Encyclopaedia Biblica/Stacte-Stones (Precious)

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(>lt33, nataph, 'that which drops'; cp Job 36:27 ; CT&KTH [stacte]) is mentioned with onycha and galbanum as an ingredient in the holy incense (Ex. 30:34 ; Ecclus. 24:15, RVmg 'opobalsamum', AV STORAX). A fragrant resin is obviously intended ; but whether opobalsamum, storax, or some other substance, is uncertain. Jewish tradition identified nataph with opobalsamum ; but against this see BALSAM, 4, and MYRRH. Perhaps gum tragacanth is meant ; see STORAX, 2.


The words are partly the same as those in ROD (where see 1, 2, 3, 5). Nothing depends on fulness of references. By far the most interesting is Heb. 11:21, cp Gen. 47:31, where it is said that Jacob, after blessing Joseph's sons, 'worshipped upon the top of his staff' ( irpocreKvvriaev firi rb &Kpov TTJS pdpSov avrov), implying i7asri (the reading of LXX, Pesh., It.) instead of rrapn. Chabas justifies this reading by a reference to an Egyptian custom. 1 But it is clearly wrong, as the parallel passage 1 K. 1:47 shows. The 'head' of the bed is no doubt a peculiar expression ; Holzinger suggests that a 'teraphim' may have been placed at the bed's head. But the true explanation is much simpler, rto should of course be iny 'couch'; cp yir eny 'the couch of my bed', Ps. 132:3 , RV mg.

The other words are

1. rayefO, r7yra, mash'enah, misheneth (nj]yt> [root ShAN] 'to lean'), Ex. 21:19, Is. 36:6, etc. Used of the pastoral rod (|| n]s) in Ps. 23:4 (see note in Che. Ps. (2)).

2. vy, 'ets, of the 'staff' of a spear (1 S. 17:7 [Kt. is wrong], 2 S. 21:19, 23:7, 1 Ch. 20:5).

3- iSs, pelek, in David's imprecation, let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff', etc., 2 S. 3:29. So EV after LXX (Kparwv ffKvrdX-rjs \-rj, or -TJV]) and Tg. Jon. (-UK3 p, pno ; so read, not -UN::). The rival rendering - 'that holdeth the spindle' - does not suit the context nearly as well (cp H. P. Smith, ad loc.), but has a philological basis lacking to the first explanation. Moved by Driver s learned note (TBS 192, with n. i) Lohr and H. P. Smith adopt 'spindle' for -]"?> (cp Prov. 31:19, and Toy's note). There can hardly be a clearer evidence of corruption ; no philology can save this unsuitable reading. Read VJ3O2 o, 'one that leans on (lit. grasps) a staff' - i.e. , a lame person. In Prov. 31:19 the reading is of course undisputed (cp WEAVING, 2).

4. B io, mot, Nu. 13:23 ( a pole, for bearing a huge grape-cluster).

5. 13, bad (in plur.), Ex. 25:13+, 1 K. 8:7-8 (to bear the ark).

6. |ii\oi [xylon] (in plur.), Mt. 26:47, Mk. 14:43, coupled with 'swords' (Jn. 18:3 speaks of onAa [hopla]). Cp the use of HBO and B3 (ROD, i, 2).

T. K. C.

1 Melanges egyptologiques (3) 1:gt. 'He then pronounced the ordinary oath, " By the life of the Lord Life-Health-Force," striking his nose and ears, and placing himself on the top of the staff. The reference is to the baton which the magistrate kept stretched out during the ceremony. By this attitude and by these gestures the prisoner testified his submission towards the magistrate'.


The rendering 'stairs' in AV is generally misleading.

1. In 1 K. 6:4, no doubt, D ^V, lulim (e[i]Ai)CTT) arajSdtri? [e[i]likte anabasis]; cochlea) can be plausibly rendered 'winding stairs' (EV ; see however, Stade, ZATW 3:136+, and cp TEMPLE, 11, n.).

2. In 2 K. 9:13 'on the top of the stairs' (n lVl Sn DT" 1 ?**) can hardly be the right description of the place where Jehu's supporters acclaimed him as king (see JEHU).

3. In Neh. 9:4 it was not on the stairs but on the 'scaffold' (nSj/0, ma'aleh ; ai/ajSacris [anabasis]) prepared for the occasion that Jeshua and Bani stood. So AVmg- Cp PULPIT.

4. In Ezek. 43:17 (ni*?> C, ma'aloth) 'stairs' should be 'steps' (RV); the steps of the altar are meant.

5. In Cant. 2:14 'the secret places (rnmD. madregoth ; t^o/ucfa rov KpOTei^tcrfiaTOS [echomena tou proteichismatos]; in caverna macerae) of the stairs' forms a bad parallel to 'in the clefts of the rock'. mmDi madregah (in plur.), is again rendered 'stairs' in Ezek. 38:20 ; most scholars suppose 'steep, ladder-like hills' (RV 'steep places'; (LXX (/xipayyes [pharagges]) to be the true meaning. The word, however, is suspicious.

6. 'Stairs' is right for ai>afta0fj.oi [anabathmoi] in Acts 21:40.

T. K. C.


(p3"WJ, marbek, etc.), Am. 6:4 etc. See CATTLE, 5.


, Nu. 1:52 etc. See ENSIGNS.


To the Hebrews, as to other races, the heavenly bodies were a constant source of interest and wonder. Their great number, comparable to the sand of the sea-shore (Gen. 15:5, 22:17, 26:4, Jer. 33:22), and known only to God (Ps. 147:4), their immeasurable height above the earth (Job 22:12, Ob. 4, Is. 14:13; cp Dan. 8:10a), and the brightness of their shining (Job 25:5, 31:26, Dan. 12:3), formed subjects for comment; but it was their movements that excited the keenest attention, and opened up the widest field for the imagination.

1. Earth and Heaven.[edit]

To realise the Hebrew conception of this phenomenon, it is necessary to make some reference to their cosmology. This bears close resemblance to the scheme of the Babylonians (Jensen, Kosmol. 9+), and may be thought to have formed part of the common property of the primitive Semitic family.

The earth was regarded as a flat surface, bounded upon all sides by the watery deep. Above, the heavens formed a hollow vault, which, resting on the waters, might be said to describe a circle upon them (Job 26:10, Prov. 8:27). This vault was thought to be solid, and was spoken of as a firmament (JT,TI, rakia , something beaten or hammered out; Gen. 1:6 etc.), or, in the language of poetry, a tent spread out above the earth (Is. 40:22, Ps. 19:4). Upon the farther side of the firmament, called by the Babylonians kirib shami, 'the inner part of the heavens', there was again water, 'the waters which are above the firmament' (Gen. 1:6-7). Indeed, one of the earliest of creative acts was the placing of the vault of the heavens, in order to cleave in twain the watery deep (cinn, tehom, Bab. Tidmat], and thus make possible the appearance of dry land (Gen. 1:6-8, Prov. 8:28-29). Beneath the earth was the realm of the underworld (^iKc 1 , sheol), and the whole was perhaps conjectured to rest ultimately upon the waters of the deep (Ps. 24:2, 13:66).

2. Movements of heavenly bodies.[edit]

Across the fixed vault of the firmament the heavenly bodies appeared to move, seeming, no doubt, to the Hebrews as to the Babylonians, to enter by a door in the eastern quarter of the heavens and to make their exit in the W. by similar means. Thus, to the poet's mind, the sun has his tent in the heavens, and at his rising is like a bridegroom who issues from his bridal chamber (Ps. 19:5-6).

The regularity of the movements of the stars arrested the attention. They are governed by ordinances established by Yahwe and unalterable (Jer. 31:35-36), beyond the reach of human understanding (Job 38:33). The spectacle of the heavenly host, led forth in full tale, is a wonderful proof of Yahwe s mighty power (Is. 40:26). Thus they naturally serve to mark divisions of time. They are set in the firmament 'to divide the day from the night' and to 'be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years' (Gen. 1:14, cp Ps. 104:19). The Hebrew month (thh, hodesh ; rrr, yerah] is a lunar month, and the quarter of this period - one phase of the moon - appears to have determined the week of seven days (see MONTH, 1, 6 ; WEEK, 1). Since this constancy in the courses of sun, moon, and stars was so impressive, it is natural that anything which appeared to be of the nature of an interruption should, by the unscientific mind, be regarded as a portent of catastrophe. Of such a nature would be eclipses of the sun or moon, meteorites or falling stars, and comets.

So we find the darkening of sun and moon and the falling of stars associated with troublous times of direst calamity (Am. 8:9, Is. 13:10, Ezek. 32:7, Joel 2:10, 2:31, [3:4] = Acts 2:20, Joel 3:15 [4:15] Job 9:7; cp Mt. 24:29, Rev. 6:12-13, 8:12). 1 Comets, as moving in orbits which baffled the calculations of the ancients, can be spoken of as wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved for ever, and thus serve to depict the lot of the reprobate.

To the primitive imagination that which moves is regarded as possessing life. Thus the heavenly bodies are pictured as living beings, and form subject of folklore and legend. Stars, in particular, are closely associated with angels.

The phrase 'the host of heaven' generally denotes the stars (2 K. 17:16, 21:3, 21:5, 23:4-5, Dt. 4:19, 17:3, Jer. 8:2, 10:13, Zeph. 1:5 ; cp Gen. 2:1, Ps. 33:6, Is. 40:26, 45:12); but in some cases, especially in late writings, invisible agencies are also denoted by the same term (1 K. 22:19, Is. 34:4, Neh. 9:6, and perhaps Dan. 8:10). Cp also Is. 24:21 and the fine poetical statement in Job 38:7 (cp CREATION, 21e).

1 An eclipse of the sun which occurred in the year B.C. 763 is recorded in the Assyrian Eponym Canon. See AMOS, 4

3. Special stars or groups.[edit]

Special stars or constellations mentioned in the Bible are as follow :

(a) r-y, 'ayish (Job 38:32) ; on the versions and on the supposed form vy, 'ash (Job 9:9), see ARCTURUS. The allusion to the 'children' of 'ayish limits the possibilities of interpretation to such constellations as can be pictured under the form of a mother with children. Among the ancients there appear to have been two such - Ursa major, and the Pleiades.

In favour of Ursa major is cited the Arabic title for this constellation.

This is na'sh, 'the bier', the four stars forming the quadrilateral being regarded as a bier, which is followed by three mourners, banat na'sh, 'the daughters of the bier'.

It is, however, quite impossible philologically to connect the Arabic word na'sh with the Hebrew ayish; nor is there, in the passage of Job in which ayish appears, any trace of the idea of bier and bearers or mourners. It is the merit of M. A. Stern 1 ( Die Sternbilder in Hiob 38:31-32, in Geiger's Jud. Zeitschr. 3:258+) to have been the first among moderns to adopt the interpretation 'Pleiades', and to have stated his case with great cogency. Stern disposes of the claims of Ursa major by pointing out that ayish, with the three other constellations mentioned in Job 38:31-32, is cited by the poet on account of its meteorological importance.

This is evident from the context. In vv. 22-30 we have mention of snow and hail, light and east wind, thunder-shower and lightning, rain and dew, ice and hoar-frost. Then follow the three vv. 31-33 with reference to certain constellations ; and in immediate succession, further notice of meteorological phenomena - clouds and the outpouring water, lightning and the bottles of heaven.

Thus the inference is clear that the constellations mentioned are such as have special significance as weather-signs. Now Ursa major, as a circum- polar constellation, never passes below the horizon in the N. hemisphere; 2 and, being therefore a conspicuous object at all seasons, could never be regarded as possessing any kind of meteorological importance. Thus its mention in such a context would appear to be quite misplaced.

On the other hand, the Pleiades, though but a small group, possessed for the ancients great meteorological significance.

By their rising at dawn the Greeks and Romans divined the approach of summer, whilst their setting at dawn, heralded the approach of the wet and stormy season (Hesiod, Opp. 383-384, 571-572, 619+; Virgil, Georg. 4:231+, Ovid, Fast. 5:599+). The expression 'ayish with her children' bears close resemblance to the name 'hen with her chickens' applied to this group of stars among both eastern and western peoples and actually employed in this passage as a translation of the Targum (^y Nnjll pe43in). 3

The name ayish may then be thought to denote, not the group as a whole, but the principal star, known to astronomers as Alcyone. It must be deemed uncertain whether the Massoretic vocalisation cry [AYSh] is correct. The Peshitta renders by iyyutha, 1 which probably has philological connection with the Hebrew name, and perhaps upon this analogy we may vocalise v-y, 'ayush (Hoffmann), or else, with closer approximation to the Syriac, try, 'ayyush, or w y, 'iyyush.

1 Stern is followed by G. Hoffmann (ZATW 3:107-108) and by Noldeke (Bib. Lex. 4:370).

2 Cp Homer, Od. 5:275, oil) 5 ajui/aopo? ecrri Aoerpan O./ceai ou> [oie d'ammoros esti loetron Okeanoio]. Virg. Georg. 1:246, Arctos Oceani metuentis eequore tingi. Ovid, Met. 13:727, Arcton aequoris expertem.

3 It is also worthy of notice that R. Yehuda's explanation of tis as xnv, yutha (Berakhoth 58b) is interpreted by later Talmudists as n*?B 3JT> 'the tail of the Ram' (i.e., Pleiades), or R7JJH l^NI, 'the head of the Bull' (i.e., Hyades).

(b) ^ 03 kesil (Job 9:9, 38:31, Amos 5:8) is generally supposed to denote ORION (q.v.), the most remarkable of constellations, both on account of the brilliancy and colour of the three principal stars, 2 and the striking resemblance of the figure to a gigantic human form equipped with belt and sword. The position of this group, a few degrees S. of the Ecliptic, renders it a very conspicuous object as viewed from the N. temperate zone, and among the Greeks and the Romans it was much observed as a sign of the seasons.

Thus its heliacal rising, southing, and setting are severally connected with different agricultural operations (Hes. Opp. 595+, 609+, 614+); but, especially, the time of its setting marks the commencement of wet and stormy weather, when navigation becomes dangerous (Hes. Opp. 618+, Hor. Ep. 15:7 ; Virg. Aen. 1:535, 1:452).

The mention of the 'bands of Orion' in Job 38:31 is perhaps an allusion to the three stars of the belt, and refers to the chains with which the giant - 'dull-witted obstinate' giant - (VoD) was thought to have been confined by the Deity. If man can loose these bands - the poet seems to mean - he may then hope to gain control over those changes in the season which the constellation marks. In Job 9:9 Amos 5:8, kesil appears to be cited on account of its great brilliancy. 3

(c) no], kimah (Job 9:9, 38:31, Amos 5:8) is translated 'Pleiades' by EV and many moderns, in accordance with the rendering of LXX in both passages of Job, 4 Symm. and Vg. in Job 38:31, and Symm. and Theodot. in Amos. If, however, the grounds upon which 'ayish has been identified with the Pleiades can be considered sufficient, it is evident that we must look elsewhere for the constellation represented by kimah. Stern presses the claims of Canis major with its bright star Sirius - by far the largest of the fixed stars - known to the Greeks as TO &.<jrpov [to astron] par excellence, 5

A constellation of so great a meteorological interest as Canis major and possessing a star of such brilliancy as Sirius, may naturally be expected to find mention in Job 38 ; and the identification with kimah is rendered plausible by the close connection with kesil, just as the Great Dog lies nearly to the S. of Orion and close to his feet. A further point is the allusion to the 'chains' 8 of Kimah (nc 3 ni-nyp), which on this interpretation yields a good sense, since Canis major is the hound of Orion.

1 The same rendering is employed for WV, Job 9:9, 7D3, Job 16:27, S D3, Amos 5:8. The Talmudic NriV, yutha (note above), perhaps represents the same word with rejection of y.

2 aj3-y [abg] Orionis, named Betelgeuse, Rigel, and Bellatrix : the first and the second, of the first magnitude ; the last, among the largest stars of the second magnitude.

3 On the phrase 'their kesilim' (Dri S DS) in Is. 13:10 see ORION.

4 In LXX Job 9:9, o TRHWI IlAeid6<x KCU "Ea-n-epov icai .\pKTOvpov Kai Ta.fj.fia. NOTOU [o poioon Pleiada kai Hesperon kai Arktouron kai tameia Notou], it is quite clear that the order of the constellations has been changed, nO 3 being brought to the beginning and rendered IlAeiaSa [Pleiada] as in 38:31, whilst ci1, which thus stands second, is translated *E<r7repoi Hesperon as jj"y in 38:32. This change of order, which seems to have been overlooked by critics, is substantiated by Pesh. JtcuJ^O Jod>O t"* ^-* CO

5 For the apncients Sirius marked the time of greatest summer heat (Hom. Il. 22:27-31, Hes. Opp. 417, Sc. 397; etc.), and its connection with this period is still preserved in the popular expression 'the dog days'.

6 The rendering 'sweet influences' AV, RVmg. can he traced back to Sebastian Munster (1535 A.D.), but appears to be philologically untenable.

(d) The meaning of n n?c (Job 38:32; see MAZZAROTH), is highly uncertain. By most scholars the term is supposed to be identical with ni^iD (see MAZZALOTH), the worship of which, in conjunction with that of the sun, the moon, and all the host of heaven, was put down by Josiah (2 K. 23:5) ; and LX in both passages employs the transliteration fj-afovpuO [mazourooth], whilst Targ. , in accordance with Kings, uses in Job the rendering n VlO nee 1 - In Rabbinic Hebrew the mazzaloth are the twelve zodiacal signs (Berakhoth 32b; Shabbath 75a), but also the planets, regarded as stars of good or ill fortune (Bereshith rab. , 10, 10c, etc. ). In agreement with this latter signification, we have, according to the restoration of de Vogue 1 , the dedication cyj Jio ? answering to the Greek A.ya&Q TI /XT? [Agathe tyche] in a Phoenician inscription from Larnaca of about the 4th century B.C. (CIS 1:95). It is doubtful, however, whether we can safely argue back in explanation of the earlier use of the expression. In Arabic manzil denotes a lodging-place or 'mansion'; and the plural al-manazil is used of the twenty-eight 'mansions' of the moon. In Assyrian, according to Friedr. Delitzsch (Ass. HWB), manzasu denotes 'a place of standing', from the root nazazu 'to stand'; just as in Heb. 7ipo, 'place', is derived from QV&gt. Manzazu occurs on the fifth table of the Babylonian Creation series (see CREATION, 2) which begins 1 'He made the mansions (mansazi) of the great gods'. Further, there is a fem, form of manzazu - viz., manzaltu (= manzaztu}, mazaltu. tor this Uelitzsch quotes 3 R. 59:35a : 'The gods in heaven in their mansions (man-zal-ti-shu-nu) set me'. Jensen (Kosmol. 347-348) mentions the same facts. Whilst, however, Uelitzsch identities these manzalti with the zodiacal stations (Prol. 54), Jensen thinks that they were perhaps fifty in number, 2 corresponding to the number of the great gods, and represent, not merely the signs of the Zodiac (cp Lockyer, Dawn of Astronomy, 133+), but ratner certain fixed stars and planets, lists of which are to be found in the inscriptions, but of which the identification appears to be possible only in a few cases (Kosm. 146+). 3 Here, then, it maybe supposed that we have the original of mazzaloth of 2 K. 23:5 ; though, as is plain from the diverse opinions noticed above, the precise reference of these 'mansions', as objects of worship borrowed by the people of Judah from the Babylonians, still remains uncertain.

