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Stones, Precious

STONES, PRECIOUS

|| 1. Ancient and Modern Names

2. Change of Signification of Names

3. Three Important Lists of Stones

4. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by John

5. Interpretation of Hebrew Names

6. Greek and Latin Equivalents of Hebrew Names

7. Inconsistencies of Text or Translation

8. Vulgate and Septuagint

9. Hebrew Texts of Septuagint and English Versions of the Bible

10. Equivalence of Hebrew and Greek Names

11. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by Septuagint

12. List of Names with Biblical References

1. Ancient and Modern Names:

Great difficulty is met with in any attempt to translate the Greek and Hebrew names mentioned in the Bible into names that would be used for the same minerals in a particular country at the present day. It is only within the last century, through the development of the sciences of chemistry and crystallography, that it has become possible to define mineral species with any considerable approach to precision. In ancient times various minerals were regarded as belonging to a single kind, and indicated by a single name, that are now distributed into different kinds and mentioned under different names.

For example, 2,000 years ago the Greek term anthrax was used to signify various hard, transparent, red stones that are now known to differ much from one another in chemical composition, and are therefore assigned to different species and given different names; among them are oriental ruby (red corundum), balas ruby (red spinel), almandine and pyrope (red garnets); a stone designated anthrax by the ancient Greeks might thus belong to any one of a number of various kinds to the assemblage of which no name is now given, and the word anthrax has no simple equivalent in a modern language.

2. Change of Signification of Names:

Confusion is introduced in another way. The English names of most of the precious stones mentioned in the Bible are adaptations of Greek names through the Latin; for instance, the English word "topaz" is a modification of the Latin word topazius, itself merely a Latin form of the Greek word topazion. It would at first sight appear that the Greek word topazion must be translated into English by the word "topaz"; but, strangely, although the words are virtually identical, the stones indicated by the words are quite different. The topazion of the ancient Greeks was a green stone yielding to the action of a file and said to be brought from an island in the Red Sea, whereas the topaz of the present day is not a green stone, does not yield to the action of a file, and has not been brought from an island in the Red Sea. The topazion of the ancient Greeks is really the peridot, not the topaz, of modern mineralogy; topazion and topaz are different kinds of stone. For the interpretation of the Bible it is thus necessary to ascertain, if possible, the kind of stone to which a Greek or Hebrew name was applied at the time when the word was written.

3. Three Important Lists of Stones:

Most of the names of the precious stones mentioned in the Bible are contained in the Hebrew description of the breastplate of the high priest and the Greek description of the foundations of the New Jerusalem. The ornaments assigned to the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:13) included only stones that had been used in the breastplate; indeed, in the Septuagint, they are the same twelve, mentioned in precisely the same order.

The stones of the breastplate according to our Hebrew text (Exodus 28:17-21) were:

The foundations of the New Jerusalem are (Revelation 21:19,20):

1 iaspis

2 sappheiros

3 chalkedon

4 smaragdos

5 sardonux

6 sardion

7 chrusolithos

8 berullos

9 topazion

10 chrusoprasos

11 huakinthos

12 amethustos

Only 4 of the latter stones are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, also in the Book of Revelation, namely:

iaspis (4:3; 21:18), smaragdos (4:3), sardion (4:3) and huakinthos (9:17).

4. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by John:

For the interpretation of the Greek names used by John, much help is given by Pliny's great work on Natural History, published 77 AD, for it records what was known about precious stones at the very time when John himself was living. The Greek names of stones and their Latin verbal equivalents had presumably the same signification for both these writers; it is thus possible, in some cases at least, to ascertain what name is now assigned to a stone mentioned in the New Testament if the name and description are recorded in the treatise of Pliny; the results are given in the alphabetical list below. All twelve stones, except chalkedon, are mentioned by Pliny; the few important stones described by him, but not mentioned by John as foundations, are crystallum and adamas, both of them colorless; onyx, remarkable rather for structure than color; electrum (amber), a soft material; carbunculus, fiery red; callaina, pale green, probably turquoise; cyanus, dark blue; and opalus (opal); ranked in Pliny's time immediately after smaragdus in value. Achates (agate) is omitted, but was no longer precious.

5. Interpretation of Hebrew Names:

In the interpretation of the Hebrew names of the stones of the breastplate there is much greater difficulty, for no Hebrew literature other than the Old Testament has been preserved, and little help is afforded by the contexts of other verses in which some of the Hebrew names of precious stones occur. If we could assume that the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions of the description of the breastplate were made from Hebrew texts absolutely identical in respect of the names of the stones with those used for the preparation of the English Versions of the Bible, and that the versions were correctly made, the Greek equivalents of the Hebrew terms for the time of the Septuagint translators (about 280 BC) and their Latin equivalents for the time of Jerome (about 400 AD) would be directly determinable by collation of the Hebrew original with the Greek and Latin translations.

It must be remembered, however, that a Hebrew writer, in describing the arrangement of a row of stones, began with that on his right and mentioned them in the order right to left, while a western writer begins with the stone on his left and mentions them in the reverse order. Hence, in translating a Hebrew statement of arrangement into a western language, one may either translate literally word by word, thus adopting the Hebrew direction of reading, or, more completely, may adopt the western direction for the order in the row. As either method may have been adopted by the Septuagint translators, it follows that 'odhem and bareqeth, the first and last stones of the 1st row according to our Hebrew text, may respectively be equivalent either to sardion and smaragdos, or, conversely, to smaragdos and sardion; and similarly for the other rows. The number of the middle stone of any row is the same whichever direction of reading is adopted. 'Odhem being red, and sardion and smaragdos respectively red and green (see below), 'odhem must be equivalent to the former, not the latter, and the Septuagint translators must have adopted the Hebrew direction of reading the rows.

