1; Haggai 2:23) Engraved signets were in use among the Hebrews in early times. (Exodus 28:11,36; 39:6)

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