With regard to mazzaroth, Stern is undoubtedly correct in stating that in the words of Job 38:32 'Canst thou bring forth mazzaroth in its season' (inya), mazzaroth in conjunction with 'in its time' (inyn) denotes a plurality which can be spoken of as a unity, and so a group of stars which form a single constellation. This consideration, which gains weight from the connection of massdroth with 'ayish , kesil, and kimah, each of which describes a single special star-group, cuts at the root of the identification of mazzaroth in Job with mazzaloth as mentioned in 2 K. 23:5, upon the view which has above been taken of the latter. The special constellation represented by mazzaroth can, however, in default of evidence, be merely conjectural. Stern's view, that the word denotes the Hyades, is not open to objection, and is to some extent supported by the position of mazzaroth after kimah and kesil and before 'ayish, acccording to the position of constellations in the heavens. But that this is the intention of the order of citation may be questioned, since in such a case the more natural method would be to reverse the order, and to speak of Pleiades, Hyades, Orion, Canis major, according to the order of rising. The Hyades were of meteorological importance to the ancients, who regarded their heliacal rising as the portent of wet weather (Hom. Il. 18:486 ; Hes. Opp. 613 ; Virg. Aen. 1:744, etc.). Stern, who would identify mazzaroth and mazzaloth, attempts to connect mazzaloth with the verb Vn (hizzil) in the sense rain-producers ; but this is certainly inferior to the derivation adopted above (see further MAZZAROTH).

(e) The expression, 'the inner chambers of the south' (Job 9:9, 1 p n Tin, hadre theman), is too indefinite to be taken as a reference to any special star or group of stars, such as the bright star Canopus or the constellation of the ship to which it belongs (Stern). Probably Dillmann is correct in suggesting that the author of Job, as a man of travel, would know that in journeying towards the S. more and more stars and constellations appear in the heavens, and might therefore reasonably refer in such terms to the stars of the southern hemisphere.

(f) On kewan as a representation of the planet Saturn (Am. 5:26), helel(?) as the planet Venus, and Dioscuri as the constellation Gemini (indirectly referred to in Acts 28:11), see CHIUN, LUCIFER, CASTOR AND POLLUX. (There is according to Crit. Hit., reason to think that the Arabic name of Saturn, zuhalu, underlies the S7xin of 1 K. 19:15. It iss held that the 'Hazael' referred to was probably a N. Arabian, not a Syrian, king. Adhuc sub judice iis est.]

1 See Jensen, Kosmol. 288+ ; Schrader, COT 115.

2 The number of the manzazi appears to have originally been given in the Creation tablet.

3 Jensen finds allusion to the zodiacal signs in the Mashi stars of l. 2 of the Creation tablet above cited. The word misrata (not mizrata) or itsrata, which occurs in l. 3, cannot, with Sayce (Religion of Bab. 389), be identified with Mazzaroth.

4. Star-worship.[edit]

It is highly improbable (cp CALF, GOLDEN) that the Israelte tribes in Egypt came under the influence of the Egyptian religion, which was based on the worship of the sun.

But such place-names as Beth-shemesh in SW. Judah, Har-heres, Timnath-heres, and Heres on the E. of the Jordan permit the inference that the local Baal of theCanaanite, whose cults confronted the Israelites on their immigration into Canaan, was sometimes connected with the sun. See, however, SUN, and on this and other difficult points which here suggest themselves for consideration see ASHTORETH, BAAL, PHOENICIA, 11. On the much disputed statement of Am. 5:26 see CHIUN AND SICCUTH, SALMA.

Am. 5:26 introduces us to the subject of star-worship. The compiler of the Book of Kings regards the worship of 'all the host of heaven' - doubtless introduced from Babylonia - as one of the causes of the fall of the northern kingdom (2 K. 17:16). In the case of the kingdom of Judah we possess fuller information. Star-worship was here, apparently, not introduced before the time of Manasseh ; but of this king it is related that he built altars to all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of Yahwe (2 K. 21:5). Priests were appointed to offer sacrifice to the sun, the moon (see MOON), the mazzaloth (see above, 3 [d]), and all the host of heaven, and special horses and chariots were dedicated to the worship of the sun, probably to be employed in processions (2 K. 23:4, 23:5, 23:11). Cp NATHAN-MELECH. It was not until the reformation in the 18th year of Josiah (B.C. 621) that measures were taken to root out this Babylonian astral worship (2 K. 23), owing to the influence of the book of Deuteronomy which contains special injunctions against the worship of the sun, moon, and stars (Dt. 17:2-3; cp 4:19).

Josiah's efforts, however, were by no means wholly successful. The new cult seems to have been largely embraced by private individuals, who worshipped the heavenly bodies upon the roofs of their houses, burning offerings and pouring out libations (Zeph. 1:5, Jer. 8:2, 19:13). More especially does the worship of the QUEEN OF HEAVEN (q.v.) - i.e., probably, Ishtar as a celestial goddess - appear to have enjoyed popularity among women 2 (Jer. 7:18). The reformation of Josiah, which must have been mainly concerned with public and national religious abuses, could not eradicate such private cults. Ezekiel (writing in the 6th year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, 591 B.C.), pictures the worship of the sun as carried on at Jerusalem within the Temple-court (Ezek. 8:16=17) 3 and, as Jeremiah assures us, even after the fall of Jerusalem the Jews still persisted in the worship of other gods, and especially of the queen of heaven (Jer. 44). The reference in Job 31:26-27 to the adoration of sun and moon by kissing of the hand sufficiently shows the danger which still beset the Jews when the poem of Job was written.

1 Also in 37:9, reading with Duhm, JS n for K13PI, and omitting n in Tirn. For the mezarim of the corresponding clause (EV 'north'), cp MAZZALOTH, and on this passage and on 38;31-38 see Che., JBL 17:103+ [1898].

2 See Che. Jer., his Life and Times, 198.

3 The 'holding of the branch to the nose', in worshipping the sun is commonly traced to a Persian origin. See, however, TAMMUZ.

5. Astrology.[edit]

The only distinct reference to astrology in the OT occurs in Is. 47:13, where the exilic writer, in predicting the imminent downfall of Babylon, advises her in mockery to resort to her astrologers, if perchance they may save her from the impending catastrophe. Several peculiar expressions are used (see 'Isa.' SBOT). The phrase 'dividers of the heavens' alludes to a division of the sky for the purposes of astrology, and the reference of 'the monthly prognosticators', or, 'those who make known at every new moon' seems to be to the official reports drawn up by the Babylonian astrologers to be sent in to the king month by month (see MAGIC, 3 [5]). Many such Assyrian reports are still extant, and one of them gives us an astrological calendar, each month or day of which is noted as being lucky or unlucky for the commence ment of a campaign, or for other operations. 1

The interest and importance of astrology to the Babylonians is well known. According to the Chaldean priest Berossus (quoted by Pliny, NH 7:57) astronomical observations had been carried on by the Babylonians for 490,000 years before his day. In the sixteenth century B.C., a great astrological work was drawn up on seventy clay tablets, and deposited in the library of Sargon of Agade (see Sayce in TSBA 145+).

The word D D2 N, ashshaphim, which (in its Aramaic as well as its Hebrew form) occurs several times in the Book of Daniel, is rendered 'astrologers' by AV (RV 'enchanters') ; but this interpretation is merely assumed. The word is of Assyrian origin (ashshapu, ashapu, etc.), and means rather sorcerer, charmer (COT on Dan. 2:4 ; Del. Proleg. 141 ; cp Syr. ashopha).

A late evidence of the celebrity of Babylonian astrology appears in the narrative of the Messiah's star in Mt. 2. [On the star cp NATIVITY, 18.] For whatever the description dir6 dcaroAcDc [.... anatoloon] ('from the East') may mean, the title magi (fidyot [magoi]: see ZOROASTRIANISM) implies that the lore of the wise men was Babylonian. The star which they saw at its rising (ei> rij avaroXfj [en te anatoloon]) was evidently such as to be regarded as a portent only by practised astrologers. Herod and 'all Jerusalem' appear not to have noticed the phenomenon until their interest was aroused by the inquiries of the strangers, and then the king had to 'inquire diligently' the time of the star's appearance. Thus the hypothesis which represents the star as a comet or new star of exceptional brilliancy may be considered to be excluded. Kepler (De J. Chr. servatoris nostri vero anno natalitio, 1605 A. D. ) thought of a close conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation Pisces, which occurred in the year 747 A.U.C. , and in this view he has found many followers (cp Ideler, Handb. d. Chronol. 2:399+). 2 A similar conjunction in the year 1463 A.D. led the Portuguese Rabbi Abarbanel (1437-1509) to infer (Comm. on Daniel) that the birth of the Messiah was shortly to be expected. J. H. Stockwell (Asfr. Jour. Nov. 26, 1892; quoted in Nature, Dec. 22, 1892) argues in favour of a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus which took place in the spring of 6 B.C.

It should be observed that the objection of Meyer (Comm. ad loc.), that the hypothesis of such a conjunction is excluded by the singular acrnjp [aster], is quite alien to the question, since the reference of 'his star' would not necessarily refer to the conjunction taken as a whole, but rather to one member of the conjunction, which, by its peculiar position, was calculated to cast the nativity of the King of the Jews.

For star-worship see further NATURE WORSHIP, 5. Cp Campbell Thomson, Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nin. and Bab. in the Brit. Mus. (1900).

C. F. B.

1 [

In Is. 47:13 W. Muss-Arnolt (AJSL 16:223 [1900]), developing an idea of Zimmern, would read D Dtt 3 C lan, 'those who scan the heavens', D "3 being regarded as = baru the Assyrian class-name for the soothsayers called seers. Another view, proposed in Crit. Bit., is to read line 2 of stanza 5 of the Song of Triumph thus,

'Let the spell-repeaters of Ishmael, the diviners of Jerahmeel, deliver thee',

supposing ^33 to mean the capital of Jerahmeel in N. Arabia.

T. K. C.]

2 See, on the other hand, the damaging criticism of this view by C. Pritchard in Smith's DS, 'Star of the Wise Men'; also Mem. Roy. As. Soc. 25.


The word cTATHp [stater] means properly a weight, and was used generally by the Greeks for the unit of weight, corresponding to the eastern shekel.

There is no reason to doubt the current derivation of the word from the root <rra-, to weigh ; the attempt to connect it with Ishtar (Jensen, ZA 14:183, and Johns, Assyr. Deeds and Documents, 2:284), apart from philological difficulties, rests on the assumption that money was originally coined in Nineveh, and that some early coin might bear the head or figure of the city goddess Ishtar.

The word is used in Mt. 17:27 (AV 'piece of money', RV 'shekel'), where it means a stater or four-drachm piece of the Phoenician standard. As regards the actual coin intended, it must have been a stater either of Tyre or of Antioch, since at the time concerned these were the only mints issuing coin of the right standard. Under SHEKEL (5) will be found an illustration of the silver didrachm or half-stater of Tyre ; the figure given here represents a silver stater of Antioch.

[picture of Stater of Antioch. goes here]'

The obverse bears the head of Augustus with the title KAI2APO2 2EBA2TOY [kaisaros sebastou]. On the reverse is a figure of the Fortune of the City of Antioch seated on a rock, wearing a mural crown, and holding a palm branch ; at her feet is the river-god Orontes, in the attitude of swimming, half-emerging from the waves. (This type is a copy of the famous group by the sculptor Eutychides set up soon after the foundation of Antioch.)

The coin is dated 'in the thirtieth year of victory' - i.e. , of the era of Actium - and 'in the thirteenth consulship of the emperor'; hence it belongs to the year 2-1 B.C. This specimen weighs 229.5 grs. troy. Others of other dates bear the name of Antioch ( A.vTio%fuv fj.TjTpoir<j\eus [antiocheoon metropooleoos]).

Staters or shekels are probably meant by the word apyvpia [arguria] used for the 'thirty pieces of silver' (Mt. 26:15, 27:3, 27:5).

That denarii (see PENNY, i) cannot be meant is proved by the analogy of Ex. 21:32 (thirty shekels of silver the price of a servant gored by an ox) and Zech. 11:12-13 (where denarii are out of the question). On the other hand, the 50,000 pieces of silver of Acts 19:19 (the value of the magical books) may have been denarii, as indeed the Vulgate translates them.

G. F. II.


(ph, ni?n ; v /ppn, 'to engrave', and so 'a statute, fixed by being engraven, or inscribed, on some durable surface', Dr. Dt. 62), Dt. 5:5, 8:11. See generally LAW LITERATURE; LAW AND JUSTICE.


For nL"n3, nehosheth; ntpnX nehoshah, see BRASS ; and for rTP$, peladoth, Nah. 2:3 [4Jt, see IRON, 2.


(crecJi&NAC [Ti. WH]), a member of the Corinthian church. His 'household' (cp the household of CAESAR [q.v.]), 'the first fruits of Achaia', had been baptized by Paul, and its members had afterwards distinguished themselves by the zeal with which they had set themselves to minister to the saints (1 Cor. 1:16, 16:15), the ministry intended being doubtless chiefly that of hospitality. Of Stephanas personally, all that we learn is that, along with Fortunatus and Achaicus, he had brought news to the apostle at Ephesus which had 'refreshed his spirit' (1 Cor. 16:17-18).


  • The narrative in Acts (1-2, 7)
  • The charge (3).
  • The speech (4-5).
  • Style of the narrative (8).
  • Significance of episode (9).
  • Bibliography (10).

Stephen (cTe(J><MMOc [stephanos]) in the NT is the name borne by an early Christian agent in Jerusalem, who was the first to suffer for his faith. As narrated in Acts (6:1-8:3, cp 11:19, 22:20) the pregnant and tragic episode of Stephen falls into three sections:

  • (a) the prologue (6:1-15), containing an account
    • (i.) of Stephen's appointment as one of the Seven, and
    • (ii.) of his subsequent arrest;
  • (b) the speech (7:1-53) which he is represented as having delivered upon that occasion; and
  • (c) the epilogue of his murder and its effects (7:54-8:3).

Although by common consent this narrative is regarded critically as undeniably historical, it requires to be subjected to a close analysis before it can be employed as evidence for its period.

1. Acts 6:1-7.[edit]

The isolated character of 6:1-6 [6:7] indicates that the editor here has a special source or tradition before him. Note the first occurrence of 'disciples', ^rfrai [mathetai], the solitary instance (in Acts) of 'the Twelve' (cp Lk. 8:1), the church still meeting as one small body (as against 4:4, 514), the conception of communal charity (cp COMMUNITY OF GOODS, 5, and O. Holtzmann, Ztschr. fur Kirchengesch. 14:327-336), and the strange position of the Seven (ACTS, 10) who, though ostensibly appointed to the delicate and responsible subordinate task of superintending charity and money-matters (see Field, Otium Norvicense, pars tertia, 1899, p. 113), really do as spiritual work 1 as the apostles (cp 6:8-9, 8:4-5, 21:8; Holtzmann, HC 1:2 [1901], 52-54). The irrelevant summary of 6:7 is certainly an editorial addition which, like 5:14, interrupts the run of the narrative. For the increase of the church has nothing to do with what immediately precedes, and the conversion of priests has no connection with what follows. 6:8-9 is the original and natural sequel to 6:1-6. 6:1-6 has, indeed, a retrospective glance. It sums up the primitive Jerusalem-period (18) of the history, as 67 - where otherwise the words 'in Jerusalem' (tv lepoi craAiy/u) would be superfluous - is meant definitely to show ; but its main object is prospective. The editor s aim is to introduce two new figures in Philip (8:4-39, see PHILIP) and especially Stephen (6:8-8:3), whose activities form the pivot of the next stage in the early church s history, as well as to connect Antioch (6:5, 11:19-21) with the new mission-impulse. There may be a dramatic touch in 6:1-2, where the preceding outward success of the young church is set beside the first sign of inner friction. Yet the immediate interest of the historian is not this juxtaposition or even the office of the Seven - a vague order, who drop out of sight at once - but with the man who was their most prominent member, and who found before long that his energy led to his arrest 6:8-15.

1 The pragmatism of the editor is shown in 6:6 where he suggests that the apostles ratification was needed for every new office and departure (cp 13:1-3) in the church (even though in this case the recipients of their blessing were already full of the Spirit, v. 5), and that those who afterwards became preachers to the Gentiles were sanctioned by the heads of the Christian community. It is certainly not Stephen's efforts in charity organisation which involve him in the controversy of 6:9. On the other hand, the incident of this internal discussion and its satisfactory treatment indicates not merely a certain liberality of spirit - however tardy - on the part of the Hebraist majority but also an absence of ecclesiastical pretension on the part of the apostles, since their action showed that the church was to be a church indeed: 'not a mere horde of man ruled absolutely by the Apostles, but a true body politic, in which different functions were assigned to different members' (Hort, Christian Ecclesia, 52). Both of these ideas were probably present to the editor of Acts (cp CHURCH, 11). Cp also 1 Pet. 4:11.

Like some or all, perhaps, of his fellow-officials Stephen was probably a Hellenist - i.e., a Greek-speaking Jew resident in some Greek city (HELLENISM, 2) and it is significant that his opponents (probably including Paul himself, 22:3) came from his compatriots (see LIBERTINES, DISPERSION, 17-18, 22, CILICIA, 3, PROSELYTE, 3-4, also the Lucan touch in Lk. 21:16, ('delivered up by kinsmen'). The circumstances of their origin rendered Hellenists often somewhat suspect in the eyes of rigid Palestinian Jews. Hence, by the operation of a common psychological law, many of them - so far from being more liberal and open-minded - cultivated exceptional strictness and suspiciousness in the practice of their religion. Just as the convert frequently outdoes those born in the faith by his eager zeal to accentuate the difference Iretween his past and his present, so Hellenists were by no means ipso facto emancipated from the particularism of the Jewish faith. Their 'colonial life' did not naturally create an atmosphere in which 'the hard lines faded and the ideal depths were opened'. 1 In practice and theory, as the subsequent narrative shows (cp 9:29, 21:27, 22:3-4), they often attached themselves to the most pronounced and bigoted habits of Judaism practised by the Pharisees. And this throws light at once upon their antipathy to Stephen, who perhaps had set himself to labour among his former associates (6:9-10), no less than upon his own exceptional character. To their scrupulous conscience he appeared a renegade, a discredit to them personally and a revolutionary force within the religious praxis of the nation. They were the first to detect and challenge this liberal preacher, and their antagonism proves that his wider outlook and unique grasp of the spirituality of religion were by no means an inevitable product of his training. As in the case of Paul, so with Stephen : Hellenism furnished merely the soil of the religious growth (6:5, 6:8, 6:10).

2. Acts 6:8-15[edit]

The dual nature of the narrative in 6:8-15, fluctuating between the riotous justice of a mob and a trial before the Sanhedrin, is patent. 2 As almost all the critical editors are agreed, the conception of a trial is editorial or subordinate, and the alternatives are to regard the passage as a combination of two sources or as a single source edited and modified. In the case of a single source, the alterations and additions (possibly due to a correct enough impression of the speech and situation) are to be found in vv. 11-12 (13), 15 (in whole or part); so e.g., Weiss, Wendt, and Moffatt. In the case of two sources, it is most tempting to agree with those (Spitta, J. Weiss, Hilgenfeld) who find the second (inferior) source in 12b-15 (12b-14, Jungst). The isolated allusion to miracles in v. 8, and the better connection of v. 9 with either v. 5 or v. 7, suggest that v. 8 is also editorial. {3} Why the Sanhedrin-notion was introduced, it is not easy to say. Probably the editor regarded the Sanhedrin as the representative body of the Jews, just as he concluded the apostles to stand for the Christian community, and considered that here as hitherto any Jewish prosecution must proceed from or at least through them, to be judicial and regular. Whether this idea was purely pragmatic, or based upon some independent oral tradition which alluded to an appearance of Stephen before the Sanhedrin, or an inference from the role undoubtedly played by it in the subsequent persecution, we are not able to determine. The slight obscurity resting on the details shows that the editor's distance from the period prevented him from supplementing in strictly accurate fashion the gaps in his source. Fortunately the haze does not blur the main outlines of what happened: Stephen's arrest was the result of a popular emeute [french], which restrained itself just long enough to allow him to defend himself before a suspicious and exasperated audience, which numbered - perhaps unofficially - several members of the Sanhedrin.

