Understanding the Differences between the Star of David and the Seal of Solomon

In Medieval Jewish, Islamic and Christian legends, the Seal of Solomon was a magical signet ring said to have…the symbol now called the Star of David (hexagram), often within a circle, usually with the two triangles interlaced (hence chiral) rather than intersecting.

- Seal of Solomon, Opentopia, Encycl.opentopia.com

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When one looks closely enough at the picture above, the differences between the Star of David (on the Left) and the Seal of Solomon (on the Right) should become readily apparent. By tradition, the Star of David has only 2-Dimensional OVERLAPPING (or intersecting) triangles, while the Seal of Solomon always has 3-Dimensional INTERWOVEN (or interlaced) triangles. Because of this, the Seal of Solomon may also sometimes be called the Star of David, although this remains technically incorrect. On the other hand, the Seal of Solomon, by definition, MUST appear to have interwoven triangles, otherwise it is, by definition, just another Star of David.According to legend, King Solomon supposedly took the rather simple, two-dimensional Star of David he inherited from his Royal father and managed to improve upon it by having the two opposite triangles appear as if they were interwoven with one another. Thus, the Star of David then became the Seal of Solomon and the rest, as they say, is history. A rather interesting take on the very real differences between the Star of David and the Seal of Solomon reads as follows:
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Uniting the Water Triangle [facing downwards] with the Fire Triangle [facing upwards], the Hexagram is formed. It forms a six pointed star also known as the Seal of Solomon. This symbol is a [different type of] Star of David, the national symbol of Israel (God’s chosen nation). The difference between the Star of David and the seal [of Solomon] is the triangles which make up the seal [Solomon] interlock and the two triangles of the Star of David lie flat against each other.

- Hexagram, TheForbiddenKnowledge.com
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The traditional understanding that the Star of David and the Seal of Solomon have fundamental differences in both their origins and visual appearances, seems to have been nearly lost in modern times. What’s most frustrating is that more a few modern dictionaries have gotten the essential differences between these two distinct types of hexagrams completely wrong, thus misleading everybody. The biggest visual clue is the way that the Seal of Solomon’s triangular lines look like they are either above or beneath one another without ever truly intersecting. Apparently, this was never the case with the Star of David. To be specific, King David used the symbol as a short form of his written signature and as a battle insignia painted on the shields of his fellow Israelite soldiers. In both cases, the iconographic complexity seen in the Seal of Solomon was never really needed and therefore never developed. In contrast, the Seal of Solomon was thought to have been an actual Royal Seal used throughout King Solomon’s reign, a hand-held device which stamped an image upon either a puddle of wax, or clay, or even a form of paper made with animal skins. These Seals were usually custom-made by professional artists and were thus far more complex in appearance than any written signature or hand-drawn war emblem. In truth, one could say that both symbols were simply different versions of the Star of David. However, the Seal of Solomon has always been depicted with three-dimensional, interwoven (or interlaced) triangles. It is most unfortunate that literally no one these days really knows, or even cares, about what a Seal of Solomon actually is anyway. However, for the sake of precision, one should define the Star of David as being comprised of OVERLAPPING triangles, just as the Seal of Solomon (Solomon’s Seal)should always have the appearance of INTERLACED (or INTERWOVEN) triangles instead. The actual, and factually correct, dictionary definitions of these two emblems are listed below:
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(Star of David) n. – A symbol consisting of two OVERLAPPED equilateral triangles forming a star with six points, used as a symbol of Judaism. It is also called Magen David, Mogen David, and Shield of David, and is shaped identically to the hexagram and Solomon’s seal. It is used on the flag of the modern state of Israel.

- Collaborative International Dictionary of English, Dictionary.net

(Solomon’s Seal) n. - A mystic symbol consisting of two INTERLACED triangles forming a star with six points, often with one triangle dark and one light, symbolic of the union of soul and body. It is shaped identically to the hexagram and Star of David, distinguished only in its usage.

- Collaborative International Dictionary of English, Dictionary.net
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A Jewish Seal of Solomon with interwoven triangles carved upon a building stone recovered from a Jewish Synagogue which dates anywhere from 200 to 400 A.D.

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Among the various myths and legends concerning this age-old Biblical symbol, two of them stand out in particular. The first one concerns the reasons behind why the hexagram was ever called a star (or shield), while the second story explains the intricate three-dimensional pattern seen on the Seal of Solomon, but usually never with the Star of David. Now as to why the hexagram was ever called a Star, the main reason should be quite obvious to most observers. As nearly everybody would agree, the six-pointed shape itself bear a striking visual resemblance to the twinkling effect one experiences when looking directly at either a star, or the sun, through a somewhat hazy atmosphere.