6. Greek and Latin Equivalents of Hebrew Names:

Other sets of possible equivalents are derivable by collation of the Biblical description with each of the two descriptions given by Josephus (Ant., III, vii, 5; BJ, V, v, 7). The possible Greek and Latin equivalents of Hebrew names are thus as follows:

It may be remarked, as regards the 1st stone of the 1st row, that in the time of Josephus the stone sardonux could be signified also by the more general term sardion; and, as regards the 1st stone of the 2nd row, that anthrax and carbo being respectively Greek and Latin for "glowing coal," anthrax and carbunculus, diminutive of carbo, were used as synonyms for certain red stones.

7. Inconsistencies of Text or Translations

From the inconsistencies of the above table of possible equivalents it may be inferred that either

(1) essentially different translations were given in several cases for the same Hebrew word, or

(2) the Hebrew texts used in the preparation of the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions were, in respect of the precious stones, different from each other and from that used in the preparation of English Versions of the Bible, or

(3) the breastplate differed at different epochs, or

(4) one or other, or both, of the descriptions by Josephus are incorrect. Conceivably differences may have arisen in all the above-mentioned ways.

(1) Inconsistency of Septuagint Translators

That the Septuagint translators were uncertain as to the correct translation of the Hebrew names used for the precious stones into the Greek names used in their time, and that they translated the Hebrew name of a stone in more than one way may be shown as follows. In the Hebrew text corresponding to English Versions of the Bible the word shoham, designating the 2nd stone of the 4th row of the breastplate, occurs also in several verses where there is no mention of other stones, and where there is thus no risk of accidental interchange, such as may easily occur when technical terms, more especially if unintelligible to the transcriber, are near to one another in the text. Now, for our versions shoham has been systematically translated "onyx," and for the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) the Hebrew word having the same position in the text has been systematically translated by a Latin synonym of onyx, namely, lapis onychinus (except in Job 28:16, where lapis sardonychus is the rendering). Hence, it is probable that the word in these particular verses was shoham in the Hebrew original of the Vulgate, and therefore also of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint. Yet in the Septuagint the Hebrew word is translated soom (1 Chronicles 29:2, indicating that the translator, not knowing the Greek word for shoham, gave merely its Greek transliteration) as well as smaragdos (Exodus 28:9; 35:27; 39:6 or Septuagint Exodus 36:13), prasinos (Genesis 2:12), sardion (Exodus 25:7; 35:9 or Septuagint Exodus 35:8), onux (Job 28:16).

These differences suggest that there were different Septuagint translators, even for different chapters of the same book, and that little care was taken by them to be consistent with one another in the translation of technical terms.

(2) Differences of Hebrew Texts

That the Hebrew texts used for the Septuagint, Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible were not identical in all the verses in which there is mention of precious stones is especially clear from an analysis of the respective descriptions of the ornaments of the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:13). In the Septuagint 12 stones are mentioned; as already stated, they have precisely the same names and are mentioned in precisely the same order as the stones of the breastplate described in that version, the only difference being that gold and silver are inserted in the middle of the list. On the other hand, in Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible descriptions of the ornaments, only 9 of the 12 stones of the breastplate are mentioned; they are not in the same order as the corresponding stones in the breastplate as described in those VSS, silver is not mentioned at all, while gold is placed, not in the middle, but at the end of the list. Further, the order of mention of the stones in English Versions of the Bible differs from that of mention in Vulgate.

(3) Changes in the Breastplate

That the breastplate in use in the time of the Septuagint translators (about 280 BC) may have been different from the one described in the Book of Exodus is manifest if we have regard to the history of the Jewish nation; for Jerusalem was captured by Shishak, king of Egypt, about 973 BC, by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, about 586 BC, and by Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt, about 320 BC. The original breastplate may have been part of the spoil on one or other of these occasions, and have then disappeared forever.

Again, between the times of the Septuagint translators and Josephus, Jerusalem was more than once in the hands of its enemies; in 198 BC the city was captured by Antiochus the Great; in 170 BC it was stormed, and its temple plundered, by Antiochus Epiphanes; in 54 BC the temple was desecrated by Crassus. The breastplate familiar to Josephus (for he was long a priest in the temple of Jerusalem) may thus not have been identical with that in use when the Septuagint version was made.

And if the signification of the Hebrew names of the stones had not been carefully passed down from one generation to another while the breastplate was no longer in existence (for instance, during the Babylonian captivity), or if stones like those of the original breastplate were not available when a new breastplate was being made, there would inevitably be differences in the breastplate at different times.

The probability of this hypothesis of one or more replacements of the breastplate is still further increased if we have regard to the large stones that were set in gold buttons and fastened to the shoulderpieces of the ephod, the vestment to which the breastplate itself was attached (Exodus 28:9; 39:6 or Septuagint Exodus 36:13). According to the Septuagint, the material was smaragdos (and therefore green); according to Josephus it was sardonux (and therefore red with a layer of white). Though the Septuagint translators may never have had opportunities of looking closely at the stones, they might be expected to know the color of the material; Josephus must have seen them often. But the complete difference of colors of smaragdos and sardonux suggests that the difference of the names is due, not to a Septuagint mistranslation of the Hebrew name shoham, but to an actual difference of the material; it may have been smaragdos (and green) at the time when the Septuagint translation was made, and yet sardonux (and red with a layer of white) in the time of Josephus.

