Gemstones in the Bible

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Jasper is the last stone mentioned in the High Priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:20). It comes from the Hebrew word yashpheh (Strong's #H3471). It is also the name of the sixth stone that adorned Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:13). The root of the word means to "polish" and both Strong's and BDB translate the word as Jasper.

Yashpheh is translated "jasper" in Exodus 28:20 and Ezekiel 28:13 in all ten of the translations used in this series. In the New Testament, the first foundation stone in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:19) is called in the Greek iaspis (Strong's #G2393). It is also translated as this gem in all ten Scripture versions used for comparison in this series.

The book of Revelation records several visions given to the apostle John, one of which includes jaspers in relationship to God's appearance on his throne.

After these things I (John) looked, and behold, a door opened in heaven . . . And immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one was sitting on the throne. And He Who was sitting was in appearance like a jasper stone . . . (Revelation 4:1 - 3, HBFV)

What is beautiful to GOD?
Why was New Testament written in Greek?
WHY will a New Jerusalem be created?

Jaspers are considered an opaque variety of Chalcedony stones. The most common colors found in them are red, green, brown or yellow and they can appear flamed or striped. The precious stone found in the priest's breastplate was likely colored "emerald-green" (Gemstones in the Breastplate, page 33).

A 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica section on jasper states the following concerning the possible ancient color of this gemstone.

"The jasper of antiquity was in many cases distinctly green, for it is often compared with the emerald and other green objects. Jasper is referred to in the Niebelungenlied as being clear and green."

Outcrop of Jasper
Outcrop of Jasper

Jasper Folklore

In ancient times, this gem was credited as a rainmaker. It was also thought to stop the hemorrhaging of blood. In the fourth century, the stone was thought to drive away evil spirits and to protect those who wore it from venomous bites. If a lion or an archer were carved on the stone, it would protect the wearer from poison and cure them of fever (Curious Lore of Precious Stones, pages 6, 90 – 91 and 133).

Additional Study Materials
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Mythical Animals in Scripture
Biblical symbolism

Gemstones in the Bible

1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
Curious Lore of Precious Stones, 1913 ed.
Diamonds, Pearls and Precious Stones, 1913 ed.
Gemstones in the Breastplate, 2008 ed.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
United States Geological Survey - - Wikipedia

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