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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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No large ones like ours, for assembling congregations to worship, were anciently known. In Exodus 28:33-34, small golden bells are mentioned (72 according to the rabbis) as alternating with blue, purple, and scarlet pomegranates, on the hem of the high priest's ephod. The object was "his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not." The pomegranates with pleasant odor, and refreshing juice, and delicious kernel, symbolized the word of God, the spiritual food refreshing the soul (Psalms 19:8-11; Deuteronomy 8:3; Proverbs 25:11). The bells symbolize the sounding forth of the word (Romans 10:18). Through the robe, with this pendant attached, Aaron wits represented as the receiver and transmitter of the word from heaven.

No ordinary priest could enter Jehovah's immediate presence. The high priest alone was admitted, as wearing the robe of God's word and bearing the divine testimony, upon which the covenant fellowship was founded which ensured his not dying. The sounding bells also assured the people waiting outside that their interceding representative priest was not dead, though in God's immediate presence. So the sounding word assures Christ's waiting people here below that, though withdrawn from their eyes within the heavenly veil, "He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). The pamoney are strictly bells (Exodus 28:33), from paam , "to strike." But in Zechariah 14:20 metsillot , from tsalal "to strike," means flat pieces or plates of brass, like cymbals, attached as ornaments to the horses' necks.

By their tinkling they enliven the animal, and keep the party from wandering far from one another. Bells are represented attached to horses on the walls of Sennacherib's palace at Koyunjik. "Holiness unto the Lord," inscribed on even the horse bells, whereas formerly it was only on the plate of the high priest's miter (Exodus 28:36), marks that sanctity shall, in the coming day of the Lord, invest even the common occupations and things of life. In Isaiah 3:16; Isaiah 3:18; Isaiah 3:20, women are represented as wearing "tinkling ornaments" (probably with bells attached) about their feet, to attract admiration; ankle rings were worn on both feet joined by a chain, and the tinkling ornaments hanging therefrom.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Bells'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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