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Precious Stones

By : Lazarus Fletcher

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Contents :

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 (#Eze 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 (#Ex 28:17-21) were:

The foundations of the New Jerusalem are (#Re 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 (#1Ch 29:2,
indicating that the translator, not knowing the Greek word for shoham, gave merely
its Greek transliteration) as well as smaragdos (#Ex 28:9; 35:27; 39:6 or
Septuagint #/ LXX Ex 36:13), prasinos (#Ge 2:12), sardion (#Ex 25:7; 35:9 or
Septuagint #/ LXX Ex 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 (#Eze
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 (#Ex 28:9; 39:6 or Septuagint #/ LXX Ex
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 (#Ex 28:19; 39:12).


It is not mentioned in Apocrypha or the New Testament.

Adamant (see also special article): in #Eze 3:9; Zec 7:12, English Versions of
the Bible translation of Hebrew shamir.

Agate: in #Ex 28:19; 39:12, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew
shebho; in #Isa 54:12; Eze 27:16, the King James Version translation of Hebrew
kadhkodh.

�Achlamah: in #Ex 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 #Eze 1:4,27; 8:2, the King James Version, the English Revised Version
and the American Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew chashmal; in #Ex
28:19, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew leshem.

Amethustos (amethustos): in #Re 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 #Ex 28:19; 39:12, English Versions of the Bible translation of
Hebrew �achlamah; in #Re 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 #Ex 28:17; 39:10; Eze 28:13: 3rd 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 #Ge 2:12; Nu 11:7, English Versions of
the Bible translation of Hebrew bedholach.

Bedholach: The Septuagint translates anthrax in #Ge 2:12, and krustallos in #Nu
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; #Re 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 #Ex 28:20; 39:13; So 5:14; Eze 1:16; 10:9; 28:13; Da 10:6, English
Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew tarshish; in #Ge 2:12; Ex 25:7 margin;
28:9,20; 35:27 margin; #1Ch 29:2 margin; #Job 28:16 margin, the Revised Version
margin translation of Hebrew shoham; in Tobit 13:17; #Re 21:20, English Versions
of the Bible translation of Greek berullos.

Carbuncle: in #Ex 28:17; 39:10; Eze 28:13, English Versions of the Bible
translation of Hebrew bareqeth; in #Ex 28:18 margin; 39:11; #Eze 27:16; 28:13, the
Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew nophekh; in #Isa 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 #Ex 28:20, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew


tarshish; in #Re 21:19, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek
chalkedon.

Chalkedon (chalkedon): in #Re 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 #Re 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 #Re 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 #Eze 28:13, the King James Version margin
translation of Hebrew tarshish; #Re 21:20, the Revised Version (British and
American) translation of Greek chrusolithos; "chrysolyte" in #Re 21:20, the King
James Version translation of Greek chrusolithos.

Chrysoprase, chrysoprasus: "chrysoprase" in #Eze 27:16, the King James Version


margin translation of Hebrew kadhkodh; #Re 21:20, the Revised Version (British and
American) translation of Greek chrusoprasos; "chrysoprasus" in #Re 21:20, the King
James Version translation of Greek chrusoprasos.

Coral, red coral (see special article): "coral" in #Job 28:18; Eze 27:16, English
Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew ra�moth; #La 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; #Eze 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 #Re 4:6; 22:1, English Versions of the Bible translation of
Greek krustallos; in #Re 21:11, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek
krustallizo ("to shine like crystal").

Diamond: in #Jer 17:1, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew


shamir; in #Ex 28:18; 39:11; Eze 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation
of Hebrew yahalom.

�Eqdach: in #Isa 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): #Eze 1:4, the Revised Version margin translation
of Hebrew chashmal, "amber."

Emerald: in #Ex 28:18; 39:11; Eze 27:16; 28:13, English Versions of the Bible
translation of Hebrew nophekh; in #Ex 28:17; 39:10, the Revised Version margin
translation of Hebrew bareqeth; in Tobit 13:16; Judith 10:21; Ecclesiasticus 32:6;
#Re 21:19, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek smaragdos; in #Re
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 #Eze 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 #Re 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" (#Re 21:20) and "hyacinth" (#Re 9:17); the Revised
Version margin translates "sapphire" (#Re 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 #Re 9:17,
the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek huakinthos;
"jacinth" in #Ex 28:19; 39:12, the Revised Version (British and American)
translation of Hebrew leshem; in #Re 9:17; 21:20, the King James Version
translation of Greek huakinthos.

Iaspis (iaspis): in #Re 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 (#Isa 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 #Ex 28:20; 39:13; Eze 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation
of Hebrew yashepheh; in #Re 4:3; 21:11,18,19, English Versions of the Bible
translation of Greek iaspis.