(4) Descriptions Given by Josephus

That in respect of the breastplate it is unsafe to collate the Hebrew texts of the various versions with that of Josephus may be demonstrated as follows. The 2nd stone of the 2nd row, termed cappir in our Hebrew text, is termed sappheiros in the Septuagint and sapphirus in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Wherever else cappir occurs in our Hebrew text, sappheiros occurs in the corresponding place in the Septuagint and sapphirus in the Vulgate; it may thus be inferred that in respect of the word cappir our Hebrew text and the Hebrew texts used for the Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions were in complete accord with one another. Also, it is certain that the Latin word sapphirus was derived from the Greek word sappheiros, and that either the latter had its origin in the Hebrew word cappir or that both words had the same source. There is no reason to think that from the time of the Septuagint translators to that of Jerome the word sappheiros was ever used to signify any other than one kind of stone or that the kind was ever called iaspis. But in both the descriptions given by Josephus the middle stone of the 2nd row is given as iaspis, not as sappheiros, which he makes the last stone of the row. Hence, for the middle stone of the 2nd row, the Hebrew texts were concordant in giving the name cappir, but they fundamentally differed from that of Josephus whose two descriptions agree in giving the name iaspis; it is not a difference of mere nomenclature or translation, but of the kind of stone set in a definite part of the breastplate. This being the case, collation of the Hebrew, Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) descriptions of the breastplate with those given by Josephus cannot be relied on to give a true Greek or a true Latin equivalent for the Hebrew name of any of the stones.

It may be added that the two descriptions given by Josephus differ from each other only as regards the order of the stones in the last two rows; in the 3rd row, the order is precisely reversed; in the 4th row the order is chrusolithos, onuchion, berullion for Ant, and onuchion, berullion, chrusolithos for BJ. Josephus, Antiquities was written at greater leisure than BJ, and was not completed till 18 years later; Josephus had thus more time for the consultation of old manuscripts. Speaking generally, it is more accurate than his earlier treatise as regards the history of those times of which he had no direct knowledge; its description of the breastplate is more precise as regards the arrangement of the stones, and is therefore the one to which the greater weight must be given. It differs from the Septuagint only through the interchange of the 2nd and 3rd stones in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rows; and possibly Josephus gave the order from his memory either of the Septuagint or of the actual breastplate.

The only difference between the descriptions given in the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) is that the last two stones, namely berullion (beryllus) and onuchion (onychinus), are interchanged.

8. Vulgate and Septuagint:

As already pointed out, the Hebrew texts of the Septuagint and English Versions of the Bible must have differed completely as regards the descriptions of the ornaments of the king of Tyre; it is thus not at all certain that they were in complete accord as regards the descriptions of the breastplate. In fact, it is generally accepted that the Hebrew word yashepheh and the Greek word iaspis are virtually identical, and that they were used to signify the same kind of stone.

9. Hebrew Texts of Septuagint and English Versions of the Bible:

Hence, it follows that the Hebrew text of English Versions of the Bible is not identical with the Hebrew texts of the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions in respect of the stones in the 2nd and 4th rows; if our Hebrew text is correct as regards yashepheh, that stone was the last stone in the last row; if the Hebrew texts of the Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions were correct, yashepheh, which had for its Greek equivalent iaspis, must have been the last stone in the 2nd row; further, onuchion (Septuagint) and beryllus (Vulgate) must be equivalent, not to yashepheh, but to some other stones of the breastplate.

10. Equivalence of Hebrew and Greek Names:

Taking these matters into consideration, the following have considerable claims to be regarded as equivalents:

The remaining three stones, tarshish, shoham and yahalom, are thus equivalent to chrusolithos, onuchion and berullion, but it is uncertain which Greek name corresponds to any of those Hebrew names.

11. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by Sepuagint:

For the interpretation of the Greek names of stones mentioned in the Septuagint (and thus of the Hebrew names in the original text), the work of Theophrastus, a contemporary of the Septuagint translators, is very useful. That author mentions, besides krustallos and margarites which occur elsewhere than in the description of the breastplate, nine of the Septuagint names of the breastplate stones, namely:

achates, amethustos (as amethuson), anthrax, iaspis, ligurion (as lugkurion), onuchion, sappheiros, sardion, smaragdos. The three stones mentioned in the Septuagint but not by Theophrastus are berullion, chrusolithos, and topazion. Since he mentions only four stones that are not referred to in the Septuagint, namely chrusokolla, hualoeides, kuanos and omphax, it follows that the Septuagint translators at Alexandria introduced every important name that was then in use at Athens for a precious stone.

In the following alphabetical list references are given to all the verses in which each name of a precious stone occurs, and for each use of a translated name the corresponding word in the original text.

12. List of Names with Biblical References:

Achates (achates):

probably Septuagint translation of shebho (Exodus 28:19; 39:12). It is not mentioned in Apocrypha or the New Testament.

Adamant (see also special article):

in Ezekiel 3:9; Zechariah 7:12, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew shamir.

Agate:

in Exodus 28:19; 39:12, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew shebho; in Isaiah 54:12; Ezekiel 27:16, the King James Version translation of Hebrew kadhkodh.

'Achlamah:

in Exodus 28:19; 39:12 3rd stone, 3rd row, of the breastplate. Septuagint translates amethustos; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates amethystus; English Versions of the Bible "amethyst."

The Septuagint rendering amethustos is generally accepted as correct, but the late Professor N. S. Maskelyne, F.R.S., formerly (1857-80) Keeper of Minerals in the British Museum, gave reasons for regarding the 'achlamah of breastplate times as possibly an onyx in which white bands alternated with waxy-yellow to reddish-yellow bands.

Amber:

in Ezekiel 1:4,27; 8:2, the King James Version, the English Revised Version and the American Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew chashmal; in Exodus 28:19, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew leshem.

Amethustos (amethustos):

in Revelation 21:20: the 12th foundation of the New Jerusalem; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates amethystus; English Versions of the Bible "amethyst." Four varieties of amethystus were recognized by Pliny as precious; all of them were transparent, and of purple tint or of tints derived from purple. According to the Septuagint, amethustos was the 3rd stone, 3rd row, of the breastplate, and the stone occupying this position is given in our Hebrew text as 'achlamah. Amethustos is mentioned under the name amethuson by Theophrastus; he describes it as a transparent stone resembling wine in color and as used by the gem engravers of his day. Amethystus and amethuson were doubtless identical with the amethyst of the present day, a purple variety of quartz (silica). Beads and other ornaments of amethyst found in old Egyptian tombs show that the stone was regarded as precious in very ancient times.