1 Martineau (Seat of Authority, 631), who goes on, however, to point out that the fusion of Jewish and heathen thought in Hellenistic culture could not of itself have produced the Christian universalism. That reaches back, past Stephen, to Jesus and 'his infinite longing to open the soul of man to the life in God, unhindered by the mediation of priest and ritual. Thus the fountain of catholicity is in no confluence of philosophic, no combination of external conditions, but in the unique personality of Jesus of Nazareth'.

2 Similarly in the account given by Josephus (Ant. 20:9-10) of James's murder some thirty years later (see JAMES. 3; and von Dobschutz, Die Urchristlichen Gemeinden (1902), 110-111, 121-122, 272). It is curious that these two martyrs, who represented the opposite wings of early Christian sentiment, should die - or be represented as dying - in somewhat similar fashion.

3 Bacon drastically regards 6:11-7:1 (reproducing Mk. 14:55-60), 7:55-56, 7:58a-60, 8:1a, 8:1c, 8:3 (reproducing Acts 22:4-5, 22:20, 26:10, Lk. 22:59, 23:34, 23:46) as editorial modifications added to bring the speech into line with the general Lucan scheme; whilst the reference to miracles in 6:8 has been substituted for the substance of 9:29 (unhistorically - cp Gal. 1:21-24 - transferred to Paul), and the words 'and of them of Cilicia and Asia' (cac ntv on-b KiAiictas cai Ao-iat [kai toon apo kilikias kai asias]) in 6:9 are an editorial (cp 7:58, 8:1) addition to a source which knew of only one synagogue (i.e., an Alexandrian or North African one).

3. The charge against Stephen.[edit]

Stephen's persistent propaganda had created quite a new situation. The people (6:12, cp 2:47, 5:13) were now up in arms against Christianity, and the was both grave and religious. Whether 6:11 or 6:13-14 be take as the original source, the accusation was that of rank blasphemy against the Mosaic law and the temple-cultus. To rigid high-churchmen, like these Pharisaic Hellenists (cp APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE, 56, 58), and indeed to the people as a whole, especially in the capital, where prejudices naturally ran hot and hard, it seemed a horrid impiety to suggest that these ancestral privileges (law and cultus) were neither final nor absolutely essential means of grace. Stephen had probably appealed to the authority of certain familiar sayings of Jesus, analogous to, if not identical with, those cited in Mk. 7:13-23, 13:2, 14:58 (cp 15:29 ||.) 1 Without suggesting that Stephen spoke disrespectfully of the law or of the temple 2 - which would have been untrue to the spirit of Jesus (particularly when Lk. had expressly maintained the genuinely Jewish piety of Jesus and his attendance on the temple, Lk. 2:22-49), as well as out of keeping with the normal tone of contemporary Christianity - Lk. implies that Stephen had assumed an attitude less of antagonism than of comparative indifference to such national institutions, refusing to treat (e.g.) the sacrificial system as of absolute validity for Jews who believed in a Messiah about to return and establish a spiritual era. Zealots are angered as much by a refusal to echo their beliefs to the letter as by deliberate opposition; to ignore their tenets is as keen an insult as to attack them ; and it is a fair inference from the historical data to assume that the negative and positive aspects of Stephen's preaching were alike interpreted by the sterner fanatics as a danger and a defection. Their fierce attachment resented his looser attitude as bitterly as a Roman procurator's public insults. Like one of their number, who afterwards recanted, they were shrewd enough to anticipate disastrous consequences to Judaism, if such liberal ideas prevailed (Gal. 1:3-14).

1 Cp Keim, J. v. Naz. (ET), 1:71-72, 5:226-230. There can be little doubt (but cp SON OF MAN) that Jesus did actually anticipate a messianic triumph for himself which involved at his return the downfall, not merely the supersession, of the Jewish temple ; and yet a passage like Rev. 11:1-2. indicates how unable certain Judaistic circles of primitive Christianity were to sympathise with this outlook. It is true that, even beyond the Essenes (ESSENES, 5), there were abroad in Judaism movements of thought which attached quite a subordinate value to the sacrificial cultus and the temple itself (cp Holtzmann, NT Theol. 1:104-105, 1:391-392). These, however, could hardly be verv influential in Jerusalem, although the Alexandrian culture of Stephen probably made him susceptible to such tendencies parallel with the teaching of Jesus. He does not notice, what a modern reader would be impressed by, that the very temple in question (6:13) had been erected by a man whose sympathies could not be termed - in any sense of the term - Jewish by conviction (see ISRAEL, 88). A rather ancient reading which adds, after 'nation' (e#>>os [ethnos]) in Lk. 23:2, 'and destroying the law and the prophets' (xai KaraAuoi Ta TOV vo^ov K.a.1 TOI>S 7rpo</>iJTas [kai kataluonta ton nomon kai tous prophetas]) - is found not only in some Latin MSS but also in Marcion.

2 The greater prominence assigned to the temple in Stephen s oration is due historically to the fact that Jesus, to whom he appealed as his authority, had - once at least - spoken more explicitly upon the cultus than upon the law, and intrinsically to the fact that the one involved the other. Since the exile 'the cultus was but a portion of the law, to be minutely maintained no doubt, but maintained because the law ordained it. God's glory and Israel s were realised, not in the temple-worship, but in the fulfilment of the law of which that worship was but a part' (Montefiore, Hibbert Lect. 387). Notice that if Lk. omits Mt. 17:24-27 he also omits Mt. 12:6. On the early Christian conception of God's spirituality and the universalism it implied, see Titius, Die Vulgare Anschauung von der Seligkeit im Urchrist. 8-9. (1900).

4 The Speech: its nature.[edit]

In its extant form the speech put into the mouth of

Stephen is, like the other addresses of Acts, the composition of an author who possesses considerable historical insight into his subject ; the diction, style, and general standpoint of the address are sufficient to show its Lucan colouring and ability (cp 13:16-41, and the frequent analogies to Lk. 1-2, Acts 7:48 = 17:24, etc.). In the nature of the case, too, it is impossible to think of hearers taking down a verbatim report, or of the author having access to such archives of the court as furnished later martyrologists with graphic and accurate details of a Christian s last defence and struggles. But, from the verisimilitude of the contents as a whole 1 and the points which differentiate it alike from Petrine and from Pauline speeches, it is plain that the source drawn upon by the editor, to say nothing of such oral traditions (from Paul and other eye-witnesses, like Philip) as may have reached him, must have sprung from the vivid memories of some early Christians, possibly Hellenistic refugees at Antioch or Caesarea ; judged on the principles of comparative historical criticism, the speech therefore takes high rank as substantially exact. It is not difficult to suppose that so memorable a death - memorable for its consequences to the early church, as well as for its intrinsic details - made an exceptionally deep impression upon contemporaries, 2 and that this impression passed rapidly into some literary shape. Certainly the speech, as it stands, does not give one the impression of an unpremeditated reply, and (as many scholars have noticed) it hardly lies in line with the historical situation presupposed, even when the latter is critically analysed. But though the report is probably inadequate, it echoes an impromptu survey of history delivered from a familiar position. Elaborate rather than extempore, yet with gaps for all its elaborateness, it is an outline or authentic summary, representing in all likelihood ideas often repeated by Stephen in his synagogue-preaching as he encountered objections urged by people who, in ostentatious reliance upon the authority of Moses, found the rejection of Jesus by his nation an insuperable barrier to faith in him as the true Messiah, and also cavilled at his attitude towards the ancestral law and temple of the land. The speaker does not seize the occasion to preach repentance to the audience. Nor docs he even attempt to clear himself specifically from the charges brought against him, being sensible from the first that the case was hopeless. His aim is to say all he has to say, 3 and he manages to do this by giving a reading of history in the light of religious experience - a light that is intensified as the speech proceeds, and hurriedly closes with a flash of lightning.

1 'In psychological truth it has not its like in all Acts' (Spitta, 117). At the same time this long speech, the longest in the whole book, is evidently meant and (less evidently) arranged by the author to subserve the general apologetic motives of the volume. The writer s sense of the situation and the literary ability he displays here are the kind of evidence which makes it not irrelevant to say that Acts is 'the only one of the NT books which anyone would think of calling clever' (W. H. Simcox, Early Church History, 41).

2 It is certain, however, that Stephen died under the stones. The narrative lends no support to the idea (Wendt) that he recovered (cp 14:19-20) in time to breathe his last among pious Christians who heard him repeat his testimony. The devout men who buried him were, in all likelihood, respectable Jews who had little or no sympathy with the fanatical excesses of their fellow-citizens.

3 Consonant with the Lucan idea of Lk. 21:13, where the sense of Mk. 13:9 is altered into that of arrest giving an opportunity for witnessing to the gospel.

5. Midrashic elements.[edit]

In several details of this speech, as elsewhere, Acts illustrates the midrashic tendency which had already embellished OT stories with rabbinic modifications and enlargements (see CHRONICLES, 6, HISTORICAL LITERATURE, 14-15). No significance attaches to the apparent confusion of Horeb and Sinai (7:29-30, cp Ex. 3:1 ; MIDIAN, SINAI), the use of the round number 400 in v. 6 (as occasionally in Josephus), the divergence between 7:29 and Ex. 2:14-15 (cp Heb. 11:27), the loose version of 2 S. 7:2-3 in Acts 7:46 and of Ex. 1:16, 1:22 in Acts 7:19, or the alteration of Damascus into Babylon (v. 43). Other variations and innovations,! however, are more serious. Thus

  • (a) in 7:2 the theophany to Abraham is antedated (as by Philo and Josephus), nor can an interpolation (Blass, St. Kr. 1896, 460-461) be suspected;
  • (b) Terah's initiative is ignored and his death antedated in 7:4 (as in Philo ; see rabbinic traditions cited by Hamburger on this point);
  • (c) Jacob's family is numbered (v. 14) not after the Massoretic (70 = Gen. 46:27, Ex. 1:5) but after the LXX text (75 : known already to Philo);
  • (d) Shechem is confused (v. 16) with Machpelah in Hebron, and all the patriarchs - instead of Joseph only - buried at Shochem (perhaps a Lucan home-thrust [see GOSPELS, 109) at the contempt felt by rigid Jews for the Samaritans; see Lk. 9:51, 10:33, 17:11, Acts 1:8, 8:4-5), a curious divergence not only from the OT narrative but even from the tradition followed by Josephus who buries them all at Hebron (Ant. 2:8:2);
  • (e) vv. 20-24 are tinged with the Jewish legends (MOSES, 20-21), current also in Philo and Josephus, upon Moses' beauty, eloquence (in contradiction to Ex. 4:10-11), wisdom, and martial prowess, v. 25 (acquitting Moses of rash violence and making his chivalrous interference the first step in the deliverance) being reproduced from the tradition in Philo, Vit. Mis. 1:8-9 and Jos. Ant. 2:9:2-3;
  • (f) the rabbinic division of the lawgiver's life into three periods of forty years each, is followed in vv. 23, 36;
  • (g) the 'Red Sea' (v. 36) is an Alexandrian touch (Wisd. 10:18, 19:7, 1 Macc. 4:2, Heb. 11:29), taken evidently from Ass. Moses 8:10-11 'nonne hoc est quod testabatur nobis tum Moyses in profetiis, qui multa passus est in Aegypto et in mari rubro et in eremo annos quadraginta';
  • (h) the association of angelic agency with the law (7:36, 7:53), though free from the depreciatory spirit of Gal. 3:29, Heb. 2:2, etc., is like them (cp Everling, Die paul. Angelologie, 61-65) due to the rabbinic development of Dt. 33:2, LXX (cp Jos. Ant. 15:5:3); and
  • (i) the citation from Amos in vv. 42-43 reproduces the mistranslation of an obscure and corrupt original (cp AMOS, 13, CHIUN, MOLECH, 1), Stephen arguing - in opposition to the normal and traditional view - that while the wilderness period had its divine means of grace (v. 44), it was yet a period of idolatry and apostasy punished by the Exile.

Such phenomena, though quite minor in importance, indicate a speaker or an author who is drawing upon his memory of popular religious tales and has been trained in the spirit of that Alexandrian Judaism which, for all its reverence, could sit wonderfully free to the letter and even the traditions of the OT records.

6. Contents.[edit]

In his brilliant and skilful address (7:2-8, 7:9-16, 7:17-43, 7:44, 7:51-53), Stephen urges one or two extremely effective and apposite arguments, which amount to a counter-accusation against his opponents. In the opening sketch of patriarchal history, which is quite in keeping with the sententious and discursive style often affected by Orientals in unfolding some grave issue, the speaker is mainly concerned to explain the origin of the covenant and promise 2 which culminated in the Mosaic legislation and the Solomonic temple. But he manages indirectly to express his personal reverence for God (6:11, cp 7:2, 7:55) and the temple (6:13, cp 7:7), as well as the common ancestry of Jew and Christian alike (our father, 7:2, cp 7:12, etc., also Lk. 17:3). Then comes the development of two leading ideas ; one already suggested, the other novel, yet both showing his desire to justify himself by an appeal to the original basis and trend of OT revelation.

1 The use of eic;cAT)<ria [ekklesia] (7:38, cp 8:1, 8:3) is deliberate. The author hints at the normal position of the early Christians, who never dreamed of founding a sect but of continuing and developing the ancient people of God - to whom they served themselves as lineal heirs.

2 Cp Rom. 9:4 'Israelites, whose is the glory [Acts 7:2] and the covenants [cp Acts 7:8] and the giving of the law [Acts 7:38, 7:53], and the [divine] service [Acts 7:7] and the promises [Acts 7:5]' - ( IcrpaJjAirai, ii/ 17 Sofa, icai at 5iaSrjicai, icai 17 co/u.o#cria, icai >) Aarpeiaicai ai eTrayyeAiai). The allusion to the other prerogative of the 'inheritance' (^ icArjpoi o^i a [e kleronomia], Acts 7:5) is too incidental to afford any basis for a theory (Bacon) which regards this section in the speech as an attempt to show the Alexandrian spiritualising of the territorial inheritance into a non-local worship (Lk. 1:73-75). 7:5 is answered by 7:45. Stephen does not, like the author of Ep. Barn., spiritualise the inheritance by denying any local material fulfilment of it; he merely argues that, however real, the local and national culmination of it in the history of Israel was not final, implying that its fulfilment lay in the far future (cp Heb. 4:1-2, 4:8-11).

(a) Charged with depreciating the temple, he argues (7:40-43, 7:44-50) that neither law nor temple had come until comparatively late in the national history, the temple in fact only in Solomon s reign ; yet, previously to that, the spiritual revelation of God had been carried on in foreign lands (for Abraham, v. 2, Moses, vv. 30, 33, and Israel, v. 38). Even the temple itself, as the prophets testified, formed no adequate or absolute medium for such a spiritual revelation (the tacit inference being, of course, that it could not therefore be any blasphemy or treachery to OT religion to assert, as Jesus had done, that even the temple was not indispensable or final). 1

And as for the law of Moses (b), with its divine vitality and power (to which, answering 6:13-14, Stephen does ample justice, 7:38, 7:53), not only had it, like the temple, been preceded by revelations (e.g., of circumcision), but its founder had been misunderstood (7:25 Lk. 2:50), rejected, and thwarted by the very people (in Egypt 7:24-35, in the wilderness 7:36-39) to whom God had sent him as ruler and redeemer. Thankless, perverse, and obtuse: such had been their nature all along. Hence their failure to welcome Jesus with his authority and creative power to establish a. new and final form of worship which should correspond to the ideal of the OT. This resistance, so far from being loyalty to religion, spelt both unfaithfulness and disaster to it, representing indeed a conservatism to the letter and the form of religion which the fresh and fuller current of the spirit would leave stranded. Moses predicted 2 that the Messiah would be a second Moses, and Stephen argues vehemently (in quite a characteristic Lucan fashion, cp Lk. 16:29-30, 24:2728, Acts 28:23, etc.) that the true observance of the Law would lead its devotees to Jesus (7:51-53): real loyalty to the Law and the prophets culminates in Christian faith, the line of continuity running from the OT prophets to the gospel of Christ. Whereas, he grimly suggests, Jesus had been indeed a second Moses: 3 his rejection, due to the same obstinacy and rebellious spirit (7:51-52) that Moses and his successors {4} (7:52) encountered, is really a proof of his genuine Messiahship. In short, the argument ends with a flashing retort. Stephen hurls back the charge of disloyalty on his accusers, implying, in characteristically Alexandrian and yet also in OT fashion, that the Jewish rejection of Jesus was an integral part of the sensuous temper and externalism with which they had all along been blind and dull to the spiritual significance of the Law and the prophets. 1 Circumcision they had had ; but it had brought no moral devotion (7:8, 7:58). Prophets they had had ; yet only to disbelieve and persecute (7:37, 7:42, 7:48, 7:52). A spiritual and heavenly law (\uyia ftDira [logia zoonta], 'vim vitalem habentes', Blass) they had received ; 2 yet only to prove unfaithful to it (7:38-39, 7:53) by turning it into a dead letter.

1 Stephen's reference to the Solomonic temple is curt and cool, but intended to depict its relative worth rather than its utter incompatibility with OT religion. His point, driven home by the citation from Is. 66:1-2, is that God is not bound to the temple in Jerusalem, but free to reveal himself in wider and less external ways ; compared to the spiritual worship of God given by Jesus (7:41, 7:48), even the temple service is merely another golden calf. It is obvious that, in a book circulated after 70 A.D., this line of argument would be specially apt, proving that the destruction of the temple was no irreparable loss to religion.

2 v. 37 is of cardinal moment to the argument of the speech in its extant form, since it destroys the Jewish claim that the Mosaic cultus and legislation were final. The prophet-Messiah, as a second Moses, at least equal to the first in authority, must have the right to supersede or transcend previous revelations. True, the Jews had rejected him whom Stephen claimed as the true Messiah. But that was no decisive argument against him, for they had done the same to the first Moses. Thus, although v. 37 has all the appearance of a parenthesis or editorial addition of Lk., even so it would only sharpen an idea already present in the original and (like 6:11) reflect a correct reading of the primitive source.

3 So the Lucan addition (7:10) 'and wisdom' icai <ro$ioM [kai sophian] (cp 7:22)= Lk. 2:40, 2:52 (Bacon)? The idea dominates the Clementine Recognitions (e.g., 1:35). Cp Acts 3:13-14 = 7:35 (Lk. 6:22-23). Of course the Messianic interpretation of Dt. 18:15-16, reproduced in Acts 7:37, is a misapplication of the original sense, which refers not to an individual but to a succession or order of prophets in Israel.

4 Why the prophets (7:42-52)? Because (WRS, OTJC, 294-295) they had vainly but vigorously protested against the formal tendencies of OT piety which with the temple became crystallised into yet more ceremonial worship. Without pronouncing the establishment of the temple itself a fresh token of the nation's sensuous bias, the speaker plainly hints that the Levitical ritual had thereby acquired a fatal prominence which tended to obliterate that spiritual worship for which the prophets stood, and to produce the further effect of rendering the worshippers incapable of estimating God s better and spiritual revelation.

7. Acts 7:54-8:3.[edit]

As we possess only an epitome of the speech, it is useless to inquire whether vv. 51-53 3 imply some interruption on the part of the angry audience, now awakening to the speaker's drift, or whether some part of the source has been omitted by the editor (Schwanbeck). The words are abrupt and final. This curt, stinging thrust, which formed the climax of the harangue, roused a heat of anger in the audience which, at Stephen's further blasphemous cry (7:56), passed into a scream of horror. Nothing is said about any formal conviction before the Sanhedrin. The offender is simply stoned to death outside the city - the regular method and place of punishment for blasphemy (Lev. 24:14-16, cp Lk. 4:29).

