Exodus 28:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl;

King James Bible
And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.

Darby Bible Translation
And thou shalt set in it settings of stones -- four rows of stones: [one] row, a sardoin, a topaz, and an emerald -- the first row;

World English Bible
You shall set in it settings of stones, four rows of stones: a row of ruby, topaz, and beryl shall be the first row;

Young's Literal Translation
And thou hast set in it settings of stone, four rows of stone; a row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle is the first row;

Exodus 28:17 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Four rows of stones - With a name on each stone, making in all the twelve names of the twelve tribes. And as these were disposed according to their birth, Exodus 28:10, we may suppose they stood in this order, the stones being placed also in the order in which they are produced, Exodus 28:17-20 : -

Four Rows of Stones First Row Sons of Leah Sardius or Ruby Reuben ראובן Topaz Simeon שמעון Carbuncle Levi לוי Second Row Emerald Judah יהודה Sapphire Issachar יששכר Diamond Zebulun זבולן Third Row Sons of Bilhah, Rachael's maid Ligure or Jacinth Dan דן Agate Naphtali נפתלי Son of Zilpah, Leah's maid Amethyst Gad גד Fourth Row Beryl or Crysolite Asher אשר Sons of Rachel Onyx, or Sardonyx Joseph יוסף Jasper Benjamin בנימין

In this order the Jews in general agree to place them. See the Jerusalem Targum on this place, and the Targum upon Sol 5:14; and see also Ainsworth. The Targum of Jonathan says, "These four rows were placed opposite to the four quarters of the world; but this could only be when laid down horizontally, for when it hung on the breast of the high priest it could have had no such position. As it is difficult to ascertain in every case what these precious stones were, it may be necessary to consider this subject more at large.

1. A Sardius, מדם ,su odem, from the root adam, he was ruddy; the ruby, a beautiful gem of a fine deep red color. The sardius, or sardie stones, is defined to be a precious stone of a blood-red color, the best of which come from Babylon.

2. A Topaz, פטדה pitdah, a precious stone of a pale dead green, with a mixture of yellow, sometimes of a fine yellow; and hence it was called chrysolite by the ancients, from its gold color. It is now considered by mineralogists as a variety of the sapphire.

3. Carbuncle, ברקת bareketh, from ברק barak, to lighten, glitter, or glister; a very elegant gem of a deep red color, with an admixture of scarlet. From its bright lively color it had the name carbunculus, which signifies a little coal; and among the Greeks ανθραξ anthrax, a coal, because when held before the sun it appears like a piece of bright burning charcoal. It is found only in the East Indies, and there but rarely.

4. Emerald, נפך nophech, the same with the ancient smaragdus; it is one of the most beautiful of all the gems, and is of a bright green color, without any other mixture. The true oriental emerald is very scarce, and is only found at present in the kingdom of Cambay.

5. Sapphire, ספיר sappir. See this described, Exodus 24:10.

6. Diamond, יהלם yahalom, from הלם halam, to beat or smite upon. The diamond is supposed to have this name from its resistance to a blow, for the ancients have assured us that if it be struck with a hammer, upon an anvil, it will not break, but either break them or sink into the surface of that which is softest. This is a complete fable, as it is well known that the diamond can be easily broken, and is capable of being entirely volatilized or consumed by the action of fire. It is, however, the hardest, as it is the most valuable, of all the precious stones hitherto discovered, and one of the most combustible substances in nature.

7. Ligure, לשם leshem, the same as the jacinth or hyacinth; a precious stone of a dead red or cinnamon color, with a considerable mixture of yellow.

8. Agate, שבו shebo. This is a stone that assumes such a variety of hues and appearances, that Mr. Parkhurst thinks it derives its name from the root שב shab, to turn, to change, "as from the circumstance of the agate changing its appearance without end, it might be called the varier." Agates are met with so variously figured in their substance, that they seem to represent the sky, the stars, clouds, earth, water, rocks, villages, fortifications, birds, trees, flowers, men, and animals of different kinds. Agates have a white, reddish, yellowish, or greenish ground. They are only varieties of the flint, and the lowest in value of all the precious stones.

9. Amethyst, אחלמה achlamah, a gem generally of a purple color, composed of a strong blue and deep red. The oriental amethyst is sometimes of a dove color, though some are purple, and others white like diamonds. The name amethyst is Greek, αμεθυστος, and it was so called because it was supposed that it prevented inebriation.

