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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Ber´yl. This is supposed by some to be the precious stone intended by the word shoham, which occurs in Genesis 2:12; Exodus 28:9; Exodus 35:9-27; Job 28:16; Ezekiel 28:13. Whether the beryl be the shohamor not, it is a Scriptural stone by virtue of the mention of it in Revelation 21:20. There is no doubt that the stone which we call beryl is the substance to which the ancients gave the same name. It is of a pale sea-green color, inclining sometimes to water blue, and sometimes to yellow. In its crystallized form it exhibits sexagonal columns striped longitudinally. The shoham furnished the shoulder-pieces in the breastplate of the high priest, on each of which six names were engraven, and for this purpose the stalky beryl, consisting of long, stout, hexagonal pieces, was peculiarly suited. Beryls are found, but not often, in collections of ancient gems. In Genesis 2:12, the shoham is named as the product of Havilah; in Job 28:16, it is mentioned as a stone of great value, being classed with the sapphire and the gold of Ophir; in Ezekiel 28:13, it appears as a valuable article of commerce.

Luther, relying upon the authority of some ancient versions, makes the shoham to have been the onyx. This indeed is the stone usually given for the shohamin Hebrew lexicons, and is the one which the Authorized Version has also adopted.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Beryl'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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