For the Jews to put any criminal thus to death upon their own responsibility was utterly illegal (cp Jn. 18:31) ; and the difficulty of the story is enhanced by the absence of any explicit evidence to show that a year or two after the death of Jesus Roman authority in the capital was seriously relaxed, or that - as afterwards (61-62 A. D.) at the murder of James the brother of Jesus - an interregnum between two procurators was taken advantage of, or that the sentence of the Sanhedrin was formally connived at, if not ratified, by the Roman officials. At the same time, the broad unquestionable fact that the Jews proceeded to persecute the Christians without hindrance, whilst the Christians not merely fled from Jerusalem, where the Roman power was strong, but never had recourse to the civil power as a shield against their tormentors, suggests that the Jewish authorities must have had some sanction or other 4 for their outburst, although the historian - wishing perhaps 5 to convey the impression that such violence was illegal - has failed to notice it. The fairest solution of the critical problem is to suppose that Stephen perished in a fanatical riot, the account of which ended with 8:2. The editor, however, has added not merely 6:11-12, 6:15 but also 7:58, 8:1b, 3 to the original source, drawing in the latter interpolations upon a tradition which was no doubt accurate.

1 Stephen makes no attempt to explain the cause of this obduracy. He seems to regard it as innate. In Ep. Barn. 9-10, where the allegorical interpretation of the Mosaic customs is propounded as their original sense, the failure of the Jews to apprehend this is attributed to the influence of an evil angel (eo-d(iei> aiirous [esophizen autous]) and to their lapse into idolatry. Stephen's speech, upon the other hand (as Sabatier rightly points out), is at once the complement and the development of Jesus parable in Lk. 20:9-10. As a historical retrospect it is unduly severe; but as a word for the immediate situation of the speaker it possessed a telling force. The thought of 7:51-52 is remarkably in line (cp O. Holtzmann, Leben Jesu, 336) with Lk. 13:34-35 (cp 11:49), where Jesus speaks in the name of God, who has repeatedly sent messengers to the Jews, and finally the Messiah, only to meet the same fate. See Ep. Barn. 5:11 'So the Son of God came in the flesh in order that he might sum up and complete the sins of those who persecuted his prophets to the death'.

2 Stephen does not go nearly as far as Ep. Barn. (4:6-8) which flatly denies that the Jews possessed the real law of God : 'ours it is, they lost it' by the idolatrous aberration mentioned in Acts 7:39-41. He distinctly upholds the living authority of the Law (in contrast to Paul, Gal. 3:21); only, whilst Ep. Barn. 14:1-4 denies that the Jews ever got this divine covenant, Stephen argues that they got it and failed to keep it (Acts 7:53). So 4 Esd. 14:29-30 from the Jewish standpoint: 'our fathers received the law of life which they kept not, which ye also have transgressed after them'; also Acts 15:10.

3 Lucan close to original (48-50), Holtzmann, ZWT (1885), 434-438. McGiffert finds in them the theme of the speech, viz., that temple-worship is not enough, demanding obedient and spiritual hearts among the worshippers. But there is nothing distinctively Christian in such an attitude.

4 Though this finds no support in the words 'I gave my vote', Ka-nlveyKa. i//rj<J>oi> [katenegka psephou] (26:10), which are merely a rhetorically vivid expression of agreement (8:1). Paul was not a member of the Sanhedrin.

5 Consonant with his usual tendency to emphasise the Jews as the real enemies of the faith and to avoid blaming the Roman authorities. The first martyrdom of Christianity was brought about by false evidence and tumultuous justice on the part of the Jewish authorities (as 12:1-2, etc.), and betokened no collision of the Roman authorities with the new faith.

The editorial hand, or a different source, in at least 7:58, 81b, 8:3 is widely recognised e- .g. by Bleek, Weiss (adding 7:55, 7:59b-c), Clemen, Sorof, Kruger (TLZ, 1885, 299), Wendt, Hilgenfeld (adding 7:56, :759), Schmiedel (ACTS, 10), Moffatt (Historical New Test., 429, 431, 667-670), and Bacon. Originally the source (58-59) ran 'they stoned Stephen', etc. (i\i.Q ofio\ovv rbv "Zretyavov K.T.\. [elithobolou ton stephanon k. t. l.]); the insertion of 7:58b left 'stoned' without an object, and necessitated its repetition awkwardly in 7:59. Again 8:1a is obviously parenthetic, whilst 8:3 repeats the proleptic 8:1b-c unless the latter be also excised (as by Weiss and Schmiedel). It is plain that Stephen died, not on the testimony of witnesses (6:13, 7:58b), but on account of his own recent word and confession. The references to Saul, which are quite authentic, link the source to what follows, and it is needless to dwell on the dramatic effect 1 of this silent figure watching the opening struggle of a campaign in which he himself was presently to play so diverse and prominent a part. 2 A similar result in general is reached by those who bisect the whole narrative - e.g. , Feine (6:1-6, 6:12-14, 7:2-21, 7:29-34, 7:44-50, 7:57-58, 8:1a, 8:3 with 6:11, 6:15, 7:22-28, 7;35-43, 7:51-53, 7:54-56, 7:59-60, 8:1b-2), Jungst (6:9-10, 6:12c-14, 7:1-21, 7:29-34, 7:44-50, 7:58b-60, 8:1b-c, with 6:1-6, 6:7b-8, 6:11, 6:15, 7:22-28, 7:35-43, 7:51-58a, 8:1a, 8:2-3), and Spitta (6:1-6, 6:9-12a, 7:2-54, 7:57-58a, 8:1b-2, with 6:7-8, 6:12b-15, 7:1, 7:55-56, 7:58b-60, 8:1a, 8:3), or by less radical investigators such as Blass (7:59b, a Lucan touch) and Ramsay (7:58, 8:1, Lucan touches reproducing Paul's agonised confession when Philip narrated the episode, 6:9-8:39, at Caesarea). If one is disinclined to follow those who (Spitta, J. Weiss, Hilgenfeld, etc.) adhere to the substantial integrity, as to the historicity, of the speech, the most tenable alternative is to consider that it represents a single source more or less edited (B. Weiss, Wendt, Holtzmann): it is quite in keeping with the author's practice in the third gospel (Wernle, Synoptische Frage, 18, cp 146) to deal more freely with narratives than with discourses in the traditional materials which lay before him.

1 The whole story is full of admirable effects produced by an author who could write effectively as well as piously ; e.g., the literary art shown in the sonorous opening of the speech, dramatic touches like the glow of 6:15, 'they understood not, and kept it not', and 'he fell asleep' (contrasting this death with the three already mentioned, viz., Judas, Ananias, and Sapphira), the vision of 7:59 with Jesus standing (not 'sitting' as usual) to welcome his martyr (cp Rev. 5:6), the contrast of Stephen s denunciation and his forgiving spirit, and the oratorical handling of the various themes in the harangue. 7:59-60 seems to echo a belief that the spirits of the dead (especially the martyrs) passed directly to God : cp Titius, 45 ; Schur. Hist. 2:2:180.

2 See PAUL, 7. Mommsen (ZNW, 1901, 8:5-6), taking fv T<J yeVei fj.ov [en too genei mou] (Gal. 1:14) in its local sense ( = birthplace, cp Acts 4:26, 18:2, 18:24), considers that Paul directed his attack upon the separatist's (including e.g., Andronicus and Junias? Rom. 16:7) in Tarsus; which gives a good sense to Gal. 1:22, but hardly fits in with Acts 8:3, 9:1-2 In a famous passage (Essay on 'Secret Societies', Works [1863] 6:285-2P9) de Quincey discusses the uneasiness and fascination stirred by such martyrdoms in some of the more thoughtful spectators, and argues that the radiant countenance of Stephen 'bringing down to earth some revelation of a brightness in the sky, the fountains of which were intercepted to Paul, perplexed him ; haunted him sleeping, troubled him when awake. . . . Upon this we may be sure that Paul brooded intensely, and that the noonday scene on the road to Damascus did but quicken and ante-date a result which would at any rate have followed in the end'. [Cp col. 4081-4082] The psychological nexus, alluded to in this passage, is reflected in the narratives of Acts, and probably formed one of the subordinate aims which the writer had in view as he fused the Stephen-source and the Pauline tradition together. See further below.

8. Linguistic features of narrative.[edit]

The chief linguistic terms characteristic of 6:1-8:3 (especially in the speech), which do not recur elsewhere either in Acts or in the rest of the NT literature, are:- 'defend', taju.vV<o [amynoo] (7:24); 'murder', t<*vai pe<7is [anairesis] (8:1); 'resist', \iam.-aiwria [antipiptoo] (7:51) ; 'uncircumcised', tairpiTfir)TO? [aperitmetos] (7:51); 'gnash', ^pv\ta [brychoo] (7:54) : 'come after', 6ia6V\onai [diadechomai] (7:45); 'umpire', t<5iica<rr>js [dikastes] (7:27, 7:35); 'expose', eicOtTOj [ekthetos] (7:19); 'coming', eA*uo-is [eleusis] (7:52): 'thrust out', <fw0eui [exootheoo] (7:45 [7:29, 7:39-40]), 'beyond', fArAwM aC^a) [epekeina], 'daily', KaOrjfj.epi.i 6<; [kathemerinos] (6:1); 'ill-usage', i icdKuMTis [kakoosis] (7:34); 'deal craftily', tKaTaoro^u ^o^ai [katasophizomai] (7:19); 'possession', t<taT<i<rxe<ri5 [kataschesis] (7:5, 7:45); 'lamentation', to:reTds [kopetos] (8:2); 'ravage', Av/uaiVofiai [lymainomai] (8:3); 'redeemer', i \vTponrjs [lytrootes] (7:35 ; cp Heb. 9:12, Lk. 1:68, 2:38); 'remove', t/u.eTotKt ii> [metoikizoo] (7:4, 7:43); 'make a calf', /oiocr^orroieaj [moschopoieoo] (7:41); 'neglect', jrapatowpe w [paratheooreoo] (6:1); 'corn', tririov [sition] (7:12); 'stiffnecked', t ricArjpoTpdx iAos [stelerotrachelos] (7:51) ; 'stir up', <ruyii * [sygkineoo] (6:12); 'bury', (Tayt^fuftt [sygkomizoo] (8:2) ; 'set at one', truyoAAdcro-io [synallassoo] (7:26); 'slain beast', t r</>ayiof [sphagion] (7:42); 'suborn', V7roj3dAAu> [hypoballoo] (6:11); 'sustenance', t (dpTacr/na [hyortasma] (711); 'buy', twveo/xai [ooneomai] (7:16) ; 'appeared', ]<a<l>0ri [oophthe] (if sudden human appearance, 7:26). Of these 31, no fewer than 18 (marked t) come from the LXX or Philo, a fact which (especially as the citations are loose and unintentional) corroborates the impression of Hellenistic or Alexandrian colour. 1 Even more remarkable is the absence of such distinctively Lucan traits as av [an] with optative, Se xai [de kai], eyeVeTO [egeneta] with infinitive, iv T<U [en too] with infinitive, na.9 rinepav [kath emeran], KO.I aiiros [kai autos], opd/uari [onomati], fa? [pas] (aTras [apas]) n Aads [o laos], TI [tis] with a noun, and TO [to] or TO [ta] before prepositions.

At the same time, the Lucan phraseology of the passage shows that if a written source underlies the record it has been worked over 2 by the editor: see the following favourite or characteristic Lucan traits (words peculiar to Lk.-Acts. marked with an asterisk) - 'holy', ayios [hagios] (6:13, 7:33); 'bring' ayw [agoo] (6:12); [avayw [anagoo] 7:41]; 'bring up' avaTpfew [*anatrethoo] (7:20); 'men brethren', avopfs a$cA$ot [anores adelphoi] (7:2); 'look steadily', ireviia [atenizoo] (16:15, 7:55); 'till', d^pi [achri] (7:18) ; 'and there arose', iyivtro Se [egenta de] (8:1); 'babe' [sic?], /Spe ^o? [brephos] (7:19); 'ministry', Siaxovia [diakonia]. (6:1, 6:4); 'open', Siavoiyia [dianoigoo] (7:56); 'cut', *Sianpiu> [*diaprioo] (7:54); 'scatter abroad', *6ia<rirei piij [*diaspeiroo] (8:1); 'arrange', S(.a.Ta<T<ru> [diatassoo] (7:44) ; 'just', iueoios [*dikaios] (Messianic title, 3:14, 7:52, 22:14); 'seventy', *e0SofxrjicorTa [*hebdomekonta] (7:14); eijui [eiri] with dative (7:5, 7:44); flney &e [eipen] (7:1, 7:33); 'expose', *TI O>?JUII [*ektithemi] (7:21); 'before', evioiriov [enoopion] (6:5-6, 7:46); 'the following [day]', *TJj CTTIOUOT; [*te epiouse] [r/jue pa [emera]] (7:26); 'in those days', iv Tais ^/ae pais Taurais [en tais emerais tautais] (6:1); 'send forth', ef<X7rocTTAAu> [hexapostelloo] (7:12); 'year', 1 CTOS [etos] (7:6, 7:34, 7:42); 'devout', *ei>Aa/3js [*eulabes] (8:2); 'find grace', eupi ovcw xP" [euriskoo charin] (7:46, Lk. 1:30, cp Heb. 4:16); 'rejoice', evc^paiVio [euphrainoo] (7:41); 'come upon', eit<rn)/ii [ephistemi] (6:12); 'having kneeled down', fleis Ta ydcaTa [theis ta gonata] (7:60 cp Lk. 22:41); 'named', KaAou|uei>os [kaloumenos] (7:58); 'behold', /caTavoe io [katanoeoo] (7:31, cp Heb. 3:1, 9:24); 'famine', Atjudf [limos] (7:11); 'after these things', ^xeTa ravra [meta tauta] (7:7); 'summon', * /ieraxaAeu) [*metakaleoo] (7:14); 'month', /u.iji [men] (7:20); 'young man', *vea.via.t [*neanias] (7:58); vofiifia [nomizoo] = 'suppose' (7:25 = Lk. 2:44); 'now', vav [non](7:4, 7:34, 7:52); 'house of Israel', OIKO? ItrpaijA [oikos israel] (7:42); 'with one accord', oij.odu/jin&oi [homothumadon] (7:57); 'sight', opajua [orama] (7:31); o? [os] in attraction (7:16, 7:45); 'at the feet', Trapd TOUS TrdSas [para tous podas] (7:58); TrArjSos [plethos] (6:2, 6:5 = community, Deissm. Neue Bibelstudien, 59); 'multiply', 7rAr)0u(/co [plethynoo] (6:1); 'except', n\rjv [plen] (8:1); 'full of the [Holy] Spirit', TrArjpr/s Tri/evn [pleres pneuma] [avion [a iou]] (6:35, 7:55); 'avenge', *TOIIC (KJuci)(rcv TIIAK [*poiein ekdikesin tinos] (Lk. 18:7-8, Acts 7:24); 'betrayer', Trpoirrjs [prodites] (7:52, Lk. 6:16, 2 Tim. 3:4 only); 'show before', *7rpoicaTayy AAio [*prokataggilloo] (7:52); 'go before', *7rpo7ropeuco [*proporeuoo] (7:10, Lk. 1:76); 'unto', 7.-pds [pros], of speech (7:3); 'word', p>jju.a [rema] (6:11); 'host', *<jrpaTia [*stratia] (7:42, Lk. 2:13); 'kindred', *oT>yyeVeia [*syggeneia] (7:3, 7:14, Lk. 16:1); aW [syn] {7:35); 'seize', *o-ui apjrdfu> [*synarpazoo] (6:12); 'approve', <rvvev&OKe<a [syneudokeoo] (8:1); 'stop', <ruve\<a [synechoo] (7:57); 'deliverance', cruTijpi a [sooteria] (7:25, Lk. 1:71); Te [te] (6:7, 6:12, 7:26, 8:3); 'of forty years', Veo-o-epaicoi Tae TJis [*tesserakonataetes] (7:23, cp 13:18); TOW [tou] with infinitive (7:19); TOVTor [touton] = him (7:35, cp 2:23, 6:31); VTrapYw [hyparchoo] (7:55); '[the] Most High', *[6] ui/dtrros [*[o] hypsistos] (7:48, cp Lk. 1:32, Heb 7:1); 'voice', ffriavrj [phoone] with yi ypo/mai [gignomai] (7:31); 'keep', </>uAdo-o-u) [phylassoo] (7:53, cp Lk. 11:28); 'widow', ^rjpa [chera] (6:1); 'region', \iipa [choora] (8:1); ws [oos] = 'when' (7:23); Jxrei [oosi] (6:15), impf. with ptc. (8:1); besides the proper names like 'Libertine', *.Yi/3epTii os [*Libertinos]; 'Chaldaean', XaASaio? [CHaldaios]; 'Hellenist', EAAr)i/io~T)J5 [HEllenistes]; and 'Rephan', Pe^di/ [Rephan]; the phrase 'Son of Man' (7:56 = Lk. 22:69, almost only use of name outside gospels), 7:9 = 5:17 (Clem. Rom. 4-5); the conception of Jesus as the prophet like Moses (7:37, cp 3:22 and Lk. 7:16, 7:39, 16:29-30, 24:27), Acts 7:27 = Lk. 12:14 ; axoveiv [akouein] with ptc. (7:12, cp Lk. 4:23), Acts 6:10 = Lk. 21:15, Acts 7:22 = Lk. 24:19 - 'preserve alive', (jiooyoveio-ftii [zooogoneisthai] (Lk. 17:33, Acts 7:19, 1 Tim. 6:13, only); 'visit', e;rioxe i/ a(r# U [episkepsasthai] (7:23, cp Lk. 1:78, 7:16); and one instance of the Lucan partiality for Is. 40-66 (Acts 7:47-48; as in Barn. 16:2 with i) TI S [e tis] for KO.L 77-010? [kai poios] and ov\i [ouchi] for yap [gar]).

1 Peculiar to Hebrews and Lk.-Acts (including Acts 6-8:3) are: 'goodly', ao-Teios [asteios]; 'star', acrTpov [astron], 'custom', 6#os [othos] (except Jn. 19:40); 'bring in', fio-dyeii [eisagein] -eo-8ai [-esthai] (except Jn. 18:16); 'trembling for fear', epTpo/iOs [entromos]; 'Red Sea', "EpvOpa fldAacraa [erythra thalassa]; 'devout', tiiAalSrjs [eulabes] (group) ; 'he that bears rule', rryou jaei os [egoumenos] (except Mt. 2:6 citation) ; 'rest', KaTarraueif [katapauein] -tris [-sis] ; 'change', or 'remove', //.eraTiOeVai [metatithenai] (except Jude 4) ; 'sojourn' '-er', napoixfui [paroikeoo] -os [-os] (literal sense): 'patriarch', jraTpidpxrjs [patriarches] ; 'hand of God' (except 1 Pet. 5:6) ; 'made with hands', vpO7roirTos [cheiropoietos] of temple (except Mk. 14:58). See also Acts 7:44 = Heb. 8:2-5.

2 This is perhaps betrayed also in the occasional roughnesses of construction - e.g., the change of subject in 4 ('removed', /i7uKio-ef [metookisen]), 8 ('begat', eyeVnjo-ei [egeunesen]), and 10 ('made', caTt orr/crei/ [katestesen]), though Weiss goes too far in taking passages like 10c-16 and 19b-23, 26-29, 36-37 as editorial additions inserted in view of Lk.'s Gentile-Christian audience.