Amethyst:

in Exodus 28:19; 39:12, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew 'achlamah; in Revelation 21:20, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek amethustos.

Anthrax (anthrax):

in Tobit 13:17; Ecclesiasticus 32:5, English Versions of the Bible translates "carbuncle." According to the Septuagint, anthrax was also a stone of the breastplate, 1st stone, 2nd row, but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint in respect of this word. The anthrax of Theophrastus included different kinds of hard, red stone used by the gem engravers. It is the carbunculus of Pliny's time, and probably included the oriental ruby (corundum, alumina), the balas ruby (spinel, aluminate of magnesium), the almandine (a kind of garnet, alumino-silicate of iron) and pyrope (another kind of garnet, alumino-silicate of magnesium) of the present day.

Bareqeth:

in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13:rd stone, 1st row, of breastplate. Septuagint probably translates smaragdos, but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint in respect of this word: English Versions of the Bible translates "carbuncle"; the Revised Version margin translates "emerald." The rendering smaragdos may be correct, but no emeralds of very early age have been found in Egypt. From the similarity of the words bareqeth and baraq ("lightning"), it has been suggested that possibly the breastplate stone was not green but of bluish-red color, in which case it may have been an almandine (garnet). English Versions of the Bible has interchanged the names given by Septuagint, to the 3rd stone of the 1st row (smaragdos, "emerald") and the 1st stone of the 2nd row (anthrax, "carbuncle").

Bdellium (see also special article):

in Genesis 2:12; Numbers 11:7, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew bedholach.

Bedholach:

The Septuagint translates anthrax in Genesis 2:12, and krustallos in Numbers 11:7; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible translate bdellium. Some commentators, rejecting both the Septuagint translations, interpret the material to be pearl, others to be the gum of an Arabian tree.

Berullos (berullos):

in Tobit 13:17; Revelation 21:20: the 8th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates beryllus; English Versions of the Bible translates "beryl." According to Septuagint, berullion was a stone of the breastplate, the 2nd stone, 4th row; owing to uncertainty as to their Hebrew text, there is doubt as to the Hebrew word translated berullion. Berullos is not mentioned by Theophrastus, who may have regarded it as included in the smaragdos of his day.

In the time of Pliny 8 varieties were recognized; he says that beryllus was already thought by some to be "of the same nature as the smaragdus, or at least closely analogous. India produces them, and they are rarely to be found elsewhere. The lapidaries cut all beryls of a hexagonal form because the color which is deadened by a dull uniformity of surface is heightened by the reflections resulting from the angles. If they are cut in any other way, these stones have no brilliancy whatever. The most esteemed beryls are those which in color resemble the pure green of the sea. Some are of opinion that beryls are naturally angular."

This description suggests the identity of the seagreen beryllus of Pliny's time with the sea-green beryl (alumino-silicate of beryllium) of the present day.

Beryl:

in Exodus 28:20; 39:13; Song of Solomon 5:14; Ezekiel 1:16; 10:9; 28:13; Daniel 10:6, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew tarshish; in Genesis 2:12; Exodus 25:7 margin; 28:9,20; 35:27 margin; 1 Chronicles 29:2 margin; Job 28:16 margin, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew shoham; in Tobit 13:17; Revelation 21:20, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek berullos.

Carbuncle:

in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew bareqeth; in Exodus 28:18 margin; 39:11; Ezekiel 27:16; 28:13, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew nophekh; in Isaiah 54:12, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew 'eqdach; Tobit 13:17; Ecclesiasticus 32:5, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek anthrax.

Chalcedony:

in Exodus 28:20, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew tarshish; in Revelation 21:19, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek chalkedon.

Chalkedon (chalkedon):

in Revelation 21:19: the 3rd foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates calcedonius; English Versions of the Bible translates "chalcedony." Though the name Chalcedon (Latin form) occurs in Pliny, it is not as the name of a stone but as that of a free town then standing on the southern side of the Bosphorus, probably close to the site on which Scutari now stands. Chalcedon had once been noted for its copper mines; but the latter, when Pliny wrote, had been so far exhausted that they were no longer worked.

Pliny refers to a kind of smaragdus (a green stone) as having been found near Chalcedon, but adds that the stones were of very small size and value. They were "brittle, and of a color far from distinctly pronounced; they resembled in their tints the feathers that are seen in the tail of the peacock or on the neck of the pigeon. More or less brilliant, too, according to the angle at which they were viewed, they presented an appearance like that of veins and scales." In another place he refers to a stone from Chalcedon or Calchedon (another reading) as being an iaspis of turbid hue. It is possible that at Patmos or Ephesus, at one of which John was living when he wrote the Book of Revelation, the word chalkedon was used to specify the particular kind of smaragdus or iaspis that had been found near the town of that name. It is uncertain what name would be given to such a stone in the present day, but the signification now attached to the name "chalcedony" (cryptocrystalline silica) cannot be traced farther back than the 15th century.

Chrusolithos (chrusolithos):

in Revelation 21:20: the 7th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates chrysolithus; the King James Version translates "chrysolyte"; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "chrysolite." According to Septuagint chrusolithos was one of the stones of the breastplate (lst stone, 4th row), but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint in respect of this word; the name is not mentioned by Theophrastus. The chrysolithus of Pliny was a "transparent stone with a refulgence like that of gold." Those were most valued which "when placed by the side of gold, impart to it a sort of whitish hue, and so give it the appearance of silver."

It may perhaps have included the yellow sapphire (alumina), the yellow quartz (citrine, silica) and the yellow jargoon (zircon; silicate of zirconium) of the present day. The term "chrysolite" is now applied to a different mineral, namely, to a yellow variety of olivine (silicate of magnesium and iron), a species that includes the green precious stone peridot as another of its varieties.

