Exodus 28:20
And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their settings.
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(20) They shall be set in gold in their inclosings.—Or, in their settings. Every gem was to be enclosed in its own setting of gold.

28:15-30 The chief ornament of the high priest, was the breastplate, a rich piece of cloth, curiously worked. The name of each tribe was graven in a precious stone, fixed in the breastplate, to signify how precious, in God's sight, believers are, and how honourable. How small and poor soever the tribe was, it was as a precious stone in the breastplate of the high priest; thus are all the saints dear to Christ, however men esteem them. The high priest had the names of the tribes, both on his shoulders and on his breast, which reminds us of the power and the love with which our Lord Jesus pleads for those that are his. He not only bears them up in his arms with almighty strength, but he carries them in his bosom with tender affection. What comfort is this to us in all our addresses to God! The Urim and Thummim, by which the will of God was made known in doubtful cases, were put in this breastplate. Urim and Thummim signify light and integrity. There are many conjectures what these were; the most probable opinion seems to be, that they were the twelve precious stones in the high priest's breastplate. Now, Christ is our Oracle. By him God, in these last days, makes known himself and his mind to us, Heb 1:1,2; Joh 1:18. He is the true Light, the faithful Witness, the Truth itself, and from him we receive the Spirit of Truth, who leads into all truth.A beryl - Supposed to be a brilliant yellow stone, identified with what is now nown as the Spanish topaz.

A jasper - Probably the green jasper.

15-29. thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work—a very splendid and richly embroidered piece of brocade, a span square, and doubled, to enable it the better to bear the weight of the precious stones in it. There were twelve different stones, containing each the name of a tribe, and arranged in four rows, three in each. The Israelites had acquired a knowledge of the lapidary's art in Egypt, and the amount of their skill in cutting, polishing, and setting precious stones, may be judged of by the diamond forming one of the engraved ornaments on this breastplate. A ring was attached to each corner, through which the golden chains were passed to fasten this brilliant piece of jewelry at the top and bottom tightly on the breast of the ephod. No text from Poole on this verse. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper,.... Whatever stone is meant by the first in this row, it must be of a sea green colour; for "tarshish", the word used, signifies the sea; and so the beryl, as Pliny (r) says, imitates the greenness of the pure sea. Braunius (s) takes it to be the chrysolite that is meant; and so does Ainsworth; and it is so rendered by the Septuagint; and this, according to Ruaeus (t), is of a colour like the greenness of the sea: the "onyx" has its name from its being of the colour of a man's nail, as observed before; but here "shoham" is thought by Braunius (u) to be the "sardonyx", following Josephus, Jerom, and the Vulgate Latin version, which is a compound of the sardian and onyx stones: the last is undoubtedly rightly rendered the jasper, for the Hebrew word is "jaspeh": this stone is sometimes variegated with spots like a panther, and therefore is called by Onkelos "pantere"; the most valuable is the green spotted with red or purple:

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

(r) Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 5. (s) Ut supra, (De Vestitu Sacerd Heb. l. 2.) c. 17. sect. 7. p. 720. (t) De Gemmis, l. 2. c. 7. (u) Ut supra, (De Vestitu Sacerd Heb. l. 2.) c. 18. sect. 4. p. 730.

And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
20. a beryl] Heb. tarshish, χρυσόλιθος (Revelation 21:10), chrysolithus: Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 10:9; Ezekiel 28:13, Song of Solomon 5:14, Daniel 10:6. The name tarshish apparently points to its being obtained from Tarshish (Tartessus) in Spain. The chrysolite (‘gold-stone’) of the later Greeks (which was also obtained from Spain, Pliny, H. N. xxxvii. 127) is probably our topaz1[208], but as this was unknown in earlier times, some other gold-coloured stone must be intended,—perhaps (Petrie) the yellow jasper. It is not however stated whether this stone is (or was) found in Spain. The rend. beryl is as old as Abarbanel (1437–1508): the chalcedony (RVm.; Revelation 21:19) of the ancients,—so called from its being found at Chalcedon (opposite to Byzantium),—was the green transparent carbonate of copper, our copper emerald (Smith, DB. s.v.).

[208] By a curious interchange of terms, it seems that ‘the ancient chrysolite is the modern topaz, and the ancient topaz the modern chrysolite’ (Smith, DB. s.v. Beryl).

an onyx] Heb. shôham, βηρύλλιον (so LXX. here, but not consistently), onychinus: v. 9, Exodus 25:7, Genesis 2:12, Ezekiel 28:13, Job 28:16, 1 Chronicles 29:2. This is usually supposed to be either the onyx (LXX. in Job; Vulg. mostly) or the beryl (LXX. here; Pesh. Targ. always): the onyx being a stratified stone, consisting of layers of white (resembling in colour the nail, whence the name), grey, and other colours (see DB. s.v.), and the beryl a clear blue, green, or pale yellow stone (see EB. s.v.). Myres, however (EB. iv. 4808), argues in favour of malachite (green carbonate of copper), ‘common in Egypt in all periods, obtained from the Sinaitic mine district,’ and also other sources of copper, as Cyprus, and known likewise in Babylonia and Assyria.

a jasper] Heb. yâshepheh, ὀνύχιον, beryllus (but see on ‘diamond’ in v. 18): Ezekiel 28:13, Revelation 21:19. In all probability the green jasper is intended.Verse 20. - The fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper. If the identifications above suggested are allowed, two at least of these translations must be rejected. We have supposed the third stone in the first row to have been the "beryl," and the third in the second the "onyx." Perhaps we should translate, "a turquoise, a sardonyx, and a jasper." (See the comment on ver. 9.) Their inclosings. Rather, "their settings," as in ver. 17. There were also to be made for the ephod two (see Exodus 28:25) golden plaits, golden borders (probably small plaits in the form of rosettes), and two small chains of pure gold: "close shalt thou make them, corded" (lit., work of cords or strings), i.e., not formed of links, but of gold thread twisted into cords, which were to be placed upon the golden plaits or fastened to them. As these chains served to fasten the choshen to the ephod, a description of them forms a fitting introduction to the account of this most important ornament upon the state-dress of the high priest.
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