9. Significance of episode.[edit]

The significance of this episode for early Christianity is thus twofold. It formed one of those outstanding crises when, as the historian of Acts loved to show, the fanatical and malicious opposition of Judaism to the new faith only served to accelerate the extension of that faith to the Gentiles. But, further, it was an epoch when persecution broke upon the Church in general as well as upon individuals, owing to the fact that the Jewish authorities for the first time (within a year or so of the Crucifixion - i.e. , 30-31 A.D. ) 1 realised the radical consequences of the gospel as preached by more outspoken Christians, who could appeal honestly to the authority of Jesus himself. Hitherto these distinctive principles of Christianity, with their far-reaching issues, had been tolerated mainly because they had not been adequately expressed. Hence the fitful and comparatively ineffective attempts of the authorities to keep the new movement in check, as well as the general popularity enjoyed by the Nazarenes in Jerusalem. The twelve lacked neither courage nor sincerity. For various reasons, however, they do not appear to have shown anything of the same insight into the tradition of Jesus which they preserved, as outsiders like Stephen, Philip, and Paul. Upon men like these fell the brunt of the advance which had to be made, if Christianity was ever to be anything more than a Jewish sect. With the spiritual freedom and universal range of the new faith, as urged by Stephen and others, the twelve probably were in essential sympathy ; indeed there is every reason to suppose that Stephen carried the majority (yet cp 21:20-22) of the church, willingly or reluctantly, with him in his outspoken statements. It is one thing, however, to approve a course of action, another and a nobler thing to start it. All credit for the more difficult step, with the wisdom and courage which it involved at this period, is due to Stephen, whose stand had a further liberating effect - hardly contemplated by himself - of forcing the early Christians into a consciousness of their real relation to the orthodox Judaism, side by side with which most of them had hitherto lived in peace. The break had to come, although as yet both sides had been for different reasons slow to disturb the status quo. 2 'There is an inner freedom which may grow side by side with an allegiance fostered by birth and custom, prejudice and piety. But men first become conscious of this freedom when a demand is made that restricts it, or when it is assailed on account of some consequence already deduced from it by the enemy, but not as yet patent to the mind that cherishes it' (Weizsacker). Such an awakening came to early Christianity at the martyrdom of Stephen. He first expressed a latent antithesis of principle, grasping the gospel of Jesus with a thoroughness and penetration which enabled him to formulate certain questions, afterwards elaborated differently yet along the same line by one who had been an accomplice in his murder. This is all the more remarkable, because the stimulus originally came not - as in later controversies - out of practical exigencies due to the unlimited preaching of the gospel, but entirely from the inward fidelity of one man (who had not belonged to the original disciples) to the principle of religious freedom in the spirit and sayings of Jesus. 3

The dependence of the Stephen-narrative upon several of the best authenticated portions of the Synoptic tradition (for the Johannine, see Wendt's Lehre Jesu [ET], 235-236) has been already noted; 4 the general similarity of several details in the accounts of his death and of the trial of Jesus (e.g., Lk. 22:66 = Acts 6:12) is not unnatural in a historian who is concerned to describe how loyalty to the authority and ideas of the great proto-Martyr brought one of his followers to a like fate. Such conformation was inevitable, though it is not easy to determine how far it was conscious and literary. It is distinctly curious, however, that false witnesses and an allusion to Jesus saying about the temple should be introduced here by an author who deliberately omits both facts from his narrative of Jesus' trial; and also that the authentic saying on the Cross (Lk. 23:340a) - which does not form part of the original third gospel (see Hist. New Test. 654) - should be reflected in Acts 7:60 (cp Lk. 6:28, Acts 3:17, 13:27), just as it was actually quoted by the brother of Jesus at his martyrdom (e Orjice TO. yovara. Ae yu);> (cupie flee Trdrep titles aurois oil yap oi5a<rt ri 7rotov<rii , cp 2), and by the Lyons martyrs (Eus. HE 5:2:5). There is one very significant change, however, in Acts 7:59 ( = Lk. 23:46), emphasised by the preceding words 'calling upon', itriKaXov^vov [epikaloumenon] (sc. iTjcroOp [iesoun]). The similar parallels between Stephen and Paul (6:13 = 21:28, 6:9 = 21:21, 21:27, cp 34:12) are of no literary significance whatever, nor is Stephen s speech a literary expansion of certain Pauline ideas. For, whilst criticism has learned to do justice to the powerful impression (see above; also R. H. Hutton's Theological Essays, 318-319, and Feine, Das Gesetzesfreies Evang. des Paulus, 1899, pp. 16-17, 885) made by Stephen's religious consciousness upon Paul, Stephen cannot be described as a forerunner of Paul without serious limitations. In Stephen an original element worked like a ferment, which differentiated him not simply from his leading contemporaries, but from the line subsequently followed by Paul. The very occurrence of similar ideas - e.g., in Rom. 9-11 (Acts 7:52= 1 Thess. 2:14-15, see Origen on Mt. 13:57) - is one of several proofs that such ideas were widespread in certain circles of early Christianity, and the points of difference are upon the whole more tangible than the points in common between the two men. Paul was not interested in the cultus-question at all ; Stephen was. Yet Stephen never raised the question of the Gentiles, 1 as Paul did from the first. Nor did he, like Paul in general, view the Law as superseded by grace ; in Hellenistic fashion Stephen traces a spiritual current through Jewish history, believing that a proper interpretation of the Law, and obedience to the spirit, would have saved the Jews from their ancient lapses, even from the culminating lapse at the crucifixion. Per contra, as has been already indicated (sections 3, 6), Stephen had not advanced to the position which in later writers may be termed distinctively Alexandrian.

The scanty and worthless legends upon Stephen, collected by Tillemont (Memoires; Eng. ed. 1735, pp. 353-359), mainly cluster round the place and time of his death, and the finding of his relics. According to one tradition of the fifth century, he was buried, thanks to the friendly intervention of Gamaliel, at Kafr Gamala in presence of the lamenting apostles. His festival seems to have been held generally on the 26th of December, the day following Christmas ; which occasioned Augustine s saying that unless God had first become man to die for men, men would never have found courage to die for God. Epiphanius {Haer. 204) numbers Stephen among the Seventy, and one curious tradition (followed by Dante, Purg. 15) describes him as a youth.

1 One early tradition, followed by Usuardus, Petavius, and other mediaeval and later scholars, put Stephen s martyrdom in the same year as the Ascension.

2 As the subsequent history, down to the third century, shows, there was a recurring tendency to gravitate back into Judaism on the part of certain Christian circles (cp Harnack's Dogmengeschichte, ET 1:294-295).

3 In its account of the persecutions conducted by that 'inimicus homo' (i.e. , Paul), Clem. Recogn. 1:70-71, like Hegesippus, ignores Stephen ; James is for Hegesippus the proto-martyr, though in Eus. HE 5:2:5 Stephen reappears as the model witness of Christ.

4 It depends upon the critical view taken of Jn. 4:21-24, whether that passage be regarded as a later expansion of the idea suggested in Acts 7:48-49, or as embodying a genuine logion of Jesus (cp Jn. 2:19-22) to the effect that only spiritual worship in his name answered to the true ideal of the OT revelation.

10. Bibliography.[edit]

In addition to the critical editions of Acts, ad loc., the monographs on source-criticism (ACTS, 11), and various biographies of Paul, see especially *Baur's Paulus (ET), 1:39-62 ; *Zeller's Contents and Origin of Acts (ET) 1:237-246, 2:175-176; Ewald's History of Israel, ET 7:155-164; Gfrorer, Die heilige Sage (1838), 1:408-409; Renan, Les Apotres, chap. 8 ; Ranch, St.Kr. (1857), 352-368 ; F. Nitzsch, ibid. (1860), 479-502 ; *Witz, JDT (1875), 588-606 [finding the red thread of the speech in 748-749]; W. Schmidt, Bericht d. Ap.-gesch. uuber Steph. (1882); Sabatier, L'apotre Paul (ET), 39-46; Pfleiderer, Das Urchristenthum (1887), 559-560; Feine, JPT (1890), 89-108; Beyschlag, NTTheol. (ET), 1:327-328; Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller, 372-377 ; J. Weiss. St.Kr. (1893), 489-501 ; Absicht, 10-15; *Kranichfeld, St.Kr. (1900), 541-562, Der Gedanken- gang in der Rede des Steph. ; *B. W. Bacon, Biblical and Semitic Studies (Yale Univ., U.S.A., 1902), 211-276, and Grieve, Hastings DB 4:613-615 ; Harnack, die Mission und verbreitung des Christentums (1902), 34-37 ; and on the apocryphal Revelatio sancti S., P. v. Winterfeld (ZNTW, 1902, p. 358). The papers by K. Schmidt (Beweis des Glaubens, 1892, pp. 69-86); E. H. Plumptre {Biblical Studies, 347-375), and Nusgen (Neue Kirch. Zeits. 1898. pp. 661-687) are unduly conservative, and the older sketches by Krause (1786), Luger (1836), and Thiersch (1849) have been largely superseded by more recent critical researches prompted here, as in so many lines, by the genius of Baur. Adequate materials for historical study may be found in the monographs marked by an asterisk, supplemented by Spitta's Ap-gesch. (1891), 96-123, and discussions such as those of Weizsucker, Das Apost. Zeitalter(KT), 1:62-75, and McGififert, Apostolic Age (1897), 76-93.

J. Mo.

1 One proof that the speech rests on a special source ; for the idea of universalism was thoroughly Lucan (cp Lk. 24:47 Acts 28:25-26). In 7:42 another comparatively isolated feature occurs, in the reference of sin directly to providence (Titius, 23-24).


(niblp), 2 K. 20:11 = Is. 38:8 RVmg. ; EV DIAL.


A convenient and familiar term used for :

1 l ^ytNfc I 1 - lit 'man over the house'; cp Gen. 43:19, 1 K. 16:9 (see ARZA).

2- D 3 pB*0*p. Gen. 15:2, a difficult phrase, on which see ELIEZER, 1, and cp Dillmann, Delitzsch, and Crit. Bib. ad loc.

3. J3D, Is. 22:15 RVmg. (EV 'treasurer'), applied to SHEBNA (q.v.).

4. "ix^D, Dan. 1:11 AVmg. ; see MELZAR.

5. nb, 1 Ch. 28:1 RV 'ruler'. See PRINCE, 3.

6. otKovd/iiOs [oikonomos], Gal. 4:2 RV, etc. Hence oi/coi/o/xi a [oikonomia], Lk. 16:2+, EV 'stewardship'.

7. eTriVpoTros [epitromos], Mt. 20:8 (of the master of the vineyard) Lk. 8:3 (cp CHUZA) ; see PROCURATOR.

8. apxiTpucAivos [architriklonos, Jn. 2:8. See MEALS, 11.


(Qn"3), Lev. 11:35-36 RVmg. See COOKING, 4 ; cp POTTERY, 4.


For punishments involving restraint of the person, see LAW AND JUSTICE, 12 (end), and cp CHAINS, PRISON.

The word is used to render :

1- msnc; see col. 3850(7).

2 - DDJ?> Prov. 7:22 AV ; see ANKLETS, and n. i.

3- pVi ; see COLLAR, 3.

4. 7o, Job 13:27, 33:11 EV (probably an Aramaic loan-word), 1 here mentioned specifically as an instrument for confining the feet.

5. fuAoc [xylon], Acts 16:24, lit. 'wood'. On the inner prison into which Paul and Silas were cast on this occasion, see PRISON, 1 (end).

1 Cp POTTERY, 8 (2).


(cTOiKOl[Ti.], CTO)lKOi[WH], Acts 17:18). The Stoa was founded at Athens, about 300 B.C., by Zeno ; and many of its distinctive doctrines were added during the third century by Cleanthes and Chrysippus. Stoicism was brought to Rome by Panaetius about 140, and many distinguished Romans learnt its principles from Posidonius (about 86-46 [BC]). It was the leading philosophical school in the early empire ; the chief writers are Seneca (4-65 A.I).), Epictetus (flor. circa 100), and Marcus Aurelius (121-180). The Stoic doctrine was divided into logic, physics, and ethics. In logic its most characteristic feature is the search for a criterion of truth, and the placing of this criterion in the feeling of certainty. In physics the Stoics returned to the crude pre-Socratic views, and especially to those of Heraclitus. They were strict materialists, and conceived God, or nature, to be in essence a fiery process. In ethics, Zeno formulated the end of life as TO 6/xoXo- yov/Afvus ffiv [to homologoumenoos zen], 'consistency'; but this was expanded by Cleanthes into life consistent with nature, and by Chrysippus into 'life according to our experience of what happens by nature'. Thus ethics was set on a basis of theoretical knowledge - though the physical theory does not furnish any very obvious ethical guid ance. Virtue alone was good, vice alone bad. Other things were indifferent - e.g. , life and pleasure, death and pain. But of these the former were normally preferable to the latter - only normally, however, so that when life was blighted suicide was laudable.

The Stoics were the first to introduce into morals the idea of law - which is law for man because it is the law of the universe. In passing from 'end' to 'duty', from 'virtue' to 'conscience', they are the forerunners of modern ethics. But in abandoning the Greek standpoint they fall into rigorism, and set up in the passionless sage a colourless and uninviting ideal.

It was entirely in a practical spirit that ethics was developed by the Romans. Seneca dwells chiefly on the wickedness of man and on the constant war which must be waged against sin. Epictetus' teaching is summed up in his maxim ave\ov KOU an-e xov [anechou kai apechou], and that of Marcus Aurelius in the words, 'to be sufficient unto oneself by doing justly and thereby having calm'.

Stoicism owes something of its character to Heraclitus, something to the Cynics, something to the political indifference of the times. But its preoccupation with conduct it probably owes to a Semitic origin. Zeno came from Cyprus, and was commonly called 'the Phoenician'; Chrysippus came from Cilicia. Babylonia, Palestine, Syria, Cilicia, Phrygia, and the Phoenician colonies were the homes of the sect, of which European Greece produced not a single distinguished member. Naturally then there are resemblances between Stoicism and some of the post-exilic biblical writings. The author of Ecclesiastes had probably a general acquaintance with Stoic ideas (see ECCLESIASTES, 10, 13). Some of the apocryphal writings - 4 Macc, and the Wisdom of Solomon - display rather more than this. Seneca has very many sayings which recall the words of Jesus (especially in the SERMON ON THE MOUNT [q.v.]) and of the Epistles (and above all those ascribed to Paul). Many of the parallelisms are more apparent than real ; but the frequency and closeness of those which remain exclude the hypothesis of mere coincidence, and it is almost certain that the influence was reciprocal. Seneca may well have met Christians and heard Christian views at Rome. And Paul must have known something of Stoicism, of which Tarsus was perhaps, next to Athens, the headquarters. Stoicism would have its attractions for a Pharisee. Paul can quote the Stoic Aratus (Acts 17:28), and he has at least two conceptions which owe something to Stoicism - the world-wide city of God (1 Cor. 12:12-13, 12:27, Gal. 3:28, Eph. 2:19, Col. 3:11), and the avrdpKeta [autarkeia] of the Christian (2 Cor. 6:10, 9:8, 9:11, Phil. 4:11, 4:13, 4:18). See HELLENISM, 6, 10.

W. N. R.


p VHB), Is. 32:4-5. See MANTLE, 2 (9).


See IDOL, 1-2


  • Vague terms (1).
  • Uses of stones (2).
  • Stones known (3).
  • Hebrew names classified (4).
  • Greek names (5).
  • High Priest's breastplate (6-20).
iii. Bareketh (9) ii. Pitdah (8) i. Odem (7)
vi. Yasepheh (12-13) v. Sappir (11) iv. Nophek (10)
ix. Ahlamah (16) viii. Shebo (15) vii. Leshem (14)
xii. Yahalom (12-19) xi. Shoham (18) x. Tarshish (17)
    • Result (20)
  • Kadkod (21)
  • Covering of King of Tyre (22).
  • Foundations of New Jerusalem (23).
  • Bibliography (24).

1. Vagueness of terms.[edit]

In addition to the more specific names for precious stones to be discussed later there occur the following more general terms :

!"n^ |?^>, 'ben yekarah, Ai flos Tifiiot [lithos timios], lapis pretiosus gemma, 2 S. 12:30, 1 K. 10:2, 10:10-11, 1 Ch. 20:2, 29:2, 2 Ch. 9:1, 9:9-10 and freq. [yekarah, prob. orig. 'heavy'; cp. 2 Ch. 3:6; then 'rare', cp. 1 S. 3:1]; cp ??-" jf7n, 'abne hephets, Ai dovt e/cAeKTOvs [lithous ekletous, lapides desiderabiles, Is. 54:12 [cp Pr. 3:15, 8:11]; jn J3X, eben hen, fucrObs \apirtav [misthos charitoon] (!), gemma gratissima Prov. 17:8; C K^D 33M, 'abne millu'im [from nS S [ML'] 'fill up'], At flovs ei? TI\V y\v<f>rji [lithous eis ten glyphen], gemmas ad ornandum [ornatum], Ex. 25:7, 35:9 = Tous Aieous Tns nAnpwcrfws [lithous tes plerooseoos], gemmas, Ex. 35:27 ; 7)13 33N, 'abne puk, Ai 0ov iroitiAous [lithous poikilous], [lapides] diversorum colorant, 1 Ch. 29:2 : the last-named passage gives several of these phrases together. See also MARBLE, COLOURS, and the names of particular stones.

It is only with long experience, and wide knowledge, that the distinction between 'precious', 'fine', and merely 'ornamental' stones becomes established. The majority of the precious stones of the modern world were unknown in Western Asia, and still more in the Mediterranean, until Ptolemaic and Roman times ; and even then they were regarded merely as rare varieties of the commoner stones which most nearly resembled them - e.g., the many varieties of smaragdus known to Pliny, which, even so, do not include the modern 'emerald'.

2. Uses.[edit]

Natural stones which are in any way remarkable - for brilliance, colour, crystalline form, or any other property - are prized and treasured by many primitive peoples; either simply for ornament, or, more commonly, for use as charms (for real or imaginary influences); as engraved seals (for their hardness and resistance to wear); or as currency (for their rarity, value in exchange, and extreme portability).

3. Stones actually known to the ancients.[edit]

The first step towards identification of ancient precious stones is to record what stones are actually found to have been in use on ancient sites of different ages and countries : as in the table below.


Name and Colour. Quality Place and Period Name and Colour
Appearance Hardness Egypt Mesopotamia Mediterranean
Opaque Transparent Prehistoric 12th Dynasty 18th Dynasty Babylonia Assyria Prehistoric Aegean Syrian Coast Cyprus (7th - 4th Century) Hellenic (7th - 4th Century) Hellenistic (3rd - 1st Century) Roman
Earlier Later
Colour Name Opaque Transparent Hardness Prehistoric TwelveDynasty EightenDynasty Earlier Later Assyria PrehistoricAegean SyrianCoast Cyprus Hellenic Hellenistic Roman Name Colour
Red Marble x 3 x x x x Marble Red
Porphyry and Felspar x 6 x x x x Porphyry and Felspar
Jasper x 7 x x x x x Jasper
Garnet x x 6.5 x x x x x x x Garnet
Sard. Carnelian. Agate. x x 7 x x x x x x x x x x x Sard. Carnelian. Agate.
Jacinth (zircon) x 7.5 Jacinth (zircon)
Yellow Serpentine x 3-4 x x x x x x rowspan="5"|Yellow
Jasper x 7 x x x x Jasper
Cairngorm (Y. Quartz) x 7 x x x Cairngorm (Y. Quartz)
Chrysolite (Peridote) 6.7 ? x Chrysolite (Peridote)
Topaz 8 ? ? ? x Topaz
Green Serpentine and Marble x 3.4 x x x x x x Serpentine and Marble Green
Porphyry and Felspar x 6 x x x x x Porphyry and Felspar
Malachite x 7 x x x x Malachite
Jasper x 7 x x x x x x x x x Jasper
Prase x 7 x x Prase
Beryl (all kinds) 8 ? ? ? ? x x x x Beryl (all kinds)
Dioptase ('Chalkedon') 5 x x Dioptase ('Chalkedon')
Blue Turquoise x 6 x x x x rowspan="4"|Blue
Lapis lazuli x 5 x x x x x x x x x x x Lapis lazuli
Amethyst x 7 x x x x x x x x x x x x Amethyst
Sapphire x 9 x x x x Sapphire
White / Colourless Quartz x 7 x x x x x x x x x Quartz White / Colourless
Chalcedony x 7 x x x x x x x x x x x Chalcedony
Striped Onyx {1} x 7 x x x x x x x Onyx Striped
Sardonyx x 7 x x Sardonyx

From this it will be seen

  • (1) that universally the commoner have preceded the more 'precious' stones ;
  • (2) that even quartz and its varieties (chalcedony, sard, agate) were not much worked, except in Egypt, until late Babylonian and Assyrian time;
  • (3) that really hard stones, such as beryl, are very rare until the time of Alexander the Great; and
  • (4) that it is only after his time that the wealth of the farther East became available except by accident. For this latter period, however, the centre of the Hellenistic jewel trade was in Alexandria ; the translators of the LXX were therefore most favourably situated for the collection of authentic evidence as to the names of the stones.

