Isaiah 3:21
The rings, and nose jewels,
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(21) The rings, and nose jewels.—The first word points to the signet ring, worn both by men and women of wealth (Exodus 35:22; Numbers 31:50; Esther 3:12; Esther 8:8; Jeremiah 22:24); the latter to the ornaments worn pendent from the nostrils as by modern Arabian women (Genesis 24:22).

3:16-26 The prophet reproves and warns the daughters of Zion of the sufferings coming upon them. Let them know that God notices the folly and vanity of proud women, even of their dress. The punishments threatened answered the sin. Loathsome diseases often are the just punishment of pride. It is not material to ask what sort of ornaments they wore; many of these things, if they had not been in fashion, would have been ridiculed then as now. Their fashions differed much from those of our times, but human nature is the same. Wasting time and money, to the neglect of piety, charity, and even of justice, displease the Lord. Many professors at the present day, seem to think there is no harm in worldly finery; but were it not a great evil, would the Holy Spirit have taught the prophet to expose it so fully? The Jews being overcome, Jerusalem would be levelled with the ground; which is represented under the idea of a desolate female seated upon the earth. And when the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, they struck a medal, on which was represented a woman sitting on the ground in a posture of grief. If sin be harboured within the walls, lamentation and mourning are near the gates.The rings - Usually worn on the fingers.

And nose-jewels - The custom of wearing jewels in the "nose" has generally prevailed in savage tribes, and was common, and is still, in Eastern nations - among the Arabians, Persians, etc. Sir John Chardin says, 'It is the custom in almost all the East for the women to wear rings in their noses, in the left nostril, which is bored low down in the middle. These rings are of gold, and have commonly two pearls and one ruby between, placed in the ring. I never saw a girl or young woman in Arabia, or in all Persia, who did not wear a ring in this manner in her nostrils.' - Harmer's "Obs.," iv., p. 318. The picture in the book illustrates the usual form of this ornament in the East.

21. nose jewels—The cartilage between the nostrils was bored to receive them; they usually hung from the left nostril. Which were fastened to the head, and hung down upon the forehead to the beginning of the nose; of which see Genesis 24:22,47 Jud 8:24, &c. The rings,.... On their finger, as Aben Ezra observes:

and nose jewels; the same with the jewels on the forehead or nose, Ezekiel 16:12 not that they hung upon the nose, but were fastened upon the forehead, and hung down to the nose, see Genesis 24:22; an allusion to this is in Proverbs 11:22 though Austin says it was a custom of the women of Mauritania to put jewels in their nose; and which is still kept in Persia, Arabia, and other countries, as travellers affirm.

The rings, and nose jewels,
21. rings] seal-rings, worn on the finger.

nose jewels] Genesis 24:47.Verse 21. - The rings; literally, seal-rings, or signet-rings. Such were known in Egypt from the time of Joseph (Genesis 41:42), and probably earlier. It would seem from the present passage that their use was not confined to men. Nose-jewels. Actual nose-rings are not represented in any of the ancient remains; and the use of them seems to be confined to very barbarous communities. Probably the "nose-jewels" here mentioned were ornaments depending from the forehead and touching the upper part of the nose, "Jehovah will proceed to judgment with the elders of His people, and its princes. And ye, ye have eaten up the vineyard; prey of the suffering is in your houses. What mean ye that ye crush my people, and grind the face of the suffering? Thus saith the Lord Jehovah of hosts." The words of God Himself commence with "and ye" (v'attem). The sentence to which this (et vos equals at vos) is the antithesis is wanting, just as in Psalm 2:6, where the words of God commence with "and I" (va'ani, et ego equals ast ego). the tacit clause may easily be supplied, viz., I have set you over my vineyard, but he have consumed the vineyard. The only question is, whether the sentence is to be regarded as suppressed by Jehovah Himself, or by the prophet. Most certainly by Jehovah Himself. The majesty with which He appeared before the rulers of His people as, even without words, a practical and undeniable proof that their majesty was only a shadow of His, and their office His trust. But their office consisted in the fact that Jehovah had committed His people to their care. The vineyard of Jehovah was His people - a self-evident figure, which the prophet dresses up in the form of a parable in chapter 5. Jehovah had appointed them as gardeners and keepers of this vineyard, but they themselves have become the very beasts that they ought to have warded off. בּער is applied to the beasts which completely devour the blades of a corn-field or the grapes of a vineyard (Exodus 22:4). This change was perfectly obvious. The possessions stolen from their unhappy countrymen, which were still in their houses, were the tangible proof of their plundering of the vineyard. "The suffering:" ani (depressus, the crushed) is introduced as explanatory of haccerem, the prey, because depression and misery were the ordinary fate of the congregation which God called His vineyard. It was ecclesia pressa, but woe to the oppressors! In the question "what mean ye?" (mallâcem) the madness and wickedness of their deeds are implied. מה and לכם are fused into one word here, as if it were a prefix (as in Exodus 4:2; Ezekiel 8:6; Malachi 1:13; vid., Ges. 20, 2). The Keri helps to make it clear by resolving the chethibh. The word mallâcem ought, strictly speaking, to be followed by chi: "What is there to you that ye crush my people?" as in Isaiah 22:1, Isaiah 22:16; but the words rush forwards (as in Jonah 1:6), because they are an explosion of wrath. For this reason the expressions relating to the behaviour of the rulers are the strongest that can possibly be employed. דּכּא (crush) is also to be met with in Proverbs 22:22; but "grind the face" (tâchan p'ne) is a strong metaphor without a parallel. The former signifies "to pound," the latter "to grind," as the millstone grinds the corn. They grind the faces of those who are already bowed down, thrusting them back with such unmerciful severity, that they stand as it were annihilated, and their faces become as white as flour, or as the Germans would say, cheese-white, chalk-white, as pale as death, from oppression and despair. Thus the language supplied to a certain extent appropriate figures, with which to describe the conduct of the rulers of Israel; but it contained no words that could exhaust the immeasurable wickedness of their conduct: hence the magnitude of their sin is set before them in the form of a question, "What is to you?" i.e., What indescribable wickedness is this which you are committing? The prophet hears this said by Jehovah, the majestic Judge, whom he here describes as Adonai Elohim Zebaoth (according to the Masoretic pointing). This triplex name of God, which we find in the prophetic books, viz., frequently in Amos and also in Jeremiah 2:19, occurs for the first time in the Elohistic Psalm, Psalm 69:7. This scene of judgment is indeed depicted throughout in the colours of the Psalms, and more especially recals the (Elohistic) Psalm of Asaph (Psalm 82:1-8).
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