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

Qerach: in #Eze 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 #Re 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 #Re 21:19, the Revised Version margin translation of Greek
sappheiros.

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

Ligurion (ligurion): in Septuagint #Ex 28:19; 39:12, Septuagint translation of


Hebrew leshem: 1st stone, 3rd row, of breastplate.

Margarites (margarites): in #Mt 7:6; 13:45,46; 1Ti 2:9; #Re 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 #Ex 28:18; 39:11; Eze 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 #Eze 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 #Ex 28:17; 39:10; Eze 28:13: 1st 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 (#Eze 28:13) and the stones of the breastplate
(being there made 3rd stone, 4th row, in #Ex 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 #Ge 2:12; Ex 25:7; 28:9,20; 35:9,27; 39:6,13; 1Ch 29:2; #Job 18:16; Eze
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 #Mt 7:6;
13:45 f; #1Ti 2:9; Re 18:12,16; 21:20,21, English Versions of the Bible
translation of Greek margarites.

Peninim, in #Job 28:18; Pr 3:15; 8:11; 20:15; 31:10; La 4:7: Septuagint (from
which #Pr 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 #La 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 #La 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 #Ex 28:17; 39:10; Job 28:19; Eze 28:13: 2nd 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; Eze 27:16: Septuagint translates meteora (#Job 28:18) and
ramoth (#Eze 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; Pr 3:15; 8:11; 20:15; 31:10; La 4:7, English Versions of the
Bible translation of Hebrew peninim; in #Isa 54:12; Eze 27:16, the Revised Version
(British and American) translation of Hebrew kadhkodh; in #Ex 28:17; 39:10; Eze
28:13, the King James Version margin translation of Hebrew �odhem.

Sappheiros (sappheiros): in Tobit 13:16; #Re 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 #Re 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 #Ex 24:10; 28:18; 39:11; Job 28:6,16; So 5:14; Isa 54:11; La 4:7; #Eze
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
(#Ex 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 #Re 4:3, the King James Version
translation of Greek sardinon, an error of text for sardion; "sardius" in #Re 4:3,
the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek sardion; in #Re
21:20, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek sardion; in #Ex 28:17;
39:10; Eze 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew �odhem.

Sardion (sardion): in #Re 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) (#Re 4:3) and "sardius" (#Re
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 #Ex 24:10; 28:18; 39:11; Job 28:6,16; So 5:14; Isa 54:11; La 4:7;
#Eze 1:26; 10:1; 28:13, English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew
sappir; in Tobit 13:16; #Re 21:19, English Versions of the Bible translation of
Greek sappheiros; in #Re 21:20, the Revised Version margin translation of Greek
huakinthos.

Sardonux (sardonux): in #Re 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 #Re 21:20, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek


sardonux; #Ex 28:18; 39:11, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew
yahalom.

Shamir, in #Jer 17:1; Eze 3:9; Zec 7:12; Septuagint omits #Jer 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 #Jer 17:1,
and adamas in the other two verses; English Versions of the Bible translates
"diamond" (#Jer 17:1) and "adamant" (#Eze 3:9; Zec 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 #Ex 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 #Ge 2:12; Ex 25:7; 28:9,20; 35:9,27; 39:6,13; 1Ch 29:2; #Job 28:16;
Eze 28:13: the 2nd stone, 4th row, of the breastplate. Septuagint translates
prasinos, i.e. "leek-green stone" (#Ge 2:12), sardion (#Ex 25:7; 35:9), smaragdos
(#Ex 28:9; 35:27), berullion, probably, through interchange of words in the Hebrew
text (#Ex 28:20; 39:13), soom (#1Ch 29:2), onux (#Job 28:16) and perhaps onuchion
(#Eze 28:13); Vulgate (Jerome�s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates onyx (#Eze
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 #Eze 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 #Re 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; #Re 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 #Ex 28:20; 39:13; So 5:14; Eze 1:16; 10:9; 28:13; Da 10:6: the 1st
stone, 4th row, of the breastplate. The Septuagint translates tharsis (#So 5:14;
Eze 1:16; Da 10:6), anthrax (#Eze 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 (#So 5:14),
mare ("sea") (#Eze 1:16), chrysolithus (#Eze 10:9; Da 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 #Eze 28:13 only); the Revised Version margin translates "chalcedony" (#Ex
28:20; 39:13), "topaz" (#So 5:14) and "stone of Tarshish" (#Eze 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 #Ex 28:17; 39:10; Job 28:19; Eze 28:13, English Versions of the Bible
translation of Hebrew piTedhah; in #Re 21:20, English Versions of the Bible
translation of Greek topazion; in #So 5:14, the Revised Version margin translation
of Hebrew tarshish.

Topazion (topazion): in #Re 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 #Ex 28:18; 39:11; Eze 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 #Ex 28:20; 39:13; Eze 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.