Exodus 28:21

21 There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.

Read Exodus 28:21 Using Other Translations

And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes.
Each stone will represent one of the twelve sons of Israel, and the name of that tribe will be engraved on it like a seal.

What does Exodus 28:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Exodus 28:21

And the stones shall be with the names of the children of
Israel, twelve, according to their names
And just so many are reckoned up in the preceding verses, each of which had one or other of the names of the children of Israel engraved on them, according to the order of their names in their birth. Some have thought that Levi's name was omitted, but their reason for it seems not sufficient; for why might not he bear the name of his own tribe, and represent that as well as the rest, since the whole Israel of God is represented by his antitype?

[like] the engravings of a net, everyone with his name shall they be
according to the twelve tribes;
not like the impression of a seal on wax, then the letters indeed would have been protuberant, as some have thought; but these were like the engravings of a seal, in which the letters or figures are cut within it: these twelve stones, with the names on them, represent the twelve tribes of Israel, and they the whole spiritual Israel of God; and being precious stones, show the excellency of the people of God, of what value, and in what esteem they are with God and Christ, being their jewels and peculiar treasure; and their names being in them, denote the special and particular knowledge God has of them, their names being written in heaven in the book of life; and they are called by name by the Lord; and being engraved as a signet, is an emblem of their being set as a seal on the arm and heart of Christ, and of their being as dear and precious to him as a signet on a man's right hand; and being set in ouches and enclosures of gold, express both the dignity and excellency, and the careful preservation of them: these were set in rows, as members of churches are, everyone in his order, rank, and station, ( 1 Corinthians 12:18 1 Corinthians 12:28 ) .

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