What does the Bible say about women wearing earrings?

Ezekiel 16:12, Earrings in your ears. Some woman in an effort to be scriptural in how they live and dress wonder if it is biblically permissible to wear earrings that required the ears to be pierced. Those in favor of wearing pierced earrings will often quote the reference of Ezek 16:12 which according to the KJV seems to indicate that the allegorical bride of YHVH had “earrings in” her ears. This is one place where the KJV got it wrong, for this is a mistranslation on the part of the KJV translators, since “in” should be “on” in accordance with the true meaning of the Hebrew preposition al or KG. I have checked the best Hebrew lexicons available and they all verify that “on” as the proper translation.

Does this mean that Scripture forbids the wearing of pierced ear earrings? In my opinion, no. Some will quote Lev 19:28 which prohibits the making of “cuttings in the flesh for the dead.” This was a pagan, satanic practice that some devil-worshippers practice to this day to conjure up demons and to increase their spiritual (demonic) power. Would it be a correct biblical interpretation (exegesis) to say that this command would also include ear-piercing for earrings? In my opinion, no, since the Torah commands in Exod 21:6 that if an indentured-type servant after his period of service is completed with this master chooses to continue to serve his master forever, as a sign of his servitude he is to have his ears pierced by an awl against a door post. Now we both know that if a ring were not placed in the hole, the hole would grow over and the proof of his servitude would be gone. So it may be assumed that probably an earring was placed in the ear to keep the hole open.

We know that in the Bible, earrings were used as symbols for pagan deities (Gen 35:4; and likely Exod 32:2-3). From ancient historical sources, we know that this was a prevalent practice in the ancient world, since earrings were worn in honor of various pagan deities and as amulets. A quick examination of this evidence is to be found a http://www.ccg.org/English/s/p197.html. Obviously, the wearing of earrings for pagan spiritual purposes is contrary to scriptural example. However, the fact remains that the allegorical bride of YHVH in Ezek 16 had an earring on her ear, and that a bond servant’s ears were pierce and the hole was possibly kept open via an earring. 

On the basis of this evidence it seems to me that Scripture does not clearly forbid the use of earrings (including pierced earrings) for decorative reasons. We know that Scripture defines sin as the “violation of the Torah” (1 John 3:4), and so if Torah doesn’t forbid something, then it is not sin. However, due to a weak or tender conscience due to past worldly practices, some may find it impossible to wear earrings. If this is the case, these people should not violate their conscience. Those who do not share their belief should not try to force them to change their minds and vice versa. 


3 thoughts on “What does the Bible say about women wearing earrings?

  1. Coming from a former SDA background, I’m glad to learn this perspective! Earrings, because of their artistry/design have been a passion of mine since I was an adolescent, (a doll less sense!) I have quite a collection altho’ as an old woman I don’t wear them much anymore and have donated some to a womens shelter (those that help these women dress nicely when applying for jobs) So thanks for this post 🙂

  2. Yes, Carol; I remember now too, that the SDA Church preaches that wearing any kind of jewelry is a sin; however, one member got into trouble though for telling young girls that they would miss out on eternal life for wearing jewelry. I really don’t know where they got this from?
    In Genesis 24:22 we find Abraham’s servant giving a nose ring to Rivkah which probably requires a piercing too.
    Perhaps it could even be regarded as legalism to make out that Scripture is saying something when it does not?
    Shalom, Sonja

    • Thanks Sonja-the SDA uses 1Pet 3:3 to instruct their women how to dress. I once heard an SDA women say that they teach its okay to wear a diamond studded bracelet as long as there’s a watch on it! Funny how we cherry pick verses to to “support” our false interpretations. Natan taught me not to do that!

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