What are the “Crisping Pins” in Isa 3:22?


What are the ‘crisping pins’ in Isa. 3:22 Are they the same as hair curlers used by women today? And what about the other items mentioned? Is there anything here that pertains to us today?” What are the ‘crisping pins’ in Isa. 3:22 Are they the same as hair curlers used by women today? And what about the other items mentioned? Is there anything here that pertains to us today?”


The prophets of Israel and Judah had a dual mission. They were sent to warn the people of immediate judgments upon them. At the same time they were delivering a message which was for the far future, when God’s judgments would come upon all the world and all people everywhere would be forced to bow to God’s standards.

In Isaiah 3, the Prophet is opposing moral laxity. His message actually begins in chapter 2, where Isaiah attacks the pride of men (vs. 15-17), which was seen in their building great towers and tall ships, while forgetting God. The same pride showed itself in the luxury and ostentation which had become the standard of fashionable women in Jerusalem who, contemptuous of others and indifferent to the human cost of the privileges they enjoyed, were flaunting even the basic restraints of human decency. If the prophecies of pending judgment seemed almost brutal, the prophets were only echoing the message they had received from God. God hates pride and all human show and ostentation.

Why the prophets’ excoriating denunciation of the pride of women? Because they knew the extent of their influence. It is widely recognized that the moral quality of womanhood determines the character of society. The mothers of men set the ideals of the nation; by what they are they either inspire or corrupt their sons. By their tastes, their standards, their character, they determine whether the ideals of purity, integrity, unselfishness and faith will prevail or fall.

Even more than this, the prophets of God were concerned about the personal responsibility of a people highly favored by God. Even more than humankind in general, they were responsible.

Hence the condemnation in Isaiah 3.

In Isaiah 3, the Prophet does not speak in general terms but describes with realism both the sin and the fate of the sinner. The Prophet spoke both of the immediate judgments which would fall upon their nation, and also of the day when all the vanity and pride of men and women will be brought down, when “the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:17).

The details of description in Isaiah 3 identify various items of feminine finery, many of which are unknown to us today.

The “jingling of anklets” is connected with a manner of walking, “with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet,” all intended to attract attention. Some have suggested that the wearing of ornamental ankle chains necessitated walking with short, quick footsteps.

Some of the newer translations suggest what they may have been, much more than does the King James alone. For example:

KJV Other Translations
tinkling ornaments about their feet beauty of their anklets
the finery of their anklets
the luxury of the anklets
the ankle ornaments
Their cauls headbands
little suns
their sun-jewels
sun bursts
The crescents the little moons
moon charms
moon ornaments
The chains drops
locket and collar
The bracelets arm chains
necklace and bracelet
The mufflers veils
gauze veils
delicate clothing
spangled face veils and scarves
veils of shimmering gauze
The bonnets chaplets
head tiaras
head ornaments
gorgeous reed tiara
The tablets perfume boxes
scent cases
scent bottles
scent box
The earrings amulets
The glasses hand mirrors
garments of gauze
scarves of gauze
revealing clothes
The fine linen linen wraps
linen vest
kerchiefs of linen
The veils cloaks
outdoor veils
whole body enveloping veils

Besides all this are “rings,” “nose jewels,” and “changeable suits of apparel,” also “festival robes,” “costly apparel,” “court dresses,” “feast day dresses,” “party dresses.”

·The “crisping pins” are “satchels,” “purses,” “handbags,” “flounce skirts” (see ASV, YLT, BAS, NEB).

Notice that nearly every item mentioned is something that was worn to show off the human form, for pride, not needful clothing.

The judgment upon all of this is severe, in keeping with a just God who hates human pride and show and ostentation. Instead of sweetness there will be “stench,” instead of a girdle “a rent,” instead of “well set hair, “baldness,” “burning, instead of beauty …. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war” (Isa. 3:24-25).

The whole passage is describing the final outcome of human pride. God will have the last word. The haughtiness of men and women will be brought down, “and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”

We see no connection between “the crisping pins” and modern hair curlers, although modern hair curling is another method of satisfying the same human desire for pride which the prophet Isaiah was denouncing. Means and methods of expressing feminine pride have changed, but the underlying vice remains the same.

The lesson to us is that anything used for pride and adornment, to attract attention, to parade the human form, is abominable to the Lord. He wants His people to have their attention fixed on pleasing Him, on living uprightly; doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly before Him.