|SEAL, SEALING |
The allusions and references to seals and sealing are frequent in the sacred writings. Seals or signets were in use at a very early period, and they were evidently of various kind. Some were used as a substitute for signing one’s name, the owner’s name or chosen device being stamped by it with suitable ink on the document to be authenticated. Seals to be used for this purpose, with or without the sign manual, appear to have been worn by the parties to whom they respectively belonged. The seal of a private person was usually worn on his finger, or his wrist, or in a bracelet, being small in size, Jeremiah 32:10 Luke 15:22 James 2:2. See RINGS.
The seal of a governor was worn by him, or carried about his person in the most secure manner possible. The royal seal was either personal, to the king, or public, to the state; in other words, the seal of the king and the seal of the crown, 2 Samuel 1:10: the first the king retained; the latter he delivered to the proper officer of state. So far modern usages enable us to comprehend clearly the nature of this important instrument. The impress of the royal seal on any document gave it the sanction of government, 1 Kings 21:8; and a temporary transfer of the seal to another hand conveyed a plenary authority for the occasion, Esther 3:10,12 8:2. Instead of the impression of a seal, probably on account of the heat of the climate, Job 38:14. The seal was a token of possession and of careful preservation, Deuteronomy 32:34 Job 9:7 14:17. A portion of clay covering the lock or opening of a door, etc., guarded it from being opened clandestinely, Song of Solomon 4:12 Daniel 6:17 Matthew 27:66. Travellers in the East have met the same custom in modern times. The cord around a book, box, or roll of parchment was often secured with a sea, Isaiah 8:16 Revelation 5:1. The Holy Spirit seals Christians, impressing his image upon them as a token that they are his, Ephesians 1:13,14 4:30. See SO.