Α᾿ῤῥαβών is evidently the Hebrew עֵרָבוֹן (erabon', a pledge) in Greek characters. It is a mercantile term which the Greeks and Romans appear to have adopted from the Phoenicians (kindred in dialect with the Hebrews) as the founders of commerce. With a slight alteration in the letters, but with none whatever in the sense, it becomes the Latin arrhabo, contrast arrha; French arres; English earles (in the old English expression Earl's or Arle's money) and earnest. These three words occur in the Hebrew, Sept., and Vulgate in Ge 38:17-18, and in verse 20, with the exception that the Vulgate there changes it to pignus. The use of these words in this passage clearly illustrates their general import, which is that of an earnest or pledge, given and received, to assure the fulfillment of an engagement. Hesychius explains ἀῤῥαβών by πρόδομα, something given beforehand. The Hebrew word was used generally for pledge (Ge 38:17), and in its cognate forms for surety (Pr 17:18) and hostage (2Ki 14:14). The Greek derivative, however, acquired a more technical sense, as signifying the deposit paid by the purchaser on entering into an agreement for the purchase of anything (Suid. Lex. s.v.) This idea attaches to all the particular applications of the word, as anything given by way of warrant or security for the performance of a promise, part of a debt paid as an assurance of paving the remainder; part of the price of anything paid beforehand to confirm the bargain between buyer and seller; part of a servant's wages paid at the time of hiring, for the purpose of ratifying the engagement on both sides. The idea that the earnest is either to be returned upon the fulfillment of the engagement, or to be considered as part of the stipulation, is also included. A similar, legal and technical sense attaches to earnest, the payment of which places both the vendor and purchaser in a position to enforce the carrying out of the contract (Blackstone, 2:30). The payment of earnest-money under the name of arrabon is still one of the common occurrences of Arab life. Similar customs of paying down at the time of a contract "something to bind the bargain" have prevailed among all nations. (See Smith's Dictionary of Class. Antiq. s.v. Aarha.) SEE BARGAIN.
The word is used three times in the New Testament, but always in a figurative sense: in the first (2Co 1:22) it is applied to the gifts of the Holy Spirit which God bestowed upon the apostles, and by which he might be said to have hired them to be the servants of his Son; and which were the earnest, assurance, and commencement of those far superior blessings which he would bestow on them in the life to come as the wages, of their faithful services: in the two latter (2Co 5:5; Eph 1:13-14) it is applied to the gifts bestowed on Christians generally upon whom, after baptism, the apostles laid their hands, and which were to them an earnest of obtaining a heavenly habitation and inheritance, upon the supposition of their fidelity. This use of the term finely illustrates the augmented powers and additional capacities promised in a future state. Jerome, in his comment on the second passage, exclaims, "Si arrhabo tantus, quanta erit possession the earnest was so great, how great must be the possession!" (See Kype, Macknight, and Middleton on these passages; Le Moyne, Not. ad Var. Sacr. p. 460-480.) In a spiritual sense, it denotes those gifts and graces which the Christian receives as the earnest and assurance of perfect happiness in a future world. (See Clauswitz, De Arrhabosse, Halle, 1747; Winzer, Comment. in loc. Lips. 1836; Schulthess, in Keil and Tschirner's Analecten, II, 1:215 sq.) There is a marked distinction between pledge and earnest in this respect, that the latter is a past-payment and therefore implies the identity in kind of the deposit with the future full payment; whereas a pledge may be something of a totally different nature, as in Genesis 38, to be resumed by the depositor when he has completed his contract. Thus the expression "earnest of the Spirit" implies, beyond the idea of security the identity in kind, though not in degree, and the continuity of the Christian's privileges in this world and in the next. Moreover, a pledge is taken back when the promise which it guaranteed is fulfilled; but whatever is given as earnest, being a part in advance of the whole, is of course retained. SEE PLEDGE.
Earring stands in the Authorized Version as the rendering of three Hebrews words of considerably different import. SEE RING.
1. עָגַיל (agil', from its roundness), properly a ring, specially an ear-ring (Nu 31:50; Eze 16:12), nearly all the ancient ear-rings exhibited in the sculptures of Egypt and Persepolis being of a circular shape. These are the ἐνώτια spoken of in Judith 10:4.
2. נֶזֶם (ne'zem, either from its perforating, or from its use to muzzle in the case of animals), a ring, specially a nose-ring, but also an earring, which two da not seem, therefore, to have materially differed in form. It most certainly denotes an earring in Ge 35:4; but in Ge 24:47; Pr 11:22; Isa 3:21, it signifies a nose-jewel, and it is doubtful which of the two is intended in Jg 8:24-25; Job 42:11. SEE WOMAN. Hence also we find לִחִשׁ (lach'ash, properly a whispering or incantation), a charm or remedy against enchantment, i.e., a superstitious ornament, often a gem inlaid in a plate or ring of precious metal, on which certain magic formulas were inscribed, and which was worn suspended from the neck or in the ears of Oriental females (Isa 3:20). SEE ENCHANTMENT.
The " collars" or " chains" spoken of in Jg 8:26; Isa 3:19, may also have been a species of eardrop. See those terms.
