What is a Signet Ring in the Bible?

A Bible and Their Significance”>signet ring is mentioned several times in the Bible, primarily in the Old Testament. It represented authority and power for the one who wore it. The signet ring was used to seal and sign documents, decrees, and letters. Understanding the significance of the signet ring in biblical times gives insight into several passages of Scripture.


The signet ring was an important symbol of identity and authority in ancient times. Kings, nobles, and other prestigious individuals wore signet rings engraved with their emblem or seal. This ring was pressed into soft clay or wax to leave an impression that authenticated documents. Possessing someone’s signet ring gave the holder the authority to act on that person’s behalf.

Several key passages in the Old Testament feature the use of signet rings. These references shed light on the importance and meaning of the signet ring during biblical times. As we explore what the Bible says about signet rings, several meaningful applications emerge for believers today.

Key Takeaways:

  • The signet ring represented the identity, authority and ownership of the wearer.
  • Signet rings were used to authorize documents and decrees.
  • God designated the signet ring as a symbol of honor and authority.
  • Stewarding authority faithfully is a key principle illustrated by the signet ring.
  • Believers have the authority of Jesus’ name to carry out His work.
What is a Signet Ring in the Bible?

The Signet Ring as a Symbol of Identity

And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. (Genesis 41:42 NKJV)

One key use of the signet ring was as a symbol of identity. The ring bore the unique insignia of its owner, acting as his personal seal. When Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second-in-command over Egypt, he gave Joseph his signet ring (Genesis 41:41-43). By putting his distinctive ring on Joseph’s finger, Pharaoh transferred his authority and identity to Joseph. The signet ring identified Joseph as acting for Pharaoh himself.

Signet rings were closely associated with the owner’s identity and authority. “Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame.” (Song of Solomon 8:6 NKJV) The bride desired to be like a signet ring, carrying her beloved’s identity and belonging completely to him.

When King Ahasuerus removed his signet ring and gave it to Haman, he effectively gave Haman his royal authority to issue decrees in the name of the king (Esther 3:10-12). The signet ring gave the bearer the king’s power to act on his behalf.

The Signet Ring as an Authorization for Documents

So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Hammedatha the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. (Esther 8:2 NKJV)

Kings used their signet rings to authorize documents, decrees, proclamations and laws. By pressing his ring into wet clay or wax, the king affixed his seal and authority to a written work.

For example, King Ahasuerus sealed his irrevocable edict allowing the Jews to defend themselves and destroy their enemies with his signet ring:

In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring. (Esther 3:12 NKJV)

…write to the Jews, as you see fit, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring…So the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their writing and in their language…And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar. (Esther 8:8-9, 10 NKJV)

The authority of the signet ring established the decrees as originating from the king. An impression made by an ordinary ring would lack the authority and weight of the king’s personal seal.

God Designates the Signet Ring as a Symbol of Honor

‘On that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:23 NKJV)

In the Old Testament, the signet ring became synonymous with prestige, honor and authority. God selected specific leaders such as Zerubbabel, a governor of Judah, and designated them as his signet rings.

This special designation showed God setting apart these leaders for an authorized position. Being called a signet ring indicated the Lord’s favor, calling and empowerment to carry out His plans. As signet rings, these leaders acted in God’s name and wielded His authority.

Jeremiah prophesied that Jehoiachin, king of Judah, would be like a signet ring on God’s right hand, even though he would be exiled from Jerusalem (Jeremiah 22:24-25). This symbolized the Lord’s continued favor toward the line of David despite current circumstances.

The high priest of Israel also wore sacred garments that included a gold plate on his turban engraved with “Holiness to the LORD.” This plate acted like a signet ring designating the high priest as set apart and authorized by God (Exodus 28:36-38).

The Principle of Stewarding Authority Faithfully

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? (Luke 16:10-11 NKJV)

A key lesson from the biblical use of signet rings is faithfulness and integrity in stewarding authority. The signet ring represented great trust given to the bearer along with responsibility to act in the issuer’s interests.

As overseer of the cupbearers, Nehemiah possessed authority from King Artaxerxes symbolized by his signet ring. Nehemiah bore a duty to represent the king well and use this power appropriately for the king’s interests, not selfishly (Nehemiah 2:9-10).

Jesus taught that God tests our faithfulness with small things before entrusting greater ones (Luke 16:10-12). If we steward low-level authority righteously, God knows He can enlarge our sphere of authority. But unrighteous stewardship disqualifies us.

As believers, we must remember that any authority comes from God Himself. He delegates a measure of His authority to us as in the case of the signet ring. We act as His agents and ambassadors here on earth. All authority should be stewarded humbly, faithfully and for His glory alone.

Believers Have Jesus’ Name and Authority

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues… (Mark 16:17 NKJV)

While we don’t possess literal signet rings like biblical leaders did, believers have access to the authority of Jesus’ name. Through faith in Christ, we have His authority and power working through us.

Jesus said those who believe in Him would have authority to do mighty works in His name (Mark 16:17-18). As His followers, we can invoke the authority of Jesus’ name against spiritual forces of darkness. By His authority, we can minister deliverance and healing to others.

God also gives spiritual gifts and anointing to believers to act as His representatives on the earth (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, Romans 12:6-8). Like the ancient signet ring, God entrusts His authority to believers empowering them for His work. No task He assigns will lack the corresponding authority to fulfill it.

However, we only carry this weighty authority through abiding in close relationship with Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, we forfeit spiritual authority along with access to His power (John 15:5). As we devote ourselves to the Lord, He will accomplish great things through us for His glory.


The signet ring carried rich symbolism in the Bible as an emblem of identity, prestige and delegated authority from the sovereign. As God’s people, we have the immense privilege of bearing Christ’s authority and walking in obedience to Him. When wielded faithfully and humbly, this spiritual authority allows us to powerfully advance God’s Kingdom here on earth. What an honor to act as Jesus’ agents of revelation, deliverance and healing in the world!

Key Takeaways:

  • The signet ring represented the identity, authority and ownership of the wearer.
  • Signet rings were used to authorize documents and decrees.
  • God designated the signet ring as a symbol of honor and authority.
  • Stewarding authority faithfully is a key principle illustrated by the signet ring.
  • Believers have the authority of Jesus’ name to carry out His work.

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