Chrusoprasos (chrusoprasos):

in Revelation 21:20: the 10th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and the King James Version translate chrysoprasus; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "chrysoprase." The chrysoprasus was regarded by some naturalists of the time of Pliny as a variety of beryllus. The 1st variety of beryllus and the most esteemed was, as stated above, of a pure sea-green color; the 2nd was paler, and approached a golden tint; the 3rd, allied to the 2nd in brilliancy but more pallid, was the chrysoprasus. The latter was thought by other naturalists to belong to an independent genus of stone. In another place Pliny describes the color as like that of the leek, but as varying in tint between the topazion of his day (our peridot) and gold. The stone may have been a yellowish-green plasma (chalcedony, crypto-crystalline silica) or, as suggested by King, pale chrysoberyl (aluminate of beryllium); it is not the chrysoprase of the present day, which is an apple-green chalcedony (colored by nickel).

Chrysolite, chrysolyte:

"chrysolite" in Ezekiel 28:13, the King James Version margin translation of Hebrew tarshish; Revelation 21:20, the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek chrusolithos; "chrysolyte" in Revelation 21:20, the King James Version translation of Greek chrusolithos.

Chrysoprase, chrysoprasus:

"chrysoprase" in Ezekiel 27:16, the King James Version margin translation of Hebrew kadhkodh; Revelation 21:20, the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek chrusoprasos; "chrysoprasus" in Revelation 21:20, the King James Version translation of Greek chrusoprasos.

Coral, red coral (see special article):

"coral" in Job 28:18; Ezekiel 27:16, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew ra'moth; Lamentations 4:7, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew peninim; "red coral" in Job 28:18, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew peninim.

Crystal (see special article):

in Job 28:17, the King James Version translation of Hebrew zekhukhith; Ezekiel 1:22, the King James Version translation of Hebrew qerach; in Job 28:18, the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Hebrew gabhish; in Revelation 4:6; 22:1, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek krustallos; in Revelation 21:11, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek krustallizo ("to shine like crystal").

Diamond:

in Jeremiah 17:1, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew shamir; in Exodus 28:18; 39:11; Ezekiel 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew yahalom.

'Eqdach:

in Isaiah 54:12: Septuagint translates krustallos; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) periphrases as lapides sculpti ("engraved stones"); English Versions of the Bible translates "carbuncles." From the similarity to qadhach, "to burn," it is interpreted as meaning fiery or sparkling, whence comes the rendering "carbuncles."

Electrum (see special article):

Ezekiel 1:4, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew chashmal, "amber."

Emerald:

in Exodus 28:18; 39:11; Ezekiel 27:16; 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew nophekh; in Exodus 28:17; 39:10, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew bareqeth; in Tobit 13:16; Judith 10:21; Ecclesiasticus 32:6; Revelation 21:19, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek smaragdos; in Revelation 21:19, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek adjective smaragdinos.

Gabhish:

in Job 28:18: The Septuagint transliterates gabis; the King James Version translates "pearls"; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "crystal." From the similarity to gabhash, "ice," the rendering "crystal" is suggested.

Chashmal:

in Ezekiel 1:4,27; 8:2: The Septuagint translates elektron; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and the Revised Version margin translate electrum; the King James Version, the English Revised Version and the American Revised Version margin translate "amber"; the American Standard Revised Version translates "glowing metal." The elektron of the time of the Septuagint and Theophrastus was the amber, of the present day; in the time of Pliny amber was an object of luxury ranked next to crystal, and the term electrum was then applied, not only to amber, but also to a metallic alloy of gold and silver.

Huakinthos, (huakinthos):

in Revelation 9:17; 21:20: the 11th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates hyacinthus; the King James Version translates "jacinth"; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "jacinth" (Revelation 21:20) and "hyacinth" (Revelation 9:17); the Revised Version margin translates "sapphire" (Revelation 21:20). Pliny describes the hyacinthus as being very different from amethystus, "though partaking of a color that closely' borders upon it" and as being of a more diluted violet, It may have been the pale blue sapphire (alumina) of the present day; the modern hyacinth, or jacinth, is a quite different stone, a brownish to reddish zircon (silicate of zirconium).

Hyacinth, jacinth (see also special article on HYACINTH):

"hyacinth" in Revelation 9:17, the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek huakinthos; "jacinth" in Exodus 28:19; 39:12, the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Hebrew leshem; in Revelation 9:17; 21:20, the King James Version translation of Greek huakinthos.

Iaspis (iaspis):

in Revelation 4:3; 21:11,18 f: the 1st foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates jaspis; English Versions of the Bible translates "jasper." According to Septuagint iaspis was the 3rd stone, 2nd row, of the breastplate, but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint in respect of this word; Septuagint translates also kadhkodh as iaspis (Isaiah 54:12). Pliny describes iaspis as being generally green and often transparent; he recognizes as many as 14 varieties.

He adds that "many countries produce this stone:

that of India is like smaragdus in color; that of Cyprus is hard and of a full sea-green; and that of Persia is skyblue. Similar to the last is the Caspian iaspis. On the banks of the river Thermodon the iaspis is of an azure color; in Phrygia it is purple; and in Cappadocia of an azure-purple, somber and not refulgent. The best kind is that which has a shade of purple, the next best being the rose-colored, and the next the stone with the green color of the smaragdus," etc.

The term "jasper" is now restricted to opaque stones; the green transparent kind of iaspis may have been identical with the green chalcedony (crypto-crystalline silica) called plasma at the present day.

Jasper:

in Exodus 28:20; 39:13; Ezekiel 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew yashepheh; in Revelation 4:3; 21:11,18,19, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek iaspis.

