In the story of the "Exodus" Moses went into the mountain more than once.
It was on his fourth visit that he received
what we now call "The Ten Commandments."
Exodus 19:2 -- and they were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the
wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up into God,
and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying [paraphrased: if Israel will obey
my voice I will make them priests above all people]"
Ex.19:8 -- "[paraphrased: the people agreed]... and Moses returned the words
of the people unto the Lord."
Ex.19:20 -- "and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went
Ex.20:1 -- [Moses and Aaron are the only ones allowed near the mountain. This chapter
begins as if they have now returned. This begins the list of laws that we know as the
Ten Commandments, filling up three chapters.]
Ex.24:4 -- "And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord."
The "Ten Commandments" (so called) were written by Moses.
This subject is covered in more detail in the Addendum.
The fifth time that Moses went to the mountain, he received the instructions for the formation of
what would be the practicing religion of the Israelites. These were also referred to as "laws"
It was these... that were written on tablets of stone... and given
Exodus 24:12 -- "And the Lord said unto Moses, 'Come up to me into the
mount, and be there: and I will give thee tablets of stone, and a law, and
commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."
These written commandments given to Moses were the instructions for:
The Ark of the Covenant
The "Tent of God With Man" or "the Tabernacle"
All the contents of the Tabernacle
The priest's garments and duties
I decided to take a close look at these "commandments." (Subsequently, I wrote a
chapter in the Addendum for each of them). In time, I came to the breastpiece of the
priest. It was to hold twelve stones, each representing a son of Israel... now a tribe
of the nation of Israel.
There was a problem.
Over time, the names of the stones had been lost.
Depending on which Bible you read, the stones are named, but each translation names them
differently... with some commonalities because of a reference to color or hardness. Biblical
commentaries note that the exact stones can never be known... they are lost forever.
Below is an example of the various choices by different scholars.
Beginning with this verse:
Exodus 28:15-29 -- "And thou shall set in it settings of stones, even four rows
"... the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle:
the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond:
the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst:
the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper:"
New King James Version
"... the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a emerald:
the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond:
the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst:
the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper:"
New International Version
Footnote: "The precise identification of some
of these precious stones is uncertain."
"... the first row shall be a ruby, a topaz, a beryl.
The second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald.
The third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst.
The fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper."
The Douay-Challoner Text (Roman Catholic)
Footnote: "The translation of the Hebrew names
of some of these gems is quite conjectural."
"... the first row a carnelian, a topaz, and an emerald.
In the second row, a garnet, a sapphire, and a beryl.
In the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst.
In the fourth row, a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper."
28:21 -- "And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve,
according to their names, like the engravings of a signet;"
Some of the stones named are: diamonds, rubies, sapphires, etc. But, these small, hard gems
could not be those stones... the stones in the vest were to be signets, and were to have Jacob's
sons' names engraved on them. I decided to do some research to try to discover what
the stones might originally have been.
To help me find clues to what these representative stones might possibly be... I looked to
Jacob's last blessing... where Jacob describes his sons... and I studied the history of gems and
stones. Then, I placed all the clues together to see if anything might emerge.
I came upon a curious thing. The fifth son to receive Jacob's blessing is Zebulun. But Zebulun is the
tenth son and not the fifth. Zebulun was to "dwell at the haven of the sea..."
Gen.30:20 & Gen.49
The fifth stone on the vest, to represent the fifth son, was called "sapphire" in all the biblical translations.
Respecting the order of Jacob's designation... Zebulun would be that fifth son... and a "blue" stone
would, indeed, be appropriate to represent Zebulun and the coastline. Other references in the scriptures
to the translated word "sapphire" ensured that the stone was a blue stone... and yet,
the stone in the breastpiece could not be the hard sapphire. It must be a blue stone that
could be engraved.
I searched through all possible stones and decided that it just must be the turquoise that was
meant. It fulfilled all the parameters, and it was a stone native to that region. I began checking all
references in the scriptures to what had been called a "sapphire"... to see if this choice held true.
I came to Exodus 24:10
The event is the elders of the tribes gathering on Moses' mountain.
"And they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet as it were a paved
work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness."
It wasn't likely that the "sapphire stone" being described in this verse was a flattened
boulder or even tiles of the hard sapphire. Sapphires do not shape... at least they didn't in the
times when this description was given. In ancient times, sapphire was so hard that it was mainly
used as emery... not decoration. And if this were to simply represent a clear blue sky... it would
not appear so puzzling, having to use the phrase
"as it were" repeatedly.
What the elders saw, more likely... had the appearance "as it were"... of a turquoise stone.
Turquoise is light blue, like a clear sunlit sky or sea, and commonly has veins of brownish
materials running through it. The stone appeared to be "paved" or
In Isaiah 66:1 it says: "The heaven is my throne, and the earth is
This verse is comparable to the vision of the elders in its imparting of a picture of God... in the
heavens... with something under his feet. It could well be a clarifying prophecy of Isaiah, referring
specifically to the vision of the elders.
"The body of heaven in his clearness" under his feet, then... would be Earth.
If these elders saw a vision of Earth from space... in their terms of expression it might be quite
similar to "a paved (or shaped) work of turquoise stone."
The elders' vision surely was a view of Earth from space...
... "the body of heaven in his clearness"
If you are brave enough... and, if you have the equanimity of mind...
let me show you something that you have never seen before...