It is not to be expected, therefore, that the biblical vocabulary will be either copious or precise; or that the Hebrew terms, being of (at lowest) pre-Alexandrine date, will be found to correspond accurately with those of LXX; for the latter belong to a period when the influx of gems from the far East had recently depreciated many stones which thitherto had been relatively 'precious'. Still more is this the case as between the ancient versions and AV, the vocabulary of which represents a similar period of acute transition, due mainly to the recent exploitation of the sea-routes to farther Asia and to America; moreover AV's vocabulary seems to be used quite at random - e.g. the persistent interchange of 'emerald' and 'carbuncle'; and the use of 'ruby' for 'coral'. RV is equally erratic, but without the same excuse.

1 Cut across the bands, not along them.

4. Hebrew names.[edit]

The Hebrew phrases (e.g. , 1 Ch. 29:2) clearly include all ranks of valuable stones, from 'stones to be set' and treasured gems to the 'stones of divers colours' which are coupled with 'marbles' (abne shayish, &"& ^x, irdpiov [parion], marmor Parium), and were used simply to 'garnish the house'. No hard and fast line, however, can be drawn between these ornamental stones, and the 'precious stones' in the stricter sense ; and the word shoham in particular, though it occurs in the 'breastplate' of the high priest, and is used for the engraved 'onyx-stones' (AV) on his shoulders, seems also to be used generically for the whole category of variegated or brightly coloured stones (see section 18, below).

The interpretation of the several names does not take us much further, except to classify the qualities for which different stones were prized. Of the descriptive names:-

(a) the majority refer simply to brilliance and must be restricted to transparent or translucent stones; they give no clue as to colour.

  • i. n^3, bareketh, Ex. 28:17, etc., from \/ [root] 'flash'; see section 9.
  • 2. rnpjjt, ekdah, Is. 54:12, from \/ [root] 'kindle' [cp CRYSTAL]. LXX Oos KpiKTTaAAoti [lithos krystallou] arises from confusion with rnj3, kerah, 'ice'; Aq. A. rpviravKruov [trypanismou] gives the sense 'kindle by rubbing' - i.e., either polished or striking sparks. Compare Ezek. 28:14, 28:16, 'stones of fire' (e .V" < 33N, on which, however, cp CHERUB, 2, n. 2, with the Assyrian reference).
  • 3. 1313, kadkod, Is. 54:12, Ez. 27:16, from \/ [root] 'strike fire'; but perhaps = Ar. 'red', or a place-name. LXX variable: see section 21 [and cp CHALCEDONY, 1].

(b) Next come descriptions of colour, without reference to brilliance, though not therefore co be confined to opaque stones: these names are rare and doubtful.

  • 1. n~Ni odem, Ex. -817, etc., properly 'red' ; LXX vdpSiov [sardion] (cp Pers, zerd, 'yellow-red') ; but perhaps a place-name 'Edomite stone'; see section 7.
  • 2. 13B , shebo, Ex. 28:19, etc., may perhaps = Ar. 'red' ; but is more probably a loan-word or a place-name ; see below, section 15.
  • 3. nniy, shoham, Ex. 28:20, etc., from \/ [root] 'pale' = Ar. shoham, or perhaps Ar. musahhain 'striped garment' (Ges.), which if established would be decisive in favour of a banded stone : or Ass. samtu, a dark stone from Meluhha in W. Babylonia (Del. HWB, s.v., and Schrader, COT (2) 130 [cp, however, BERYL, 4]) : or a place-name : or corrupt ; see ONYX, and section 18 below.

(c) Other names describe qualities or uses other than brilliance or colour :

  • 1. TO/HN, ahlamah, Ex. 28:19, etc., perhaps from \/ [root] 'dream', which identifies the stone as the well-known charm against bad dreams and drunkenness = LXX aju.e 0v<TTOs [amethystos], the mod. amethyst. [But see AMETHYST, end, and Hommel, AHT 205-206, 283.]
  • 2. TSD, sappir, Ex. 28:19, etc. from \/ [root] 'engrave'; the inscription stone par excellence (Tg. says the Tables of the Law were made of it) ; or perhaps akin to Ass. tsupur 'thumb nail' signature - i.e., signet-stone, see section 5. It is described as 'like the body of heaven', Ex. 24:10 ; and LXX croijr^eipos [sappheiros] identifies it as lapis lazuli. See SAPPHIRE.
  • 3. "I Ctt 1 , shamir, Ezek. 3:9, etc., from \/ [root] 'sharp, hard', Eg. asmer, Gg. cr/uupis [smyris], Germ. Smirgel, Eng. emery, is not strictly a 'precious stone', though translated 'diamond' in Jer. 17:1 AV, and 'adamant' in Ezek. 3:9, Zech. 7:12 ; see ADAMANT.
  • 4. CTV, yahalom, Ex. 28:18, etc., from \/ [root] 'strike hard' : cp perhaps hallamash 'flint', and Ass. elmeshu, a hard stone used for rings and on chariot wheels (ZDMG, 40:728). [To the references in FLINT (q.v.) add ZDMG 46:570.]

(d) Others again are clearly place-names, denoting the source of supply :

  • 1. kadkod (see a, 3, above) for which LXX has xP_XP [chorchor] in Ezek. 27:16. In Is. 54:12, Symm. has /capxrySoVioi [karchedonion]; cp Plin. HN 37:30 for the Carthaginian carbuncle, and Pesh. karkedna for shebo in Ex. 28:19, 39:12.
  • 2. rrSNn, ra'moth, Ezek. 27:16 LXX pa.fi.iap [ramoor], Vg. sericum, RV 'coral', need not be a stone at all. [See CORAL, but cp also RUBY.]
  • 3. shebo (see b2, above), Ex. 28:19, 39:12, may be the i/*e<i>o) [psephoo], 'Psepho', of Strabo, 822, Theophr. 34, an island up the Nile, S. of Meroe, celebrated for its gems; but it is perhaps a loan word; see below, section 15.
  • 4. C^C lFl, tarshish, Ex. 28:20, etc., cp 'stone of Tarshish', Ezek. 10:9, etc. ; see TARSHISH.
  • 5 and 6. 'odem ('Edom', see b1, above) and shoham (see b3, above ; sahim, 'Soheim' in Yemen) may also be place-names.

(e) Finally, several names, which have no clear significance in Hebrew, are probably loan-words:

  • 1. Ci.?: , leshem, Ex. 23:19, etc., recalls Eg. reshem (Hommel, AHT, 283). [For another view see JACINTH.]
  • 2. ^]2J, nophek, Ex. 28:18, etc., has been compared with Eg. m-f-k-t and Ass. lupakku. The latter is more probable; see EMERALD, and section 10 below.
  • 3- " ^p? pitdah, Ex. 28:17, etc., seems to be Ass. hipindu. The Skt. pita, 'pale-yellow', is unlikely; see TOPAZ, and section 8 below.
  • 4. shebo (see b2, d3, above), Ex. 28:19 may be Ass. shubu; but perhaps also Ar. 'red'; or the place-name 'Psepho', see

b and d above.

  • 5. >"IEE^, yashepheh, Ex. 28:20, etc. seems to be Ass. yaspu, aspu ; and perhaps also = Eg. h-s-p-d, see section 13 below.

These vague terms [see also PEARL] obviously give little information ; and in no case do we know the colour of the Assyrian and Egyptian equivalents. If any conclusions, therefore, are to be drawn from them at all, it must be by means of the renderings of LXX.

6. Greek names.[edit]

The Greek vocabulary may be classified in the same way as the Hebrew.

(a) Brilliance is denoted only by acSpaf [anthrax] and <T/j.apay&os [smaragdos].

  • "a.v6pa [anthrax], 'hot coal', for nophek (section 4, e2, above);
  • <rfj.dpaySos [smaragdos], 'dazzling', for bareketh (section 4, a1, above), and also for shoham (section 4, b3). Ex. 28:9, 36:27, 39:6 (cp /uopaye w [marageoo], napavyeia [maraugeoo], and perhaps jULap/uaipen/ [marmairein]; Skt. Marakata is a derivative, like It. esmeralda and Eng. emerald; <rfi. itself may be a corruption of bareketh above).

(b) Colour gives ii<x/ai/0os [hyakinthos], At Oos 6 Trpdcrifos [lithos o prasinos], xpv<rcnrpa.cros [chrysoprasos], and Xpuox>Ai0os [chrysolithos]; cp <rdpSioi> [sardion] below (only in NT: from the blue flower of that name; the Ind. jacut seems to be a derivative, like Eng. jacinth).

  • Trpao-ii os [prasinos] (A. 6 ?rp. [l. o. pr.] for shoham [section 4, b3, above], Gen. 2:12 ; cp Xpua-oTrpaeros [chrysoprasos], Rev. 21:20), 'leek green'.
  • Xpu<r6Ai#os [chrysolithos] (for tarshish [section 4, d4, above]), 'gold-stone'.

(c) Other qualities give the following:-

  • aSdjuai/Tii ck [adamantinos], 'intractable'. In class Gk. = 'steel-like'. For shamir (section 4, c3, above), Jer. 17:1; cp orepe a ireVpa [steria petra], Ez. 8:9, and the corrupt 6ia TTO.VTO<; [dia pantos] (a6djiaj TOs [ademantos]), Ez. 8:9.
  • afie 0uc7T<K [amethystos], 'charm against drunkenness'; for ahlamah (section 4, c1, above), the Greek superstition taking the place of the Hebrew.
  • KpucrraAAos [krystallos], 'ice' - i.e., 'crystal'. In Is. 54:12 a misreading of fnpM (see section 4, a2, above). In Rev. 4:6, 22:1 a simile for clear water ; in Rev. 21:11 Kpv<rra.\\i^ovri. [krystallizonti], 'turning into crystal'.
  • oi/v [onyx], 'finger-nail' (for shoham [section 4, b3, above]. Popularly supposed, later, to be descriptive (Plin. HN 37:24); but probably a loan-word, see below.
  • crapSocuf [sardonyx] - i.e., 'sard-onyx'; Rev. 21:20-21, but cp Vg. sardonyx for shoham, fv ovv\i [en onyx], Job 28:16.

(d) Place-names are responsible for the following:-

  • axar>) [achates] ( = shebo [section 4, b2, d3, e4]), from the river Achates in Sicily.
  • Aiyiiptov [ligurion] ( = leshem [section 4, e1, above]), from Liguria in N. Italy. The descriptive talismanic Avyyoiipior [liggourion] does not occur in LXX.
  • crdpSiov [sardion] ( = 'odem [section 4, b1, d5, above], popularly derived from Sardis in Lydia ; but probably originally a loan-word; see below (c).
  • X<iAio)5a)i [chalkedoon] (Rev. 21:19 only), from Chalcedon in Bithynia.

Cp Odpcms [thardeis], pOLfKaQ [ramooth], and xPXPt [chorchor] transliterated, and the Kap\r)S6vi.oi> [karchedonion] of Symm. in Is. 54:12 ( = Aai/i><i kadkod [section 4, a3, d1] iWn-is [iaspis]).

(e) Loan-words, finally, are the following :

  • ^jjpiiAAtoi [beryllion] ( = shoham [section 4, b3, above], and [by error] yashepheh [section 4, e5, above], see below); Pers. billaur, Skt. vaidurya, Prakt. veluriya, Pesh. b-r-w-l-a.
  • tacTTrcs [iaspis] ( = yashepheh), Heb. cp Ass. aspu.
  • cra7rf/)ipos [sappheiros] ( = sappir [section 4, c2, above]), Heb.
  • <rdp6ioi [sardion] ( = 'odem [section 4, b1, d5, above), though actually obtained near Sardis in Lydia, is probably from Pers. zerd, 'yellow-red'.
  • TOTrcU/oi [topazion] (=pitdah [section 4, e3, above], perh. Heb., cp Ass. hipindu ; but derived by Pliny (HN 37:8) from the word 'to seek' in the language of the cave-dwellers of the Topaz-island in the Red Sea. In Ps. 119:127 TOTTOL^IOV [topazion] = TO TtaC,i.f>vpaz [to pazion] = paz (IS), 'refined gold' ; cp nag [paz] in Cant. 5:11 [on which see GOLD, 1-2; TOPAZ, 2, n. i ; UPHAZ].
  • 6fuf [onyx], bi v\iov [onyxion] (popularly derived from ocuf [onyx], 'finger-nail') is probably Ass. unku, 'ring', cp kunuku, 'conical seal' ; cp Eg. anak (Muss-Arnolt, Sem. Words, 139). The explanation, Si/v [onyx] = 'finger-nail', occurs first in Pliny, HN 37:24 (quoting Sudines), and is supported by the remote resemblance of a pale onyx (the black onyx was not worked till late Hellenistic times) to a finger-nail with its lunula in the flesh beneath. But the word is as old as Ktesias (about 400 B.C.) and may have arisen from the Assyrian custom of using the impression of the thumb nail (tsupur ; see sappir, above) as the signature of a clay-tablet: 6yu [onyx] would then mean 'thumb-nail 'stone in the sense of 'signet'.

For the interpretation of this Greek vocabulary, we have fortunately a good and slightly earlier authority in the treatise of Theophrastus, Trepi \i0uv [peri lithoon] (about 300 B.C.), which sums up Greek knowledge on the subject just at the moment when Alexander's conquest had thrown open the farther East, but before its effects had become generally felt. For the interpretation of the additional terms added by the Apocalypse, we have again a nearly contemporary commentary in Pliny, who represents the abundant materials, but mainly empirical classification, of the lapidaries of the Early Roman Empire. That the vocabulary of the LXX is probably trustworthy, is suggested by the general uniformity of its rendering. So uniform, indeed, are these, that in the four cases in which serious discrepancies occur (see under AGATE, BERYL, ONYX, and below), it is probably safe to assume that it is the Hebrew text which is at fault. The phrases in the Apocalypse, also, display close acquaintance with current terminology, and supply more than one striking confirmation of the conclusions derived from the comparison of MT and the LXX.

6. High priest's breastplate.[edit]

We may, therefore, proceed to discuss the identifications supplied by the LXX renderings. Of these, by far the greater number are contained in the description of the high priest's breastplate, Ex 28:17=, to be read with the parallel passage Ex. 39:10+ and the corrupt variant, Ez. 28:13 (the 'covering of the king of Tyre'). It will therefore be convenient to take these stones in the order in which they occur, and to append (section 21+) those which do not occur in the breastplate.

Two preliminary considerations should be noted.

  • (1) The BREASTPLATE (q.v.), when folded for use, measured a span (about 8 in. ) in each direction. The space available for each stone with its setting was therefore as much as 2 x 2.5 in.; and if the same proportion was observed between stone and setting as was customary in ancient jewellery, the stones themselves may have been as large as 2 x 1.5 in. , and cannot have been much less than half that size. They were therefore each a good deal larger than the average size of the common Babylonian cylinder or Egyptian scarab. We are therefore probably safe in excluding, on the ground of size alone, stones which are really rare and 'precious', even if these stones themselves could be shown to have been known.
  • (2) Each stone was engraved with the name of a tribe, and some of these names are of some length. This again postulates a large surface and low hardness. The private Jewish name-signets vary from 0.75-1.5 in. in length, and are of a very

moderate degree of hardness (7 or less).

7. 'Odem.[edit]

i. Odem, ffdpdiov [sardion], sardius, Ex. 28:17, 39:10 (cp Ez. 28;13, and sardius, Rev. 21:20). Both names signify 'red' (see above, section 4, b1, section 5d), and the stone is no doubt the modern red or orange sard, the commonest of all engraved stones in ancient times (cp Plin. HN 37:106). The best of them came in Greek times from Sardis and Babylon, and a fine deep red kind from Yemen (hence perhaps [cp SARDIUS] 'Edomite stone', from the proximate source of supply). The material (translucent quartz stained with iron) is quite common, and merges in the clearer and lighter-tinted 'carnelian' and 'red agate'. As this is probably denoted by sMci dxdrrjs [shebo archates] (section 15), it is not impossible that odem may originally have meant the opaque blood-red jasper, 1 which is common in early Egypt, was used in Babylonia and Assyria, and also in Greece, and was valued as a charm against hemorrhage.

8. Pitdah.[edit]

ii. Pitdah, roirdfrov [topazion], topazius (Ex. 28:17, 39:10, cp Ez. 28:13; in Rev. 21:20 roirdfrov [topazion] is exchanged with <rapS6vv^ [sardonyx], see below) is identified with Ass. hipindu, a 'flashing stone' which recalls the 'stones of fire' in Ez. 28:14, 28:16, and the 'abne ekdah in Is. 54:12. The rendering Toirdfcov [topazion] makes it clear that the LXX understood by pitdah, a stone which was

  • (1) translucent,
  • (2) yellow.

As the modern topaz was hardly known 2 before Greek times, and is indistinguishable, except by its superior hardness, from false topaz, or yellow rock-crystal, it is possible that the latter is meant. The Toirafiov [topazion] of the Greeks was a translucent, golden-coloured (xpvffoeidts dTroffTiXpov foyyos [chrysoeides apostilbon pheggos], Strabo, 770), or yellow-green, stone (e virenti genere, Plin. HN 378), probably the modern 'chrysolite', or 'peridot'. This was a noble variety of olivine, and consequently of the yellow 'serpentine' (Ar. 'asfar, 'yellow'), which was in common use for scarabs and cylinders of all dates. It is identified by Petrie [and independently by Cheyne ; see GOLD, 1b ; OPHIR, i ; TOPAZ, 2] with the original pitdah; the only objection to this being that hipindu was a 'flashing stone'. This 'chrysolite' was found in the Levant, and occasionally in considerable masses ; but the ancient supply came from an island (roirdfros vf/ffos [topazios nesos]) in the Red Sea, which was the monopoly of the kings of Egypt (Strabo, 770 ; Diod. Sic. 839; Plin. HN 37:8, 6:34). Like olivine, chrysolite is soft and easily engraved - eadem sola nobilium limam sentit (Plin. HN 37:8).

1 So F. Petrie, in Hastings DB, s.v. 'Precious Stones' - a valuable and suggestive commentary based largely upon new material.

2 Brit. Mus. Gide to Bab. and Ass. Antiq. (p. 136) gives both 'emerald' and 'topaz' in a list of materials used for cylinders; and nos. 27 and 39 in the Babylonian Room are apparently of a variety of base emerald or beryl ('mother of emerald'). Dr. Budge kindly supplies the further information 'we have no cylinders which may he certainly called topaz, but I have seen several in Mesopotamia among the natives'; he adds that nos. 128 and 679 (of Pehlevi time) are of 'topaz'. In PEFQ, 1902, p. 326, the announcement is made that a fragment of 'emerald' has been found in a pre-historic deposit at Gezer; but no authority is given for the mineralogical determination.