Kadhkodh:

in Isaiah 54:12; Ezekiel 27:16: The Septuagint translates iaspis (Isaiah 54:12) and transliterates chorchor (Ezekiel 27:16); Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates jaspis (Isaiah 54:12) and transliterates chodchod (Ezekiel 27:16); the King James Version translates "agate"; the King James Version margin translates "chrysoprase" (Ezekiel 27:16); the Revised Version (British and American) translates "ruby." There is little to indicate the probable meaning of the word.

Qerach:

in Ezekiel 1:22: Septuagint translates krustallos; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates crystallum; English Versions of the Bible translates "crystal"; the Revised Version margin translates "ice." The translations are suggested by the similarity to the Hebrew qerach, "ice."

Krustallos (krustallos):

in Revelation 4:6; 22:1: Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates crystallum; English Versions of the Bible translates "crystal." The crystallum of Pliny was the rock-crystal (clear quartz) of the present day. Among the localities cited for crystallum by Pliny are "the crags of the Alps, so difficult of access that it is usually found necessary to be suspended by ropes in order to extract it."

Lapis lazuli:

in Revelation 21:19, the Revised Version margin translation of Greek sappheiros.

Leshem:

in Exodus 28:19; 39:12 1st stone, 3rd row, of the breastplate. Septuagint probably translates ligurion, but there is uncertainty as to their Hebrew text; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) probably translates ligurius; the King James Version translates "ligure"; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "jacinth"; the Revised Version margin translates "amber."

The ligurion of the Septuagint is probably identical with the lugkurion of Theophrastus; this was a yellow to yellowishred stone used by seal engravers, and was transparent and difficult to polish. The yellow ligurion may be the yellow jargoon of the present day (zircon, silicate of zirconium), a stone much used by the ancient Greek and Roman engravers; but as the jargoon has not been found among ancient Egyptian work, it has been suggested that the ligurion of the breastplate may have been a yellow quartz (citrine) or agate. The yellowish-red ligurion may have been one of the stones to which the name "jacinth" (also a zircon) is now applied. Professor Maskelyne, rejecting the Septuagint translated, suggests that the leshem was identical with the neshem of the Egyptians, namely the green feldspar now called amazon stone; as an alternative rendering to this he suggests yellow jasper. The translation "amber" (Revised Version, margin) is not likely to be correct, for that material would have been too soft for use as a stone of the breastplate; its properties do not accord with those assigned by Theophrastus to the lugkurion.

Ligure:

in Exodus 38:19; 39:12, the King James Version translation of Hebrew leshem.

Ligurion (ligurion):

in Septuagint Exodus 28:19; 39:12, Septuagint translation of Hebrew leshem: 1st stone, 3rd row, of breastplate.

Margarites (margarites):

in Matthew 7:6; 13:45,46; 1 Timothy 2:9; Revelation 18:12,16; 21:21: Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates margarita; English Versions of the Bible translates "pearl." The margarites is mentioned by Theophrastus as being one of the precious stones, but not pellucid, as produced in a kind of oyster and in the pinna, and as brought from the Indies and the shores of certain islands in the Red Sea. Hence, it was identical with the pearl of the present day.

Nophekh, in Exodus 28:18; 39:11; Ezekiel 27:16; 28:13 1st stone, 2nd row, of the breastplate. There is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text used by the Septuagint, but probably nophekh is translated anthrax (except in Ezekiel 27:16, where the text differs); Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) probably translates carbunculus; English Versions of the Bible translates "emerald"' the Revised Version margin translates "carbuncle." English Versions of the Bible interchanges the names given by the Septuagint to the 3rd stone, 1st row (smaragdos, "emerald") and the 1st stone, 2nd row (anthrax, "carbuncle"). Professor Maskelyne suggests that the nophekh of the breastplate may have been the mophak or mafka of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, the turquoise of the present day.

'Odhem, in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13:st stone, 1st row, of the breastplate. Septuagint probably translates sardion, Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) probably translates sardius; English Versions of the Bible translates "sardius"; EVm translates "ruby." The Hebrew word is related to ['adham], "to be red," and signifies a reddish stone; it may have been sard (a name given not only to red, but also to pale reddish-yellow or brown, translucent chalcedony), but was more probably carnelian, a red stone closely allied to sard, and much used by the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians.

Onuchion, (onuchion, onux):

"onux," Septuagint translation of Hebrew shoham (Job 28:16); onuchion, perhaps Septuagint translation of shoham in the descriptions of the ornaments of the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:13) and the stones of the breastplate (being there made 3rd stone, 4th row, in Exodus 28:20; 39:13), but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates onyx, lapis onychinus, lapis sardonychus. The onuchion of Theophrastus was a hard, translucent stone used by the seal engravers; it consisted of white and dusky layers in alternation. The onyx of Roman times was an opaque stone of white and black layers, like the onyx of the present day.

Onyx:

in Genesis 2:12; Exodus 25:7; 28:9,20; 35:9,27; 39:6,13; 1 Chronicles 29:2; Job 18:16; Ezekiel 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew shoham.

Pearl:

in Job 28:18, the King James Version translation of Hebrew gabhish; in Job 28:18, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew peninim; in Matthew 7:6; 13:45; 1 Timothy 2:9; Revelation 18:12,16; 21:20,21, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek margarites.

Peninim, in Job 28:18; Proverbs 3:15; 8:11; 20:15; 31:10; Lamentations 4:7:

Septuagint (from which Proverbs 20:15 is missing) periphrases the word or had a different Hebrew text; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates ebur antiquum ("old ivory") in Lamentations 4:7, but elsewhere periphrases the word or had a different Hebrew text; English Versions of the Bible translates "rubies"; the Revised Version margin translates "red coral," or "pearls," except for Lamentations 4:7, where the translation is "corals." The word is similar to an Arabic word meaning "branches" and may signify red coral, which has been highly esteemed since very ancient times; a description of korallion is given by Theophrastus. Pliny says that in his day the reddest and most branched was most valued.