10. The Beryl, תרשיש tarshish. Mr. Parkhurst derives this name from תר tar, to go round, and שש shash, to be vivid or bright in color. If the beryl be intended, it is a pellucid gem of a bluish green color, found in the East Indies, and about the gold mines of Peru. But some of the most learned mineralogists and critics suppose the chrysolite to be meant. This is a gem of a yellowish green color, and ranks at present among the topazes. Its name in Greek, chrysolite, χρυσολιθος, literally signifies the golden stone.

11. The Onyx, שהם shoham. See Clarke's note on Genesis 2:12; See Clarke's note on Exodus 25:7. There are a great number of different sentiments on the meaning of the original; it has been translated beryl, emerald, prasius, sapphire, sardius, ruby, cornelian, onyx, and sardonyx. It is likely that the name may signify both the onyx and sardonyx. This latter stone is a mixture of the chalcedony and cornelian, sometimes in strata, at other times blended together, and is found striped with white and red strata or layers. It is generally allowed that there is no real difference, except in the degree of hardness, between the onyx, cornelian, chalcedony, sardonyx, and agate. It is well known that the onyx is of a darkish horny color, resembling the hoof or nail, from which circumstance it has its name. It has often a plate of a bluish white or red in it, and when on one or both sides of this white there appears a plate of a reddish color, the jewelers, says Woodward, call the stone a sardonyx.

continued...

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

thou shalt

Exodus 28:9,11 And you shall take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel...

Exodus 39:10 And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row.

Malachi 3:17 And they shall be mine, said the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them...

set in it settings of stones. Heb. fill in its fillings of stone. the first row

Ezekiel 28:13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl...

Revelation 21:19-21 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper...

a sardius or ruby. The Hebrew odem, from adam, to be red, ruddy, seems to denote the ruby; as adam does in Persian a beautiful gem, of a fine deep red colour, with a mixture of purple.

Job 28:18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

Proverbs 3:15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to her.

Proverbs 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Proverbs 20:15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Lamentations 4:7 Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies...

a topaz. Pitdah, is constantly rendered by the LXX and Vulgate with which agrees Josephus. The topaz is a precious stone, of a pale, dead green, with a mixture of yellow, sometimes of a fine yellow; and hence called chrysolyte by the moderns, from its gold colour

Job 28:19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

Revelation 21:20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth...

a carbuncle. Bareketh, from barak, to lighten, glitter, a very elegant gem, of a deep red colour, with a mixture of scarlet

Isaiah 54:11,12 O you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with fair colors...

Library
Three Inscriptions with one Meaning
'Thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it ... HOLINESS TO THE LORD.'--EXODUS xxviii. 36. 'In that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.'--ZECH. xiv. 20. 'His name shall be in their foreheads.'--REV. xxii. 4. You will have perceived my purpose in putting these three widely separated texts together. They all speak of inscriptions, and they are all obviously connected with each other. The first of them comes from the ancient times of the institution
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Edwards -- Spiritual Light
Jonathan Edwards, the New England divine and metaphysician, was born at East Windsor, Connecticut, in 1703. He was graduated early from Yale College, where he had given much attention to philosophy, became tutor of his college, and at nineteen began to preach. His voice and manner did not lend themselves readily to pulpit oratory, but his clear, logical, and intense presentation of the truth produced a profound and permanent effect upon his hearers. He wrote what were considered the most important
Grenville Kleiser—The world's great sermons, Volume 3

The Covenant of Grace
Q-20: DID GOD LEAVE ALL MANKIND TO PERISH 1N THE ESTATE OF SIN AND MISERY? A: No! He entered into a covenant of grace to deliver the elect out of that state, and to bring them into a state of grace by a Redeemer. 'I will make an everlasting covenant with you.' Isa 55:5. Man being by his fall plunged into a labyrinth of misery, and having no way left to recover himself, God was pleased to enter into a new covenant with him, and to restore him to life by a Redeemer. The great proposition I shall go
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Earliest Christian Preaching
1. THUS far we have confined ourselves to the words of Jesus. The divine necessity of His death, indicated in the Old Testament and forming the basis of all His teaching regarding it, is the primary truth; the nature of that necessity begins to be revealed as the death is set in relation to the ransoming of many, and to the institution of a new covenant -- that is, a new religion, having as its fundamental blessing the forgiveness of sins. I do not think this view of our Lord's mind as to His own
James Denney—The Death of Christ

Cross References
Revelation 21:19
The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,

Exodus 28:16
It is to be square--a span long and a span wide--and folded double.

Exodus 28:18
the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald;

Exodus 39:10
Then they mounted four rows of precious stones on it. The first row was carnelian, chrysolite and beryl;

Ezekiel 28:13
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

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