Twinkle (Upward Triangle), Twinkle (Downward Triangle) little star, how I wonder what you are (Star of David). Up above the world so high (Upward Triangle), like a diamond in the sky (Downward Triangle)…

- An interpretation of the song ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’

There is also a Biblical reason why the hexagram has been called a star and it concerns a certain, obscure prophecy found in the Book of Numbers. Keeping in mind that this was written long before King David was ever born, the relevant verse talks about an unknown future leader of Israel who will rise to power and go on to defeat the traditional enemies of the Israelites- the Moabites for example. This future hero is metaphorically described as ‘a Star’ which ‘shall come forth from Jacob’, obviously meaning a yet-to-born descendant from the one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Because of the importance of the Davidic Kingdom, quite a few scholars claim this passage from Numbers should be seen as a direct reference to the later military success and subsequent rule of King David. Indeed, David official founding of the Kingdom of Israel in Jerusalem was the first event of extreme significance which had occurred in Israel since the time period recorded in the Book of Numbers. Yet the question remains as to why the hexagram, rather than David himself, is the ‘Star’ mentioned in Scriptures. The best, and probably only correct answer to this is that the original Star of David served as his personalized signature- comprised of two triangular Hebrew letters written on top of each other with one of them turned upside down. In short, the hexagram was simply a uniquely clever way David wrote the first and last initials to his own name. Therefore, the claim that the six-pointed hexagram used for David’s name was also a perfect symbolic representation of the Biblically prophesied ‘Star’ of ‘Jacob’ happens to be fairly logical, at least in a metaphorical sense. Also, because the Bible just so happens to be filled to the brim with metaphors, this legendary explanation may indeed be the real truth behind the origins of the six-pointed Star.
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STAR OF DAVID: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A STAR shall come forth from Jacob. A scepter shall rise from Israel and shall crush the corners of Moab, and destroy all the sons of Sheth.

- Numbers 24:17

SEAL OF SOLOMON: Place me like a SEAL upon your heart, like a SEAL on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

- Song of Solomon 8:6

A Christian Seal of Solomon with interwoven triangles etched in marble from a Byzantine Christian Church (400-630 A.D.) uncovered at Khirbet Sufa, located in the northern Negev Desert of modern Israel.

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Turning to the Judeo/Christian legends surrounding the Seal of Solomon and the reason behind the change in name from Father (Star of David) to Son (Seal of Solomon), one finds the same basic underlying storyline, regardless of whether or not the specific Star of David folklore comes from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. First, as previously mentioned, the more complex looking six-pointed star with interwoven triangles simply Solomon’s way of improving upon his father David’s original design for their family coat-of-arms. This three-dimensional hexagram was also a far more appropriate insignia for a King of Israel and his Royal family to have as their personal seal. Even so, there was also a deeper, more profound reason behind the interwoven appearance of the Seal of Solomon’s two interlaced triangles. Apparently, this specific design served as a visual talisman providing spiritual protection and control against the forces of evil. Not only was the Seal thought to ward against, or scare off, demons and other evil spirits, it also helped to trap, contain, and control them- thus rendering them harmless to mere mortals. To truly understand how and why this worked, notice how the Seal’s interlaced lines have an eerie, maze-like appearance to them, going back and forth, above and behind each other, in a ceaseless, never-ending pattern. This infinite sense of complexity was said to cause disorientation and utter confusion in any demon who dared to look directly at the symbol. More than two thousand years later, the Medieval Christians (as well as Jews) also put their trust in the Seal of Solomon, believing it provided ample protection from the forces of darkness. Three different online sources confirm the ‘magical’ history of this symbol:
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The hexagram, as the Seal of Solomon, is generally…believed to have protective powers and magical properties…[It] has a long history of providing protection from demons and evil spirits. In some magical practices, it is associated with exorcisms.

- Who Knew Two Triangles Could Do So Much?: The Hexagram, by Rebecca, themagicalbuffet.com

The Seal of Solomon dates back to the Bronze Ages and is a powerful symbol with many mystical and magickal qualities…the Seal of Solomon is believed to offer protection against both enemies and the evil eye, control spirits, and bring good luck in all aspects of life.

