And the foundations of the wall of the city
Which were twelve; see ( Revelation 21:14 ) were garnished with all manner of precious stones: see ( Isaiah 54:11 Isaiah 54:12 ) not that there were all manner of precious stones in every foundation, but in them all there were, and each foundation had its stone peculiar to it, as follows; and which are not applicable to the persons of the apostles, who were not the foundations, but on them their names only were written: and besides, the order of them, as given in the Evangelists and Acts of the Apostles, is not certain, and always the same, to which these several stories may be adjusted; though they are doubtless comparable to them for their preciousness in the sight of God, and Christ, and all the saints; and for the brightness and purity of their doctrine and lives; and for their zeal in the cause of Christ; and for their solidity, and invincible courage and constancy: much less are these precious stones applicable to a set of ministers in the latter day, who are to be useful in the conversion of the Jews in the several parts of the world, where these stones are found, as Brightman thinks, but to Jesus Christ, the one and only foundation: and without entering into the particular virtues and excellencies of these stones, in general, they set forth the worth and preciousness of Christ, who is the pearl of great price; the pleasure and delight had in viewing his excellencies and perfections; his brightness, purity, and glory, and his firmness and durableness, as a foundation. There may be some allusion to the twelve stones in the breastplate of the high priest, on which the names of the tribes of Israel were written F9.
The first foundation was jasper;
it was laid with a jasper stone, of which see ( Revelation 4:3 ) . On this stone, in the breastplate, Benjamin's name was written.
The second, sapphire;
its colour is azure, or sky blue; it is transparent, and exceeding hard. Schroder says there are very good ones found in the borders of Bohemia and Silesia; but those which are brought from Pegu are most valuable: on this stone Issachar's name was engraven.
The third, a chalcedony;
it is of a misty grey colour, clouded with blue, yellow, or purple; the best is that which has a pale cast of blue; it is very much like the common agate; and the Hebrew word (dkdk) , "cadcod", is rendered agate in ( Isaiah 54:12 ) though it is thought to answer to the carbuncle in the breastplate, on which was written the name of Levi. And Pliny F11 speaks of carbuncles, called "charcedonies", which R. Leo Mutinensis says F12 had their name in memory of the city of Carthagena. There is a precious stone mentioned in the Targum of Jonathan, called (Nydwkdk) , "cadcodin", which answers to the diamond in the breastplate, on which Zabulon's name was written; and in the Jerusalem Targum it is called (andkdk) , "cadcedana", and answers to the emerald, which had Judah's name on it, and seems to be put for "chalcodin" and "chalcedana", which agrees with the name of this stone.
The fourth, an emerald;
of which see ( Revelation 4:3 ) . The best of this sort are the eastern ones. Schroder says F13 they are found in Cyprus, Britain, and other places, but not so good as the rest. On this stone Judah's name was written.
F9 Vid. Targum Jon. & Jerus. in Exod. xxviii. 17. Targum in Cant. v. 14. Shemot Rabba, sect. 38. fol. 138. 2. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 178. 3.
F11 Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 7.
F12 Shilte Hagibborim, fol. 45. 4.
F13 Pharmacopoeia, l. 3. c. 5. p. 18.