After the sealing of the covenant, Moses and other elders of Israel ascended Mt. Sinai, and it was there they saw God. It’s hard to imagine what such an experience would feel like…seeing the Lord of Creation with human eyes.
Their description of the scene is revealed in the book of Exodus…
Often called “the stone of the sky” for its brilliant azure hue, lapis lazuli has long been admired and prized, from ancient civilizations to modern-day jewelry designers.
The Blue Stone of the Throne—Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli is one of the precious stones mentioned numerous times in the bible. iIt is included in the description of God's Throne, and, according to some scholars, is the stone on which God wrote the 10 Commandments!
While researching the stones, I noticed that some translations mentioned “sapphire” and some others mentioned “lapis lazuli” in place of “sapphire”.
Ezekiel 28:13 KJV
Ezekiel 28:13 NIV
As I dug deeper, I learned many modern biblical scholars believe that the Bible were referencing lapis lazuli rather than sapphire.
The source of the variance seems to stem from the translations of the Hebrew word Sapir being incorrectly assigned to sapphire. When at the time, Sapir* was used to describe the mineral lazurite**, whether pure (Lazurite) or aggregate (Lapis Lazuli). If you share my fascination with linguistics, scroll down to the bottom for more specifics in the footnotes.
…make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord…—Numbers 15:38-39.
The Bible is filled with so much detail that it is easy to overlook key details as we read for understanding. If you’re like me, going back and re-reading the passages to paint a picture of biblical scenes with rich details allows the Bible to come to life, and can help you feel more connected to the story.
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*Sapir is derived from the Greek word Sapphirus. The ancient Greeks and Romans used the term Sapphirus “blue stone” to refer to the Lapis Lazuli stone. During biblical times, the Hebrews used the term Sapir to describe lazurite. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that this rock became known as lapis - lazuli—Latin for blue stone and derived from the word lazhumet, the ancient Persian word for blue.
**Today jewelers reserve term lazurite for pure glassy crystal and the term lapis lazuli for opaque aggregate rock.
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