- Seal of Solomon, Amulet Power, Angelfire.com

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Turning to the Judeo/Christian legends surrounding the Seal of Solomon and the reason behind the change in name from Father (Star of David) to Son (Seal of Solomon), one finds the same basic underlying storyline, regardless of whether or not the specific Star of David folklore comes from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. First, as previously mentioned, the more complex looking six-pointed star with interwoven triangles simply Solomon’s way of improving upon his father David’s original design for their family coat-of-arms. This three-dimensional hexagram was also a far more appropriate insignia for a King of Israel and his Royal family to have as their personal seal. Even so, there was also a deeper, more profound reason behind the interwoven appearance of the Seal of Solomon’s two interlaced triangles. Apparently, this specific design served as a visual talisman providing spiritual protection and control against the forces of evil. Not only was the Seal thought to ward against, or scare off, demons and other evil spirits, it also helped to trap, contain, and control them- thus rendering them harmless to mere mortals. To truly understand how and why this worked, notice how the Seal’s interlaced lines have an eerie, maze-like appearance to them, going back and forth, above and behind each other, in a ceaseless, never-ending pattern. This infinite sense of complexity was said to cause disorientation and utter confusion in any demon who dared to look directly at the symbol. More than two thousand years later, the Medieval Christians (as well as Jews) also put their trust in the Seal of Solomon, believing it provided ample protection from the forces of darkness. Three different online sources confirm the ‘magical’ history of this symbol:
______________________________________________

The hexagram, as the Seal of Solomon, is generally…believed to have protective powers and magical properties…[It] has a long history of providing protection from demons and evil spirits. In some magical practices, it is associated with exorcisms.

- Who Knew Two Triangles Could Do So Much?: The Hexagram, by Rebecca, themagicalbuffet.com

The Seal of Solomon dates back to the Bronze Ages and is a powerful symbol with many mystical and magickal qualities…the Seal of Solomon is believed to offer protection against both enemies and the evil eye, control spirits, and bring good luck in all aspects of life.

- Seal of Solomon, Amulet Power, Angelfire.com

In the middle Ages it was common to find amulets and talismans which reproduced the Seal of Solomon…It was believed that these magic drawings protected the wearer from the influence of demons and evil spirits, or just bad luck. It was also common to record the seal on a frame or lintel of the entrance door to homes…with the same protective character against the spirits or to potential fires.

- The Hexagram, Star of David or Seal of Solomon, Looking4thetruth77.blogspot.com
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One might apt to conclude that both the form and function of the Seal of Solomon were in perfectly alignment, thus explaining the legendary spiritual powers this symbol was believed to possess. These days, Christians (and Jews) are free to choose to believe or disbelieve in its significance, yet even today, in the 21st century, the Seal’s actual power over the minds of men (and women) has yet to disappear completely. Indeed, look at the dozens and dozens, perhaps even hundreds, if not thousands, of modern, educated adults who still use this symbol to practice magic and/or witchcraft. Even if one doesn’t believe in any magic whatsoever, there still has to be a reason why so many fellow humans have such an on-going obsession with this one particular geometric shape. as if by its very appearance the supernatural will then become possible. A more balanced view concerning the power of the Star of David/Seal of Solomon can be found in the Catholic Church of today. Mentioning the Star of David by name, the official Catechism of the Catholic Church reads as follows:
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The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the STAR OF DAVID, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.

- Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

AT TOP LEFT: A close-up picture of Pope Benedict XVI’s Papal hat known as a mitre. The six-pointed hexagram located in the front of the head-piece appears to be a Seal of Solomon, rather than a Star of David.
AT TOP RIGHT: The yellow star of David on the left side has the German word Jude (Jew in English) written in the center. The blue Star of David (Magen David in Hebrew) on the right side is found upon the official, national flag of Israel.
AT BOTTOM LEFT: These two black hexagrams in a all-white background are basic representations of a Star of David, seen on the left side, and a Seal of Solomon, seen on the right.
AT BOTTOM RIGHT: A six-pointed hexagram carved upon one of the walls of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the official capital of the Roman Catholic Church.

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In conclusion, the specific place that the hexagram actually holds in terms of the Judeo/Christian ‘big picture’ shows a long and extensive history of Christian use dating back centuries to the Middle Ages. Hopefully, Christian respect and admiration for this particular emblem will extend itself into an open friendliness, rather than hostility, towards those who still practice and believe in Judaism, This seems to be the general attitude of today’s Catholic Church and the specific and deliberate reference to the Star of David in the most recent edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (just cited above) is even further proof that times have changed for the better.
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One response

  1. At this moment I am going away to do my breakfast, when having my
    breakfast coming again to read further news.

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