PiTedhah, in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; Job 28:19; Ezekiel 28:13:nd stone, 1st row, of the breastplate. Septuagint translates topazion in Job 28:19 and probably also in the other verses; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates topazius; English Versions of the Bible translates "topaz." The topazion of ancient times appears to have been scarcely known before the Ptolemaic period, and Professor Maskelyne suggested that the Hebrew word may possibly be allied to bijada, which in Persian and Arabic signifies "garnet."

Ramoth:

in Job 28:18, the King James Version margin translation of Hebrew ra'moth.

Ra'moth, in Job 28:18; Ezekiel 27:16:

Septuagint translates meteora (Job 28:18) and ramoth (Ezekiel 27:16); Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) periphrases the passages; English Versions of the Bible translates "coral"; the King James Version margin translates "ramoth" (only in Job 28:18). There is little to indicate the meaning of the Hebrew word.

Ruby:

in Job 28:18; Proverbs 3:15; 8:11; 20:15; 31:10; Lamentations 4:7, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew peninim; in Isaiah 54:12; Ezekiel 27:16, the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Hebrew kadhkodh; in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13, the King James Version margin translation of Hebrew 'odhem.

Sappheiros (sappheiros):

in Tobit 13:16; Revelation 21:19: the 2nd foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates sapphirus; English Versions of the Bible translates "sapphire"; the Revised Version margin translates "lapis lazuli" (but only in Revelation 21:19). According to the Septuagint, sappheiros was the 2nd stone, 3rd row, of the breastplate, but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text. Pliny describes sapphirus as "refulgent with spots like gold. It is also of an azure color, though sometimes, but rarely, it is purple; the best kind being that which comes from Media. In no case, however, is this stone transparent." These characteristics correspond to the lapis lazuli (sulphato-silicate of sodium and aluminum), not to the sapphire (alumina) of the present day.

Cappir, in Exodus 24:10; 28:18; 39:11; Job 28:6,16; Song of Solomon 5:14; Isaiah 54:11; Lamentations 4:7; Ezekiel 1:26; 10:1; 28:13 2nd stone, 2nd row, of the breastplate. Septuagint translates sappheiros; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates sapphirus and (Exodus 24:10) lapis sapphirinus; English Versions of the Bible translates "sapphire." The Hebrew word is universally accepted as equivalent to the Greek sappheiros; that name was used, not for the stone now known as sapphire, but for that now known as lapis lazuli, a substance which was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as a precious stone.

Sardine (stone), sardius:

"sardine" (stone) in Revelation 4:3, the King James Version translation of Greek sardinon, an error of text for sardion; "sardius" in Revelation 4:3, the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek sardion; in Revelation 21:20, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek sardion; in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew 'odhem.

Sardion (sardion):

in Revelation 4:3; 21:20: the 6th foundation of the New Jerusalem. According to the Septuagint, sardion was the 1st stone, 1st row, of the breastplate. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates sardius; the King James Version translates "sardine" (stone) (Revelation 4:3) and "sardius" (Revelation 21:20); the Revised Version (British and American) translates "sardius." The sarda of Pliny's time was much used by the seal engravers. There were three Indian varieties, all of them transparent, one of them red in color; there was then no precious stone in more common use; those of honey-color were less valued. It probably included both the sard and the carnelian of the present day (crypto-crystalline silica).

Sapphire:

in Exodus 24:10; 28:18; 39:11; Job 28:6,16; Song of Solomon 5:14; Isaiah 54:11; Lamentations 4:7; Ezekiel 1:26; 10:1; 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew sappir; in Tobit 13:16; Revelation 21:19, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek sappheiros; in Revelation 21:20, the Revised Version margin translation of Greek huakinthos.

Sardonux (sardonux):

in Revelation 21:20: the 5th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible translate sardonyx. According to Pliny, the name sardonyx was at first given to an Indian (red) sarda with a layer of white in it, both being transparent.

Pliny says that later three colors were considered essential, but that they might be repeated indefinitely. The Arabian sardonyx was "characterized by several different colors, black or azure for the base and vermilion surrounded with a line of rich white for the upper part, not without a certain glimpse of purple as the white passes into the red."

The sardonux of John's time is included in the sardonyx of the present day.

Sardonyx:

in Revelation 21:20, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek sardonux; Exodus 28:18; 39:11, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew yahalom.

Shamir, in Jeremiah 17:1; Ezekiel 3:9; Zechariah 7:12; Septuagint omits Jeremiah 17:1, and in the other two verses either periphrases the word or had a different text; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates (unguis) adamantinus in Jeremiah 17:1, and adamas in the other two verses; English Versions of the Bible translates "diamond" (Jeremiah 17:1) and "adamant" (Ezekiel 3:9; Zechariah 7:12). Shamir was a hard material used for engraving precious stones; in the days of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah, splinters of both diamond and corundum (white sapphire or adamant stone) were probably available for the purpose. Both diamond and adamant are English modifications of the Latin adamas; the form "diamond" has been restricted for some centuries to the more precious of the above stones.

Shebho, in Exodus 28:19; 39:12:

the 2nd stone, 3rd row, of the breastplate. Both Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) probably translate achates, but their Hebrew texts are uncertain; English Versions of the Bible translates "agate." The name achates was given in ancient times to certain stones having banded structures, the agates of the present day. In the time of Theophrastus achates was sold at a great price, but by the time of Pliny had ceased to be a precious stone. Professor Maskelyne suggests that the shebho of the breastplate may have signified the "stone of Sheba" or "Seba," a district in Southern Arabia, and have been the Arabian onyx.

