Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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seal Summary and Overview

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seal in Easton's Bible Dictionary

commonly a ring engraved with some device (Gen. 38:18, 25). Jezebel "wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal" (1 Kings 21:8). Seals are frequently mentioned in Jewish history (Deut. 32:34; Neh. 9:38; 10:1; Esther 3:12; Cant. 8:6; Isa. 8:16; Jer. 22:24; 32:44, etc.). Sealing a document was equivalent to the signature of the owner of the seal. "The use of a signet-ring by the monarch has recently received a remarkable illustration by the discovery of an impression of such a signet on fine clay at Koyunjik, the site of the ancient Nineveh. This seal appears to have been impressed from the bezel of a metallic finger-ring. It is an oval, 2 inches in length by 1 inch wide, and bears the image, name, and titles of the Egyptian king Sabaco" (Rawlinson's Hist. Illus. of the O.T., p. 46). The actual signet-rings of two Egyptian kings (Cheops and Horus) have been discovered. (See SIGNET T0003426.) The use of seals is mentioned in the New Testament only in connection with the record of our Lord's burial (Matt. 27:66). The tomb was sealed by the Pharisees and chief priests for the purpose of making sure that the disciples would not come and steal the body away (ver. 63, 64). The mode of doing this was probably by stretching a cord across the stone and sealing it at both ends with sealing-clay. When God is said to have sealed the Redeemer, the meaning is, that he has attested his divine mission (John 6:27). Circumcision is a seal, an attestation of the covenant (Rom. 4:11). Believers are sealed with the Spirit, as God's mark put upon them (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Converts are by Paul styled the seal of his apostleship, i.e., they are its attestation (1 Cor. 9:2). Seals and sealing are frequently mentioned in the book of Revelation (5:1; 6:1; 7:3; 10:4; 22:10).

seal in Smith's Bible Dictionary

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. 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. #Ge 38:18| The ring or the seal as an emblem of authority in Egypt, Persia and elsewhere is mentioned in #Ge 41:42; 1Ki 21:8; Es 3:10,12; 8:2; Da 6:17| and as an evidence of a covenant, in #Jer 32:10,44; Ne 9:38; 10:1; Hag 2:23| Engraved signets were in use among the Hebrews in early times. #Ex 28:11,36; 39:6|

seal in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

SEAL . 1 Kgs 21:8. This was usually employed to authenticate public or private papers. Jer 32:10. If a door or box was to be sealed, it was first fastened with some ligament, upon which clay or wax was spread and then impressed with a seal or signet. Frequently a ring with some inscription on it was used as a seal, by the delivery or transfer of which the highest offices of the kingdom were bestowed. Gen 41:42; Esth 3:10. In sealing the sepulchre. Matt 27:66, it is probable that the fastening of the stone which secured the entrance was covered with clay or wax, and so impressed with a public or private seal that any violation of it could be discovered at once. See Rings, Letters. Phoenician Seal. Modern travellers describe the seal used in the East, at the present day, as made of cornelian, or agate, with the name or title of the writer, or some verse of the Koran or other motto, engraved upon it. 2 Tim 2:19. It is fastened into a ring and worn on the hand. Song 8:6. When used it is either applied to the wax, or is covered with some substance which, being stamped on the paper, leaves the desired impression. The word "seal" is used figuratively in the Bible to denote an act or token or process of confirmation. Rom 4:11; Eph 4:30.

seal in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Used to stamp a document, giving it legal validity. Judah probably wore his suspended from the neck over the breast (Genesis 38:18; Song of Solomon 8:6; Job 38:14). As the plastic clay presents various figures impressed on it by the revolving cylinder seal (one to three inches long, of terra cotta or precious stone, such as is found in Assyria), as "it is turned," so the morning light rolling on over the earth, previously void of form through the darkness, brings out to view hills, valleys, etc. Treasures were sealed up (Deuteronomy 32:34); the lions' den in Daniel's case (Daniel 6:17); so our Lord's tomb (Matthew 27:66). Sealing up was also to ensure secrecy (Daniel 12:4; Revelation 5:1). The signet ring was the symbol of royal authority (Genesis 12:41-42; Esther 3:10; Esther 8:10). Clay hardens in the heat, and was therefore used in Assyria and Babylon rather than wax, which melts. A stone cylinder in the Alnwick Museum bears the date of Osirtasin I, between 2,000 and 3,000 B.C. The Assyrian documents were often of baked clay, sealed while wet and burnt afterwards. Often the seal was a lump of clay impressed with a seal and tied the document. Such is the seal of Sabacho or So, king of Egypt (711 B.C.), found at Nimrud (2 Kings 17:4).