9. Bareketh.[edit]

iii. Bareketh, fffidpaydos [smaragdos], smaragdus, Ex. 28:17, 39:10 (Ez. 28:13, ff/j,dpaydos [smaragdos]; but bareketh [smaragdus] changes places with yahalom [iaspis], cp section 12, below) ; Rev. 21:20 has fffj.dpa.ydos [smaragdos], smaragdus, in the place of bareketh, and Rev. 43 has Ipis . . . 8/j.oios opdfffi ffna.pa.yoi.vtjj [iris ... homoios orasei smaragdinoo]. In Ex. 28:9, 35:27, 39:6, fffidpaydos [smaragdos] translates shoham (Vg. onyx) where it is used of the high priest's shoulder-stones. Both bareketh and ff/j.dpaydos [smaragdos] originally denote brilliance only; e.g., Herod. 2:44 describes a ffrri\r; [stele] (probably a columnar natural crystal) fffiapdydov \i6ov \dfiir OVTOS rds V<JKTO,S fj.fya.6os [smaragdou lithou lampontos tas nyktas megathos], 1 'so large as to give light at night', but says nothing of the colour either of the stone or of the gleam. Of this same fffj.dpa.ydos [smaragdos] Theophrastus (25) says that it was of the 'Bactrian' variety, et fj.rj dpa. \(/evdris afj.dpa.y5os [ei me ara pseudes smaragdos], and he adds (24) other instances of gigantic specimens which came to Egypt, ev ddipois Trapa, TOV Ra/ivXuviuv /3a,ffi\tws [en doorois para tou babyloonioon baslieoos], but confuses them all with the 'copper-emerald' (dioptase) of Cyprus and Chalcedon (xa.\Krjduv [chalkedooon], Rev. 21:20). Now, only two brilliant stones occur in such columnar crr^Xai [stelai] - the 'rock crystal', and the 'beryl'. In favour of 'rock crystal' we may quote

  • (1) the comparison of the rainbow with fffj.dpa.ydos [smaragdos] in Rev. 4:3;
  • (2) the statement of Pliny (HN 37:64), quoted by Petrie (Hastings DB), that Nero used a fffj.dpa.ydos [smaragos] to aid his sight - a statement to be compared with the superstition, which survives, that better spectacles are made from rock crystal than from glass;
  • (3) Martial's association of smaragdus with adamas (5:11:1);
  • (4) the probability that hexagonal beryl in its paler varieties was regarded as a harder and greenish variety of 'milky quartz';
  • (5) the certainty that, as early as Theophrastus, a very large number of stones, all brilliant, and of all shades of green, from aquamarine to dioptase (xa.\K7idui> [chalkedoon]), were included generically under fffidpaydos [smaragdos].

In favour of beryl, on the other hand, are the following considerations.

  • (1) From Theophrastus onward the fffidpaydos [smaragdos] was more or less definitely coloured - Theophrastus, however, does not say what colour - and was believed to originate by the action of water upon green jasper (faffirts [iaspis], Theophr. 27, see section 13).

(2) Both the beryl and its deep-green emerald variety have been universally believed to give relief to the eyes; but this was through their restful colour, not through their refractive powers, and beryls in particular had already given rise to It. barelle and High-Germ. brille, before the invention of spectacle-glasses.

  • (3) The kindred belief that 'beryl' shed a light of its own was known to Theophrastus (l.c. , 23), and has survived in It. brillare (Low Lat. berillare*} and Eng. brilliant.
  • (4) The probability that ffin.dpa.ydos [smaragdos] could be imitated (\ftfvdrjs fffj.. [pseudo sm....], Theophr. 25) suits the prevailing greenish tinge of ancient glass better than a quite colourless stone; cp, moreover, Rev. 4:6, 6dXa<rffa va\it>ri Ofj,oia KpvffTd\\({) [thalassa hyaline homoia krystalloo].

(5) The collocation of /cpuoraXXy [krystalloo] with (Tfj.apaydii [smaragdinoo] in Rev. 4 vv. 6, 3 suggests that after all this writer distinguished 'rock crystal' and 'smaragdus'.

1 So MSS. ; see Stein (1881). Wiedemann defends the conjecture /meyiAu>s [megaloos], 'shining with great brilliancy', and ascribes the glow to ancient use of a phosphorescent paint.

As to bareketh, the probability is

  • (1) that originally it meant the colourless flashing 'rock crystal', which was commonly used for engraving, in Egypt of all

periods, in Mesopotamia from the later Babylonian time onwards, and more rarely in prehistoric Greece;

  • (2) that this meaning did not wholly die out even after the LXX translation was made, but survived in the use of <r/ndpaydos [smaragdos] in Rev. 4:3, and in the confusion with yahalom in MT of Ez. 28:13 (see below, section 19); (3) that the obvious likeness between the words, and the current confusion between the hexagonal forms of quartz and pale beryl, caused the LXX to render bareketh by ffjudpaySos [smaragdos], and provoked the substitution for yasepheh of yahalom in MT, so as to separate what now were two adjacent green stones. 1

10. Nophek.[edit]

iv. Nophek, ai>0pa% [anthrax], carbunculus (Ex. 28:18, 39:11); in Ez. 28:13 &v6pal; [anthrax] remains, but nophek [Vg. carbunculus] changes places with sappir [sapphirus] of section 11. In Ez. 27:16 the LXX mistranslates, and Vg. has simply gemmam; Rev. 21:20 substitutes -^a.\Krj5(>]v] [chalkedoon]. If nophek could be identified with Egyptian m-f-k-t(see EMERALD [end]), either malachite or turquoise would be meant ; and this is supported by the equivalent xaX/cijSwi [chalkedoon] (copper-emerald) of Rev. 21:20; see 23, below. But this identification would ignore the uniform rendering of both the LXX and Vg. ; and as av6pa (carbunculus) is descriptive and appropriate, whilst nophek (probably a loan-word) gives no clue, it is better to accept the identification of the LXX with a translucent red stone. This latter, since the 'ruby' of Ceylon and Burma, and likewise the true carbuncle, were unknown to Theophrastus (see CARBUNCLE), must denote the large class of red 'garnets' ('pyrope', 'almandine', etc. ), which are found in abundance and of very considerable size, were known in Egypt from prehistoric times, were commonly used for signets in Hellenistic times, and are easily engraved. As to nophek itself, the alternative derivation, from the lupakku of Am. Tab. 202:16 [cp EMERALD, 2], may probably be accepted. Of the colour of this lupakku we have no information ; but we know that it came as tribute to Egypt from Ashkelon - i.e., from the NE. This fact is compatible with the occurrence of nophek among the wares sent from Syria to Tyre in Ez. 27:16.

11. Sappir.[edit]

v. Sappir, (raTrfaipos [sappheiros], sapphirus (Ex. 28:18, 39:11); in Ezek. 28:13 crctTr^eipos [sappheiros] remains, but sappir [Vg. sapphirus] changes places with nophek, [carbunculus] [section 10. Rev. 21:20 has ffdwtpeLpa [sappheira]). The true 'sapphire' (blue corundum) was almost unknown before Roman Imperial times, and when known was included, from its clear blue colour, under vdKivdos [hyakinthos] 2 (see section 23, below). The adamas Cyprius, which occurred in the copper-mines and was known to Pliny for its sky-blue colour, was probably azurite. 2a7T</>eipos [sappheiros], on the other hand, is identified (Theophr. 37 ; cp 55, KVOLVOS ffKvdjjs [kyanos skythes], and Plin. HN 37:120 'optime apud Medos'), with the opaque blue 'lapis lazuli' of Turkestan, and the uknu of Babylonia and Assyria, which was known also in Egypt and Greece from prehistoric times, and was frequently sent as a present from Babylon to Egypt in the Tell-el-Amarna period. As its Hebrew name implies, it is easily engraved, and occurs in large enough masses to make tablets like the 'Tables of the Law' (acc. to Targ. ; cp the temple dedication on lapis lazuli, Brit. Mus. [Depart. Assyr. Antiq.] No. 91013). [Cp SAPPHIRE.]

1 The 'oriental emerald' (green corundum) is in any case out of the question. It does not seem to have been known in antiquity, and Sanscr. marakata, apparently a loan-word from Gk., suggests that, when discovered, it was regarded merely as a superior variety of oyidpaySos [smaragdos].

2 The only indubitable description is that of Solinus, see King, Nat. Hist, of Prec. Stones, 245-246; the earliest specimens are noted in King, l.c. 253.

12. Yahalom and Yashepheh in MT.[edit]

vi. Yahalom, faffiris [iaspis], iaspis (Ex. 27:18, 39:11); in Ezek. 28:13 faffiris [iaspis] remains, but yahalom [Vg. iaspis] changes places with bareketh [smaragdus], see section 9). It is most improbable that yashepheh (section 13) could have so far changed its significance that laairts [iaspis]should be used by preference to render yahalom. [Cp JASPER, ad fin.] Either iacrTrts [iaspis], therefore, or yahalom must be transferred to the twelfth place (section 19), and we have seen reason already (under bareketh, 9) to suppose that yashepheh should be restored here, and yahalom transferred to no. 12. For other reasons identifying yahalom with no. 12, see below, 19.

13. Yashepheh.[edit]

Yashepheh, which is a loan-word (Ass. yashpu ashpu, Eg. h-s-p-d), gives no clue, save that ashpfi was large enough, and not too hard, to be employed for the royal seal of Ashur-bani-pal (Nabunahid stele). That laairis [iaspis], on the other hand, was

  • (1) a dull or opaque stone, is shown by the combination idairidi /ecu (rapdiLp [iaspidi kai sardioo] in Rev. 4;3 (see setion 23, below), by the compound terms iaspachates and iasponyx known to Pliny (HN, 37:10:54, 37:9:37), and by Martial's association of iaspis with sardonychus (5:11:1, 9:60:20); and
  • (2) that it was a green stone is probable from association with the ff/jidpaydos [smaragdos] of the Cypriote copper-mines in Theophrastus (27 ; cp idcnnSi KpvffTa\\ioi>Ti [iaspide krystallizonti], 'jasper turning into a clear ice-like stone', Rev. 21:11) and from its mediaeval character (see JASPER).
  • But (3) it had many variants; among them a red (ta,(riris [iaspis] = kadkod Is. 54:12, cp Symm. Kapx^SovLov [karchedonion], cp iaspachates, above), a yellow (fulva, Virg. Aen. 4:261), and an opalescent, perhaps actually the 'opal' (opalus, Plin. HN 37:21 : \/ [root] Skt. opala, 'stone'). [Cp JASPER.]

All this combines to show that yashepheh, faffTTis [iaspis], is the modern 'jasper' (opaque massive silica), and especially its green variety, which is widely distributed, often of considerable size, and easily engraved, being used commonly for Egyptian scarabs of all periods, for Babylonian and Assyrian cylinders, and for the seal-stones of prehistoric Greece (for engraved specimens from the Syrian coast [in Louvre], see Ledrain, Notice Sommaire des Monuments Phoeniciens, Nos. 408, 427, 432-433, 437). All varieties of jasper are liable to occur together, and are associated, and easily confused, with the green chalcedony ('plasma', 'prase'; the common 'bloodstone' is plasma spotted with red jasper), with the more opaque varieties of agate, and with the opal group, which all have practically identical composition. The green jasper, being the rarest, was not unnaturally the most prized in antiquity, and gave its name to the group. As the Cypriote passage (Theophr. 27) shows, green jasper was not clearly distinguished from the harder varieties of malachite and other green copper-minerals (see section 18, below).

14. Leshem.[edit]

vii. Leshem, \iytpiov [lygurion], ligurius (Ex. 28:19, 39:12); in Ezek. 28:13, LXX has dpyvpiov /ecu -x.pvffiov /ecu Ai-y. [argurion kai chrysion kai ligurion]; MT, Vg. omit, ending the list with zahab (aurum) in the tenth place, see section 22, below (Rev. 21:20 gives xp vff oTrpaaos [crysoprasos] in the corresponding place : see section 23). Leshem, probably a loan-word (? Eg. reshem, but cp JACINTH), gives no clue. Aiyi ipiov [ligurion] was taken by some to be a place-name, and the stone seems to have been confused with amber, from its electrical qualities (which are possessed by several different gems); but Theophr. 28 gives \iy- yoi ipiov [liggourion] (i.e. \vyKfa ovpbv [lykos ouron]) with a folk-tale about its origin, and a distinction between a clearer and a darker tinted variety. RV gives 'jacinth' (with mg., 'or, amber') ; but there is no evidence that the jacinth was either found in Liguria, or was known at all till Roman times. Probably a clear yellow stone is meant, like 'cairngorm' or 'false topaz' (iron-tinted quartz). The rendering of Rev. 21:20, xpturfarpooufi [chrysoprasos] suggests a greenish yellow stone, and perhaps serves to differentiate the adjacent yellow \pvcro\i6os [chrysolithos] (section 17).

15. Shebo.[edit]

viii. shebo, dxanjs [achates], achates (Ex. 28:19, 39:12 : in Ezek. 28:13, LXX has dxdrtjs [achates]: LXX MT Vg. omit ; Rev. 21:20 in the corresponding place has vJntivOos [hyakinthos]). Shebo may be a loan-word (Ass. shubu) or the place-name psephoo, an island S. of Meroe, noted for its gems (Theophr. 34, Strabo, 822). [Cp CHALCEDONY, 2.] Axo/rifs [achates] (also a place-name) is definitely the 'Sicilian agate'. Pesh. karkedna in Ex. 28:19, 39:12 may be a corruption of Ka.pxiioJvi.os [karchedonios] (cp Symm. on Is. 54:12, kadkod, and section 21, below), or of AalkdJ [kadkod] itself. For

  • (1) Sicilian stones going eastward would probably travel via Carthage,
  • (2) similar 'agates' may have been found in N. Africa,
  • (3) a Carthaginian 'carbuncle' is known to Pliny, HN 37:92, 37:95.

What particular variety of 'agate' 1(banded translucent silica) was exported from Sicily is not known: but banded agates, particularly of the deeper red varieties 1 (approximating to sardonyx and iaspachates) were in common use in Egypt through out (the source here may well have been ^})<ji [psephoo] on the upper Nile), in Greece from prehistoric times (esp. common in early Crete), in later Babylonia, in Assyria throughout, and on the Syrian coast (engraved specimens in Louvre, Ledrain, l.c., Xos. 413, 420, 422, 440, 449 red ; 409 white).

16. Ahlamah.[edit]

ix. Ahlamah, d/j,(Ovo Tos [amethystos], amethystus (Ex. 28:19, 39:12 ; in Ezek. 28:13 has dxdrris [achates]; MT Vg. omit; Rev. 21:20 (t)i <TTos [amethystos]). The folklore of the Hebrew and Greek names identifies with the modern amethyst (transparent purple quartz), which was commonly used, and freely engraved in Egypt throughout (esp. under 12th. dyn. ), in Greece from prehistoric times, on the Syrian coast (Ledrain, l.c. Nos. 407, 414, cp 392, 421), and more rarely, in Babylonia and Assyria. [See also references in 4(c), 1]

17. Tarshish.[edit]

x. Tarshish, XP 1 1 ^ ^ 05 [chrysolithos] chrysolithus (Ex. 28:20, 39:13; in Ezek. 28:13 LXX has xpi <^ #s [chrysolithos] here; and MT 'Tarshish', Vg. chrysolithus at no. 4, see section 22, below; in Ezek. 10:9 Vg. has chrysolithus, but LXX &v&pa.t [anthrax] [perhaps by identification with the Carthaginian carbuncle of Plin. HN, 37:25, see section 21, below]; in Dan. 10:6, dapaeis [tharseis], chrysolithus ; in Cant. 5:14 LXX Oapfffis [tharseis], Vg. hyacinthus ; Symm. has vdKivOos [hyakinthos] here and Ezek. 1:16, 28:13; in Ezek. 1:16 LXX has ffapaeis [tharseis], Vg. visio maris). Tarshish is simply a trade-name and gives no clue. Xpi <r6\t#os [chrysolithos] is vaguely descriptive. A stone may be a 'gold-stone' in three different ways.

  • (1) It may apparently contain grains of gold e.g., 'avanturine quartz', and the epithet xpvvoTracrTos [chrysolithosapplied to 'sapphire' [lapis lazuli] (Theophr. 23, cp Plin. HN 33:31, 'aurum in sapphiro scintillat', 37:38, 'aurum punctis conlucet').
  • (2) It may be golden yellow and opaque - i.e. , yellow jasper or yellow serpentine. The former is adopted here by Petrie (Hastings, DB, s.v. 'Precious Stones'), and both were used commonly in Egypt and Babylonia at all periods, and in prehistoric Greece.
  • (3) It may be golden yellow and transparent. This would be inartistic in juxtaposition with the transparent yellow !t sem [leshem] ,\iyi ptov [lygurion] (section 14), but would agree better with the later uses of chrysolithus, which seems to represent the modern 'topaz' (as topasius is the modern 'chrysolite', see 8, above), and was found of very large size in Spain ('Tartessus'), Pliny, HN 37:127. Petrie notes that the topazius of the ancients (peridote] is actually a 'noble' variety of yellow serpentine, and so may have taken its place as the 'stone of Tarshish' in course of time; compare the correlation of ftwjrtj [iaspis] and fffidpayoos [smaragdos] (opaque and clear green) in Theophrastus, 27.

The rendering Avdpa!- [anthrax] may be a reminiscence of the Carthaginian 'carbuncle' (Plin. HN 37:25, see section 21, below), Tarshish being taken for Carthage; and vciKtvdoi [hyakinthos] similarly may point to either 'sapphire' or 'zircon' as one of the products of an eastern 'Tarshish' towards India (see TARSHISH).

[For other solutions of the problem of the Tarshish-stone (to retain the traditional name), see TARSHISH, STONE OF.]

1 For the beating of this on Rev. 21:20, vcucifdo; [hyakinthos], see below, section 23

18. Shoham.[edit]

xi. Shoham, j3r)pi i\\iov [beryllion], onychinus (Ex. 27:20, onyx, Ezek. 28:13 ; in Ex. 39:13 ovv\(.oi [onyxion], onychinus; ftijpv\\tov [beryllion] being transferred, cp section 19. Josephus, too (BJ 5:5:7) gives on> [onyx] and for yahalom, pijpvAAioi [beryllion]; but he also makes shebo and ahlamah change places, as also sappir and yahalom [laairis [iaspis]. Elsewhere also, shoham is very variously rendered in LXX, by crfiopaySof [smaragdos], Ex. 28:9, 35:27, 39:6 (of the high priest's shoulder-stones); Atdo? o irpao-irot [lithos o prasinos], Gen. 2:12; A. crap&iov [lithos sardion], Ex. 39:9 (same context as 39:6; perhaps for <Tfna.pdy&ov [smaragdou] miswritten a-papdpSov [srarardou], perhaps a variant for ovvx^ov [onychion], cp sardonyx, Job 28:16, Vg.) ; bvv [onyx], Job 28:16 ; Ai So* ow^o* [lithos onychos], 1 Ch. 29:2 (with 5:1 troop [soom] = soham transliterated). Vg. has onyx or onychinus everywhere ; except Job 28:16, sardonyx, where LXX, however, has 6t>f [onyx]. [Cp BERYL, 4, ONYX]

Thus the versions everywhere vary between

  • (a) a green stone (\/0os 6 irpdffivos [lithos o prasinos]), whether clear (<rfjidpay8os [smaragdos]) or cloudy (/Sr/pi/XXior [beryllion]), {1} and
  • (b) an opaque banded stone (6in [onyx], sardonyx? ydpSiov [sardion), the rendering adopted in EV.

Between these two renderings we must decide according to

  • (1) the evidence as to soham itself,
  • (2) the evidence as to yahalom (MT yashepheh) in xii. (section 19), which likewise shares j3r)pv\\iov [beryllion] and ovi Xiov [onychion] in LXX, and has probably contributed to the confusion.

