Exodus 28:20

Exodus 28:20

And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper
Whatever stone is meant by the first in this row, it must be of a sea green colour; for "tarshish", the word used, signifies the sea; and so the beryl, as Pliny F18 says, imitates the greenness of the pure sea. Braunius F19 takes it to be the chrysolite that is meant; and so does Ainsworth; and it is so rendered by the Septuagint; and this, according to Ruaeus F20, is of a colour like the greenness of the sea: the "onyx" has its name from its being of the colour of a man's nail, as observed before; but here "shoham" is thought by Braunius F21 to be the "sardonyx", following Josephus, Jerom, and the Vulgate Latin version, which is a compound of the sardian and onyx stones: the last is undoubtedly rightly rendered the jasper, for the Hebrew word is "jaspeh": this stone is sometimes variegated with spots like a panther, and therefore is called by Onkelos "pantere"; the most valuable is the green spotted with red or purple:

they shall be set in gold in their enclosings;
or be set and enclosed in ouches or sockets of gold, as the two onyx stones upon the shoulder pieces of the ephod: there were twelve of these ouches or sockets, which might be made out of one piece of gold, into which the twelve above stones were put. These stones were, no doubt, brought out of Egypt by the children of Israel, and were the gifts of their princes.


FOOTNOTES:

F18 Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 5.
F19 Ut supra, (De Vestitu Sacerd Heb. l. 2.) c. 17. sect. 7. p. 720.
F20 De Gemmis, l. 2. c. 7.
F21 Ut supra, (De Vestitu Sacerd Heb. l. 2.) c. 18. sect. 4. p. 730.
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