Topics Hebrew Word Studies
The Stones of the Ephod
By Jeff A. Benner
And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. 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. (Exodus 28:17-21, KJV)
Each translation uses different words for the stones of the Ephod. Does the Hebrew and Greek texts offer any help in identifying the actual identity of these stones?
Hebrew: אודם (odem) Strong's #124|
Possible Stone: Carnelian
Other Possibilities: Jasper
Hebrew: פטדה (pit'dah) Strong's #6357|
Possible Stone: Olivine
Other Possibilities: Chrysolite, Topaz (The Septuagint uses the word topazios, but the Topaz was unknown at the time of the Exodus)
Hebrew: ברקת (bareqet) Strong's #1304|
Possible Stone: Emerald
Other Possibilities: Beryl or Quartz (the Septuagint uses Smaragdos meaning a green stone)
Hebrew: נופך (nophekh) Strong's #5306|
Possible Stone: Turquoise (this stone was commonly mined in the Near East)
Other Possibilities: Carbuncle, Garnet, Emerald and Malachite (the Septuagint has Anthrax meaning coal)
Hebrew: ספיר (saphiyr) Strong's #5601|
Possible Stone: Lapis Lazuli
Other Possibilities: Sapphire (While the Hebrew word is saphiyr, the origin of the word Sapphire, the Sapphire was unknown until the Roman period.)
Hebrew: יהלום (yah'lom) Strong's #3095|
Possible Stone: Flint (A stone used to create a spark when struck)
Other Possibilities: Onyx, Diamond
Hebrew: לשם (leshem) Strong's #3958|
Possible Stone: Opal
Other Possibilities: Amber, Jacinth, Agate, Amethyst
Hebrew: שבו (sh'vo) Strong's #7618|
Possible Stone: Agate (The Septuagint uses achates meaning Agate.)
Other Possibilities: (unknown)
Hebrew:אחלמה (ahh'lamah) Strong's #306|
Possible Stone: Amethyst (The Septuagint uses Amethystos)
Other Possibilities: (unknown)
Hebrew: תרשיש (tarshish) Strong's #8658|
Possible Stone: Topaz
Other Possibilities: Beryl, Lapis Lazuli, Amber, Jasper, Serpentine, Olivine, Flint
Hebrew: שוהם (shoham) Strong's #7718|
Possible Stone: Onyx
Other Possibilities: Beryl (The Septuagint uses beryllios), Malachite
Hebrew: ישפה (yash'pheyh) Strong's #3471|
Possible Stone: Jasper (The Septuagint uses laspis meaning Jasper.)
Other Possibilities: Ruby, Hyacinth, Emerald
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