1. The word shoham has no clear meaning. It may be a loan-word

  • (a) from Ass. samtu, the 'dark' or 'cloudy' stone,
  • (b) from A r. 'pale' (Ges. ), which suits onyx (see 19, below) or 'beryl' (the commoner varieties, and the 'aquamarine', not the deep green 'emerald', fffj.dpa.ydos [smaragdos]) almost equally well,
  • (c) from Ar. musahham, 'striped garment' (see section 4 d3), which, if it were established, would be decisive in favour of a banded stone;

or it may be, (d) a place-name (cp Ar. Soheim in Yemen), which would not be inconsistent with the indication in Gen. 2:12 that shoham (Xt 0os 6 irpdaivot [lithos o prasinos]) came from HAVILAH (q.v.).

It is clear, however (from passages like Job :16 and 1 Ch. 29:2, cp Ex. 25;7, 35:9, 36:27), either that the word had a wide generic sense (e.g. , 'variegated stones'), or that some form of shoham-stone was important enough to deserve separate mention apart from ordinary stones to be set. Moreover, in 1 Ch. 29:2 shoham is coupled with abni puk, 'stones of pigment', which is likewise generic, and here shoham might well mean 'variegated' or 'striped' stones.

Now there is one such stone, not yet accounted for in our list of identifications. It was common in Egypt in all periods, obtained from the Sinaitic mine-country, and used throughout, both solid and as a stone of pigment. It was known to Babylonia and Assyria, probably from the copious Siberian source. At the same time it is green enough (though only rarely and partially translucent) to be compared with ff[j.dpaydos [smaragdos] (which we have seen was regarded by Theophrastus as the noble offspring of the opaque green tao-iris) and still more with the cloudy 'beryl'; and also opaque and strtiped enough to be described as a variety of 'onyx'. This stone is the 'malachite' (green copper carbonate) with its wavy or concentric bands and cloudy (samtu) patches of light, vivid, and dark green, and its occasional crystalline varieties. It is soft enough, like lapis lazuli, to be easily engraved, and occurs in large enough pieces to serve as a tablet for a six-line inscription like that of the high priest's shoulder-stones. If shoham (X. 6 Trpaffivos [lithos o prasinos], par excellence ; cp the later Gk. yuaXax?m [malachitis], 'marsh-mallow stone') be identified with 'malachite' (the Eg. m-f-k-t, according to W. M. Miiller) the association of shoham with sappir in Job 28:16 (LXX bvvy rifj.i<f KO.L ffairtpeip(p [onychi timioo kai sappheiroo]) would find a close parallel in the 'pyramids of green and blue stones' which are quoted to illustrate the wealth of Rameses III. (Brugsch, Gesck. 596).

In Greek times, 'malachite', owing to its comparative softness, and its profusion in Cyprus and other sources of copper, either ceased to be held in regard, or was confused with green jasper (iaairi; [iaspis]). Meanwhile, other 'striped stones' - namely 'onyx', 'sardonyx', and 'banded agate' - came rapidly into vogue, as soon as the art of engraving through a surface-layer was perfected ; and consequently shoham came to be rendered either by words for 'green' (fBrjptiXXiov [beryllion], ff/j.a.pay8os [smaragdos]) or by words for 'banded' (ovv\i.ov [onychion]: sardonyx). Consequently, confusion arose on the one hand between shoham (onyx) and its neighbour yahalom (which includes the white-faced 'onyx'; see below), and on the other, between soham (green malachite) and yashepheh (green jasper), as soon as yahalom and yashephe were interchanged owing to the ambiguity of bareketh in No. i. (see above, section 9).

2. For the correlative argument from yahalom, see next.

1 Whence Petrie (Hastings, DB. 'Precious Stones') concludes in favour of (1) green felspar, passing later into (2) beryl : cp the argument in favour of the latter s.v. BERYL (q.v.).

19. Yahalom.[edit]

xii. Yahalom (Ex. 28:20, 39:13, MT yashepheh ; Ezek. 28:13, MT bareketh = (1) fapv^iov [beryllion], Ex. 39:13, Josephus ( = Vg. beryllus, Ex. 28:20, 39:13; berillus, Ezek. 28:13): = (2) ix " [onchion] (Ex. 28:13, Ezek. 28:13 cp section 18 ; Vg. has beryllus throughout). The transposition of yahalom has been discussed already in section 12, above, where the LXX i<x<nris [iaspis] presumes an original yashepheh. For xii. the balance of textual evidence favours orvxtov [onchion] in the LXX, just as it favours /37)puA\ioi [beryllion] in xi.; and beryllus in Vg. may result from the same source as that followed by Josephus.

The word yahalom seems to be connected with^/cVn [root HLM], 'strike hard', and (possibly) with srsVn, hallamis, 'flint' (irlrpa crrep^a [petra sterea], Job 28:9, d^poro/xos [akrotomos], 'abrupt-edged', Ps. 1148); with Ass. elmeshu, Aram, almas; and with Greek 'pyrites' - (i.e., 'fire-striking stone'). [Cp FLINT, but also DIAMOND]. The Assyrian elmeshu was a hard and probably colourless stone (nowhere either 'clear' or 'brilliant') which was used, with gold, to decorate chariot-wheels (cp the 'stone of Tarshish', Ezek. 1:16 [RV 'beryl']); and also alone, for whole rings (Del. Prol. 85, HWB, s.v.). What is wanted, therefore, for yahalom is a hard stone, colourless or of indifferent colour ; of which whole rings could be made ; and recognisably akin to the 'fire-striking stone', to the hard stone for hammers and pounders, and to ordinary 'flint' or 'chert'. The alternatives are rock-crystal and white chalcedony; the one clear or milky, the other milky or opaque. Both were fairly common, in association with either quartzite or flint ; but both were rare in their 'nobler' varieties. Both were used for whole rings, as well as for engraved seal-stones, in prehistoric Greece, and in Egypt of all periods ; and also commonly for later Babylonian, and for Assyrian cylinders.

At this point it should be recalled that the etymology 'finger nail' for 6vi> [onyx] (section 5) cannot be traced back earlier than Pliny - i.e., among Roman lapidaries, who took over an apparently Greek word, and gave it its Greek sense, though it is not at all an adequate description of the majority of 'onyx-stones'. Meanwhile the compound ffapdovvl; [sardonyx] shows that to denote a white-and-red 'onyx' it was the red which must be specified ; the white surface therefore is the essential character of the generic 'onyx'. On the other hand, the etymology, 6w!- [onyx] = Assyrian unku, 'ring', would make 6vv [onyx] an obvious equivalent for a 'ring-stone', like elmeshu or cognate words - especially as elmeshu was apparently colourless, and 6vv% [onyx] meant a stone which had a surface, at least, of white carnelian or chalcedony. It follows from this identification that yahalom was liable to be confused on the one hand with bareketh (in the sense of 'rock-crystal') ; on the other (together with 6vv^) with shoham (in the sense of 'striped stone'); and yet again with yashepheh, when later study had once revealed the many intermediates (e.g. Pliny's iasp-achates, iasp-onyx and sard-achates, HN, 37:54).

20. Result.[edit]

Thus the high-priestly breastplate, as a whole, may be conceived as having the following series of stones:-


iii. Bareketh

  • 1. ROCK CRYSTAL (white : clear)
  • 2. GREEN BERYL (green : clear)

ii. Pitdah

  • FALSE TOPAZ (yellow : clear)
  • CHRYSOLITE (yellow : clear)

i. Odem

  • ? RED JASPER (red : opaque)
  • SARD (red: dull)

vi. [Yashepheh]

  • GREEN JASPER (green : opaque)

v. Sappir

  • LAPIS LAZULI (blue : opaque)

iv. Nophek

  • GARNET (red : clear)

ix. Ahlamah

  • AMETHYST (purple : clear)

viii. Shebo

  • RED AGATE (red : opaque, striped)

vii. Leshem

  • CAIRNGORM (yellow : clear)
  • ? CHRYSOPRASE (Rev.) (yellow-green : dull)

xii. [Yahalom]

  • WHITE CARNELIAN (white : opaque)
  • WHITE ONYX (white : opaque, striped)

xi. Shoham

  • MALACHITE (green : opaque, striped)

x. Tarshish

  • YELLOW SERPENTINE (yellow : opaque)
  • CHRYSOLITE (yellow : clear)

or, in order of colours :

opaque clear striped
Blue SAPPIR AHLAMAH (purple)
White ?YAHALOM BAREKETH* (originally) ?YAHALOM

21. Kadkod.[edit]

One stone remains, which does not appear in the breastplate, but is mentioned in several other passages. This is kadkod (AV 'agate', RV 'ruby'), which is rendered in Is. 54:12 by ia<nris [iaspis], iaspis, Symm. Kapx nSofiov [karchedonion], and in Ezek. 27:16 by xPXPi [chorchor], chodchod. The word kadkod may be from N vc [root KDD] 'strike fire' (cp Ar. 'red'); but the renderings XPXP [chorchor] and ^ Kapx^Soviov [karchedonion] suggest confusion of d and y; cp Pesh. karkedna for shebo, [d^dr?;? [achates]] in Ex. 28:19, 39:12. The rendering KapxnSoviov [karchedonion] suggests the 'Carthaginian carbuncle' of Pliny; and if, as seems probable, a red stone is intended, the iaffTns [iaspis] of Is. 5412 must be interpreted as a red, not a green jasper. See Yashepheh, section 13 above, and cp AGATE, RUBY.

For shamir ('emery') which is not a precious stone, and for the descriptive ekdah and ra'moth, see above, section 4.

22. 'Covering of King of Tyre'.[edit]

A distorted version of the high priest's breastplate is offered by the 'covering of the king of Tyre' 1 in Ezek. 28:13, the individual stones of which have already been discussed above. In this passage the LXX repeats its list of Ex. 28:17-20, in the same order, but inserts KO.I dpyi ipiov Kal xP vaLOV [kai argyrion kai chrysion] between laffwis [iaspis] (vi. ) and \iyvpLov [ligurion] (vii.). This arose probably through (1) a misreading, Apr-yplON [argurion] for Alf"YP |ONi [ligurion] and (2) a misunderstanding of the last word in the list in MT (zahab = Vg. aurum), which would be facilitated by the double meanings of both Ai-y. [lig] and fjXeKTpov [elektron]. On the other hand, MT followed by Vg. gives only nine stones, and in a new order, as follows:-

  • Odem, pitdah, yahalom (= the 'first row', (i.) and (ii.) of Ex. 28:17-18, followed by (vi.) interchanged with (iii.), by confusion of yahalom and bareketh);
  • then tarshish, shoham, yashepheh ( = the 'fourth row' [x. , xi. , xii.] of Ex. ): so that yashepheh is brought into its right place at ( vi. ) of the present list ( = iacnrt.s [iaspis] of LXX);
  • then, sappir, nophek, bareketh (= the 'second row' of Ex., but with sappir and nophek transposed, and bareketh instead of 'yahalom'); then zahab ( Vg. aurum, 'gold') as noted above.

These derangements are instructive. That they represent an old text is clear from Vg.; but that the corruption is later than LXX is probable, firstly because LXX follows Ex. 28:13+ (the variant dpy. K. XP- [arg. kai chr.] being mainly explanatory of Xi7- [ligurion]), secondly, because the derangements are all explicable on the single supposition that they are intended to remove difficulties which are raised by the identifications propounded by the LXX.

  • (1) The identifications odem = ffdp5iov [sardion], and nophek = dv6pa [anthrax], brought two red stones together. So long as 'odem, which is 'red' in any case, meant red jasper, it was opaque, and gave a certain contrast. 'Sards', however, are often nearly clear. Hence a difficulty, which was removed by transposing nophek and sappir; the further difficulty thus created, that the red nophek is brought next to the red shebo, axdrrj? [achates], not being felt, because, as we shall see, the third row dropped out altogether.
  • (2) The identification bareketh = cr/j.dpa.ydos [smarados] had already brought about the transposition of yashepheh and yahallom, so as to separate the two green stones, and had caused the confusion in the LXX between 6vi Xtoi> [onychion] and jSrjpi iXXiov [beryllion] in xi. and xii. In MT it has had the further result that bartketh in the old sense of a clear colourless stone became interchanged with the opaque colourless yahalom. Moreover bareketh, if it meant <rfj.dpa.ydos [smaragdos], meant 'green'; and lacrTru [iaspis] was 'green', whereas o~/j.dpaydos [smaragdos] was ambiguous, and yahalom had no special colour. So on all grounds bareketh went down to (vi. ) and yahalom up to (iii).
  • (3) Further, to restore yashepheh to its proper place at (vi. ), and perhaps as an alternative method of separating odem and nophek, the whole of the 'fourth row' was interpolated between rows one and two.
  • (4) Finally and consequently, the 'third row' fell out altogether; leshem, \iyvpiov [ligurion], being taken for rj\fKrpov [elektron] - i.e. dpyvpiov Kal xP vffl - ov [argyrion kai chryion] - and confused with the zahab (=Vg. aurum), which actually ends the description both in MT and LXX.

1 [Cp CHERUB, 2, PARADISE, 3, and Crit. Bib. where the text of Ezek. 28:12+ is considered.]

23. Foundations of New Jerusalem.[edit]

Another distorted version of the same list of stones is supplied by the 'Foundations' of the New Jerusalem, in Rev. 21:19-20. Here, as regards the NT order, the problem has been, how to adapt the twelve stones of the breastplate, in their four rows-of-three, to the foundations of a foursquare city. The result is as follows :

I.||iacrnis [iaspis]||cran0fipos [sappheiros]||xaAKn8wv [chalkedoon] II.||<riJ.dpa.yoos [smaragdos]||crap8vuE [sardonyx]||<ra.p&6i v [sardion] III.||XpV<7oAl$OS [chrysolithos]||^YfpV\\LOl l [beryllion]||TOTra.fi.ov. [topazion] IV.||xpucronpacros [chrysoprasos]||uaKiveos [hyakinthos]||aufeucrTos [amethystos]

Of these rows-of-three, the first row is the second row of the 'breastplate', given in reversed order, (vi. ), (v. ), (iv.), with xaX^5w> [chalkedoon] for (nophek) dj<0pa [anthrax] at (iv.). The second row is the first row of the 'breastplate', also in reversed order (iii.), (ii.), (i.), with <ra.p56i>v [sardonyx] exchanged for Toirdfcov [topazion] at (ii.). The third row is the fourth row of the 'breastplate' in direct order (x.), (xi. ), (xii. ), but with Totrdfrov [topazion] exchanged for aapSovv^ [sardonyx] at (x. ). The fourth row is the third row of the 'breastplate' also in direct order (vii. ), (viii. ), (ix. ), but with xP vff ^> w P aa ^ [chrysoprasos] for \iyupiov [ligurion] at (vii.) and vdKivOos [hyakinthos] for dxdrrjs [achates] at (viii.).

[diagram goes here] That is to say, the 'Foundations' are conceived as in the diagram appended, and to describe them the writer has started from the angle* between sides II. and III. He has first described II. and I., vl - in correct sequence ; but when he reached IV. and III., he has recurred to the traditional order within each of the rows-of-three, or has perhaps attempted to work outwards again from his starting-point at the angle between II. and III.

This account also adds several minor points,

  • (1) The confusion between (rap5>i [sardonyx] and Toirdfrov [topazion] suggests that the authority, which is followed, read fii]ptj\\iov [beryllion] for shoham at no. xi. (section 18), and 6vv [onyx], or <rap5bi>v [sardonyx] for yahalom at no. xii. (section 19).
  • (2) The xaXtr^duw [chalkedoon] which takes the place of &i>6pa% [anthrax] at no. iv. substitutes a green gem ('dioptase' or copper silicate) for the red 'garnet'; giving some slight support to the discarded rendering m-f-k-t ( 'malachite') for nophek, but confirming the view that crfj.dpaydos [smaragdos] in Rev. does not mean a green

stone merely - for ^aX/c^wy [chalkedoon] was itself regarded as a variety of cr/AdpaySos [smaragdos]. Hfj-dpaydos [smaragdos] here, therefore, may perhaps still be translated 'crystal' as in its primary meaning.

  • (3) The xPvffrrPaffo* [chrysoprasos] which takes the place of \iytipiov [ligurion] and is not otherwise found in OT or NT, belongs, like xaXm^ciw [chalkedoon] and <rap56vv [sardonyx], to a more advanced stage of experience, when intermediate tints were recognised ; it may represent either a greenish 'chrysolith', or, more probably, the opaque applegreen 'chrysoprase' (chalcedony tinted with nickel oxide), which is intermediate in tint between a yellow serpentine or yellow jasper, and the Xttfos 6 irpdcivos [lithos o prasinos] (cp yuaXaxms [malachitis]) of Gen. 2:12. The modern 'prase' (deep green chalcedony) and its variant the jasper-spotted 'bloodstone' were used for scaraboid gems as early as the sixth century

B.C. in the Levant (e.g. Myres and Ohnefalsch-Richter, Cyprus Museum Catalogue, No. 4581), but are not clearly to be identified even in Pliny.

  • (4) The vdnivOos [hyakinthos], which takes the place of axdrys [achates], is similarly mentioned in OT or NT only here and in Rev. 9:17, vaKivOivos [hyakinthos]; cp Enoch 71:2 (of 'streams of fire'). Pliny (37:40) represents it as a dull sort of 'amethyst'. Solinus describes what is evidently the modern sapphire (blue corundum) and says that it came from Ethiopia; probably he is thinking of a port-of-exchange on the Red Sea, and consequently of the true Indian gem. Later, the meaning expanded, including many different-coloured varieties (five according to Epiphanius, six according to Ben Mansur [quoted at length in King, Nat. Hist, of Prec. Stones, 250+]). But the use of hyvacinthus in Vg. Symm. to render tarshish in Cant. 5:14 (where the LXX has &v6pa} [anthrax] as well as by Symm. in Ezek. 1:16, 28:13 (where the LXX has the normal xp vffXt#oy [chrysolithos]) suggests that an early use of vdmvdos [hyakinthos] may have been to render the native Indian word which appears in Arabic as yakut - this denoting the modern 'jacinth', a noble variety of 'zircon' (zirconium silicate), which is a transparent deep-red stone. Now the va.KivOos [hyakinthos] of Rev. 21:20 takes the place of a dark-red translucent stone, shebo, dxdrr)s [achates]. The epithet vaiavOivovs [hyakinthinous] of Rev. 9:17, too, is coupled with irvpivovs [pyrinous] fire-like (cp Enoch 71:2, above, and the equation hyacinthus = &vOpa. [anthrax] in Cant. 5:14), so that in both cases 'sapphire' is out of the question, whilst the sultry glow of the 'jacinth' is exactly what is wanted. Moreover, both vdKtvffos [hyakinthos] and dxciTT/s [achates] might very well stand as parallel attempts to transliterate yakut, and the displacement of the one by the other becomes in every way intelligible.

Other passages in Rev. dealing with precious stones have been noted already above - e.g. laairis [iaspis], KputrraAAuJW [krystallizoon], 21:11 (section 13); Ipis o^xoios opatret o~na.payoivip [iris homoios orasei smaragdinoo] 4:3 (section 9); 0aAacr<ra vaAt iT) I l/mia (cpiKTraAAu; [thalassa hyaline lithoo iaspida kai sardioo] 4:6 (section 9). The striking simile ojuoios opdcrct A<. 0a> ia.o-rri.Si Kal <rapSifa [homoios orasei lithoo iaspida kai sardioo] recalls the portrait statues of Roman Emperors and others, in which the raiment is worked out in hard-coloured stones a fashion introduced in the last years of the Republic from Ptolemaic Egypt.

J. L. M.

24. Bibliography.[edit]

C. W. King, Natural Hist, of Precious Stones; Antique Gems (1866); S. Menant, Glyptique Orientate (1883); N. Story Maskelyne, Catalogue of the Marlborough Gems (Introduction); J. H. Middleton, Ancient Gems (1891); Flinders Petrie, 'Precious Stones' in Hastings DB ; Furtwangler, Antike Gemmen (1900).