Shoham, in Genesis 2:12; Exodus 25:7; 28:9,20; 35:9,27; 39:6,13; 1 Chronicles 29:2; Job 28:16; Ezekiel 28:13:

the 2nd stone, 4th row, of the breastplate. Septuagint translates prasinos, i.e. "leek-green stone" (Genesis 2:12), sardion (Exodus 25:7; 35:9), smaragdos (Exodus 28:9; 35:27), berullion, probably, through interchange of words in the Hebrew text (Exodus 28:20; 39:13), soom (1 Chronicles 29:2), onux (Job 28:16) and perhaps onuchion (Ezekiel 28:13); Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates onyx (Ezekiel 28:13), lapis sardonychus (Job 28:16) and lapis onychinus elsewhere; English Versions of the Bible translates "onyx"; the Revised Version margin translates "beryl" (except in Ezekiel 28:13). Professor Maskelyne and Professor Sayce, accepting green as the color of shoham, have expressed the opinion that the stone known by that name in very early times was the stone called 'siamu by the Assyrians, and therefore the green turquoise; Professor Maskelyne gives "amazon stone" as an alternative rendering of the word. Berullion is given by the Septuagint as the 2nd stone, onuchion as the 3rd stone, of the 4th row; sardion as the 1st stone, smaragdos as the 3rd stone, of the 1st row; but their Hebrew text is uncertain.

Smaragdinos, smaragdos (smaragdinos):

in Revelation 4:3: the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates smaragdinus; English Versions of the Bible translates "emerald." Smaragdos (smaragdos) in Tobit 13:16; Judith 10:21; Ecclesiasticus 32:5; Revelation 21:19: the Vulgate translates it as smaragdus; English Versions of the Bible translates "emerald." According to the Septuagint, smaragdos was the 3rd stone, 1st row, of the breastplate, but their Hebrew text is uncertain. The smaragdos of Theophrastus was a small, scarce, presumably green, stone used by the gem engravers. In Pliny's time the genus smaragdus comprised no fewer than 12 kinds; one of them was the emerald of the present day, and probably the smaragdos of Theophrastus.

Tarshish, in Exodus 28:20; 39:13; Song of Solomon 5:14; Ezekiel 1:16; 10:9; 28:13; Daniel 10:6:

the 1st stone, 4th row, of the breastplate. The Septuagint translates tharsis (Song of Solomon 5:14; Ezekiel 1:16; Daniel 10:6), anthrax (Ezekiel 10:9); in the remaining verses there is uncertainty as to the order of the Hebrew words in the several texts. The most likely Septuagint equivalent of tarshish is either chrusolithos or berullion; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates hyacinthus (Song of Solomon 5:14), mare ("sea") (Ezekiel 1:16), chrysolithus (Ezekiel 10:9; Daniel 10:6). The Septuagint gives anthrax as the 1st stone, 2nd row, chrusolithos as the 1st stone, 4th row, berullion as the 2nd stone, 4th row, of the breastplate; English Versions of the Bible translates "beryl"; the King James Version margin translates "chrysolite" (in Ezekiel 28:13 only); the Revised Version margin translates "chalcedony" (Exodus 28:20; 39:13), "topaz" (Song of Solomon 5:14) and "stone of Tarshish" (Ezekiel 10:9). Professor Maskelyne suggests that the stone may have been citrine (quartz), if yellow as suggested by chrusolithos, and green jasper, if green as suggested by berullion.

Topaz:

in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; Job 28:19; Ezekiel 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew piTedhah; in Revelation 21:20, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek topazion; in Song of Solomon 5:14, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew tarshish.

Topazion (topazion):

in Revelation 21:20: the 9th foundation of the New Jerusalem. According to the Septuagint topazion was the 2nd stone, 1st row, of the breastplate. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates topazius; English Versions of the Bible translate it as "topaz."

The topazion of Pliny's time was "held in very high estimation for its green tints; when it was first discovered it was preferred to every other kind of precious stone." It was said to be brought from an island in the Red Sea, off the coast of Arabia. It was the only stone of high value that yielded to the action of the file. Topazion is not mentioned by Theophrastus. Pliny's account corresponds to the peridot of the present day (silicate of magnesium and iron), not to our topaz (fluosilicate of aluminium).

Yahalom, in Exodus 28:18; 39:11; Ezekiel 28:13:

the 3rd stone, 2nd row, of the breastplate. Owing to the uncertainty as to the order of the words in the Hebrew text of the Septuagint, there is uncertainty as to the Greek equivalent of yahalom; probably it is one of the words chrusolithos, berullion, onuchion, given by the Septuagint as the names of the stones of the 4th row. English Versions of the Bible translates "diamond"; this is certainly wrong, for the stone had a name engraved on it and the method of engraving a diamond was not invented till 2,000 or 3,000 years after the breastplate was made; nor were diamonds, if known at all, then known so large as to be comparable in respect of size, with the other stones of the breastplate. The Revised Version margin translates "sardonyx" (in Exodus only). Professor Maskelyne suggests that the Hebrew yahalom and the Greek hualos may be kindred words and that yahalom may have been a bluish glass (considered valuable in very early times), or blue chalcedony, or perhaps even beryl.

Yashepheh, in Exodus 28:20; 39:13; Ezekiel 28:13:

the 3rd stone, 4th row, of the breastplate. Septuagint probably translates iaspis, though iaspis is placed by the Septuagint as the 3rd stone, 2nd row; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) probably translates jaspis; English Versions of the Bible translate it as "jasper." The equivalence of the Hebrew yashepheh and the Greek iaspis is generally accepted.

Zekhukhith, in Job 28:17:

Septuagint translates hualos, a name given at first to any transparent stone, but in later times only to glass; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates vitrum; the King James Version translates "crystal"; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "glass." Zekhukhith is related to a Hebrew word meaning "to be pure," whence the renderings crystal and glass.

Lazarus Fletcher


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'STONES, PRECIOUS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.