Mar 28, 2006

Pierced Ears: A Biblical Defense

(Due to technical difficulties, this post had to be removed and re-posted. All original comments are at the end of this post.)

The Bible has a whole lot to say about jewelry, both bad and good. This is intended merely to be a very simple biblical defense for pierced earrings and for wearing jewelry in general.

We first see jewelry condoned when Abraham's servant finds Rebecca: "So it was, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels of gold … Then the servant brought out jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah." Gen 24:22, 53 This seems to be a favorable use not only of jewelry, but also of nose rings!

When the Israelites plundered the Egyptians, they took a lot of jewelry with them. It is not clear if they were only intended for later use in the tabernacle or if they were for the beauty of the Israelites. In any case, they very much misused them. "And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me. So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron." Ex 32:2-3 Notice the use of the phrase “in the ears." That sounds like piercing to me, so there was probably already a practice of piercing their ears. It could be slavery related, as we shall see in another passage. But this is NOT a justification we can use.

Now they use them for the glory of God. “They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the LORD.” Ex 35:22

Here is a clear passage on ear piercing, but notice what it means for men. “Then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.” Ex 21:6

The Lord speaks. Notice the use of the phrase “in your ears.” "And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head." Ez 16:12 Oh, here we are with that nose ring again!

This is quite a metaphor! “Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear." Prov 25:12

Nice clothes, fixing our hair, and jewelry are not condemned: "Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel." 1 Pet 3:3

In summary, I see no biblical principles prohibiting pierced ears or nice jewelry. On the contrary, we see several passages in favor of earrings, and pierced ears seem to implied. Modesty in jewelry should prevail as well.

Now, about that nose ring! “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thess 5:22 (KJV) If our culture says that a nose ring is a sign of worldliness, I would want to avoid being associated explicitly with the world, but I will not condemn a Christian for wearing one! (I've heard that it feels like you always need a Kleenex!)

Sarah Walston said...
Jen - just because God makes an account of a cultural reality (nose rings for instance) does not mean that God is giving His approval for it. If that is your reasoning, then why doesn't Mark have a couple of wives? ;-)
12:08 AM

Jen said...
No, I must not have made my point very clear. (BTW, due to technical difficulties, the Scripture addresses are not showing up on the post???) So, if you look in Ezekiel 16:12, the Lord says "And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head." That's my clearest defense! (This whole post was a challenge from a friend!)
12:20 AM

Mark Epstein said...
Okay, I'll wade into this one. First, we must employ a defined hermeneutic. Are the verses Jennifer using historical, metaphorical, poetical? All of this makes a difference. For example, the Psalms are poetic songs desgined for ease of memory, since they are set to music. Does that make them less relevant than metaphors or history? No, they just need to be understood in context. On the other hand, I would not rely on a metaphor over history in making an apologia for or against pierced ears. So, what's the point? If we are attempting to make an apologia (argument) for or against pierced ears, body piercing or tattoos, then we should look to those elements of Holy Scripture that are historical and directive in nature (the "thou shall nots," etc.). Once we identify the appropriate genre of Scripture, then we can look at all the Scripture in context (Genesis through Revelation). When we fail to approach Scripture in this manner all sorts of heresies and "interpretations" can abound. I will expand on this in the promised clarification to Jen's other post.
8:46 AM

Sarah Walston said...
See I don't think God ever intended His scriptures to be so hard to understand. If body piercings were a MAJOR concern to Him, HE would have made it clear. It wouldn't take Mark or Jennifer a lot of effort in wading through historical, metaphorical or poetical verses in order to figure God out on this one. That's kind of the "wax and wane" of being stuck here on Earth, isn't it. We are left with our feeble, finite minds to try and decode scripture - while God is sitting up there just shaking His head saying, "GET REAL!" Thankfully, the Theif on the Cross didn't have to study Hermeneutics in order to get into Heaven. Moutains out of molehills is what i have to say about it all - mountains out of molehills. If Natasha wants to pierce her bellybutton - why does it matter to you? She's the one who is going to have to suffer the concequences of her decision one day. One day she WILL regret doing it. I'd be more concerned about WHY she wants to get a belly button ring...isn't that the part God really wants you to focus on?
12:49 PM

Sarah Walston said...
sorry i got my posts mixed up - i'm commenting about belly button rings in the last comment - i guess it's all related.never the less, you did a pretty good job defending your position on pierced ears, jen. i still don't think polygamy is such a bad idea - well intentioned albeit fundamentally flawed. i often say that royce really needs about 4 wives in order for all his needs to be met.... lol....
2:17 PM

Jen said...
Actually, Sarah, body piercing is not a BIG issue for me. Natasha asked me what the Bible says about it, so I decided since I was doing a little research, to blog about what I found. However, both Mark and I do believe that God's Word speaks to ALL of life, and therefore we should always turn to His Word to get His guidance in life. I think the reason God did NOT put a lot of specifics in His Word, but rather principles instead, is that He wanted us to search His Word and to understand His heart. In doing so, we should arrive at God's best for our every day lives.Polygamy? Of all people, Sarah, I would not pick you to make fun of this one! I'm thinking back...
3:09 PM

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