No conclusion can be formed as to the shape of the Hebrew earrings except from the signification of the words employed, and from the analogy of similar ornaments in ancient sculpture. The word נֶזֶם, by which these ornaments are usually described, is unfortunately ambiguous, originally referring to the nose-ring (as its root indicates), and thence transferred to the ear-ring. The full expression for the latter is נֶזֶם אֲשֶׁר בּאָזנִיַם (Ge 35:4), in contradistinction to נֶזֶם עלאּאִŠ (Ge 24:47). In the majority of cases, however, the kind is not specified, and the only clew to the meaning is the context. The term occurs in this undefined sense in Jg 8:24; Job 42:11; Pr 25:12; Ho 2:13. The material of which the earring was made was generally gold (Ex 32:2), and its form circular, as we may infer from the name עָגַיל, by which it is described (Nu 31:50; Eze 16:12): such was the shape usual in Egypt (Wilkinson's Egyptians, 3:370). They were worn by women and by youth of both sexes (Ex 1:22). It has been inferred from the passage quoted, and from Jg 8:24, that they were not worn by men: these passages are however, by no meats conclusive. In the former an order is given to the men in such terms that they could not be mentioned, though they might have been implicitly, included; in the latter the amount of the gold is the peculiarity adverted to, and not the character of the ornament, a peculiarity which is still noticeable among the inhabitants of southern Arabia (Wellsted's Travels, 1:321). The mention of the sons in Ex 32:2 (which, however, is omitted in the Septuagint), is in favor of their having been worn, and it appears unlikely that the Hebrews presented an exception to the almost universal practice of Asiatics, both in ancient and modern times. That they were not, however, usually worn by men is implied in Jg 14:20, where gold earrings are mentioned as distinctive of the Ishmaelitish tribes. The men of Egypt also abstained from the use of earrings; but how extensively they were worn by men in other nations is shown by the preceding group of heads of different foreigners, collected from the Egyptian monuments. By this also the usual forms of the most ancient ornaments of this description are sufficiently displayed. Those worn by the Egyptian ladies were large, round, single hoops of gold, from one inch and a half to two finches and one third in diameter, and frequently of still greater size, or made of six single rings soldered together. Such probably was the round agil of the Hebrews. Among persons of high or royal rank the ornament was sometimes in the shape of an asp, whose body was of gold set with precious stones. Silver earrings have also been found at Thebes, either plain hoops like the earrings of gold, or simple studs. The ancient Assyrians, both men and women, wore earrings of exquisite shape and finish, especially the kings, and those on the later monuments are generally in the form of a cross (Layard, Nineveh, 2:234, 250).
Lane thus describes those now worn by Egyptian females: "Of earrings ('halak') there is a great variety. Some of the more usual kinds are here represented. The first is of diamonds set in silver. It consists of a drop suspended within a wreath hanging from a sprig. The back of the silver is gilt, to prevent its being tarnished by perspiration. The specimen here given is that for the right ear; its fellow is similar, but with the sprig reversed. This pair of earrings is suited for a lady of wealth; so also is the second, which resembles the former, excepting that it has a large pearl in the place of the diamond drop and wreath, and that the diamonds of the sprig are set in gold. Number 3 is a side view of the same. The next consists of gold, and an emerald pierced through the middle, with a small diamond above the emerald. Emeralds are generally pierced in Egypt, and spoiled by this process as much as by not being cut with facets. The last is of gold, with a small ruby in the center. The ruby is set in fine filigree-work, which is surrounded by fifteen balls of gold. To the seven lower balls are suspended as many circular bark" (Mod. Eg. 2:404). The modern Oriental earrings are more usually jeweled drops or pendants than circlets of gold, but sometimes they consist of a small round plate of silver or gold suspended from a small ring inserted into the ear (Kitto, Pict. Bible, note on Ex 32:2). This circular plate (about the size of a halfpenny) is either marked with fanciful figures or set with small stones. It is the same kind of thing which in that country (Mesopotamia) is worn as a nose-jewel, and in it we perhaps find the Hebrew earring, which is denoted by the same word that describes a nose-jewel. Jewels were sometimes attached to the rings: they were called נטַיפוֹת (from נָטִŠ, to drop), a word rendered in Jg 8:26, Sept. ὅρμισκοι, Vulg. sonilia, A.V. "collars;" and in Isa 3:19, καθεμα, torques, " chains." The size of the earrings still worn in Eastern countries far exceeds what is usual among ourselves (Harmer's Observations, 3, page 311, 314), hence they formed a handsome present (Job 42:11) or offering to the service of God (Nu 31:50). SEE JEWEL.
The earring appears to have been regarded with superstitious reverence as an amulet: thus it is named in the Chaldee and Samaritan versions קִדַישָׁא, a holy thing; and in Isa 3:20 the word לחָשַׁים, prop. amulets, is rendered in the A.V., after the Septuagint and Vulgate, earrings. On this account they were surrendered along with the idols by Jacob's household (Ge 35:4). Chardin describes earrings, with talismanic figures and characters on them, as still existing in the East (Brown's Antiquities, 2:305). SEE AMULET.