Abstract

The Hebrew text of the OT names 27 rocks, minerals, and other materials that have been identified as gemstones in translations. These are mentioned most notably in the descriptionsof the high priest's breastplate (Exod 28:17–20 and 39:10–13 [36:17–20 LXX]) and the prince of Tyre's canopy (Ezek 28:13), but they are also found in dozens of other passages. Thisstudy attempts to identify these materials following a multidisciplinary approach that includes linguistic analysis (examining etymologies and descriptions of the stones),archaeological evidence (looking at the gemstones actually used in the Near East during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages as well as the ancient mines that may have supplied them), andgeological evidence (combining mineralogical and petrological data with knowledge of known gemstone deposits in the region). One or two possible identities are proposed for eachthe 27 materials, most of which are true gemstones.

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