Sunday, January 21, 2024

Twelve Foundations (21.15–21)


And the one speaking with me had a golden measuring rod so he could measure the city and its gates and its wall. And the city is laid out square, and its length is the same as its width. And he measured the city with the rod to twelve thousand stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall: one hundred forty-four cubits, a man’s measurement, which is an angel’s. And the wall’s enclosing was jasper, and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

The foundations of the city’s wall were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh peridot, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls—each one of them gates was one pearl—and the city’s street was pure gold like transparent glass.


This vision of the new Jerusalem is largely inspired by the same in Ezekiel.



54.11–12 O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I am about to set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of jewels, and all your wall of precious stones.

61.10 I will greatly rejoice in Yhwh, my whole being shall exult in my god; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

1 Enoch

18.6–9 I came and saw a place that was burning night and day, where there were seven mountains of precious stone—three lying to the east and three to the south. And of those to the east, one was of colored stone, and one was of pearl, and one was of jasper. And those to the south were of flame-colored stone. And the middle one of them reached to heaven like the throne of God—of antimony; and the top of the throne was of lapis lazuli. And I saw a burning fire.

LXX Exodus

28.17–21 A row of stones shall be sardius, topaz and emerald, the first row, and the second row carbuncle and lapis lazuli and jasper, and the third row ligurion and agate and amethyst, and the fourth row chrysolite and beryl and onyx, covered around by gold, bounded up together in gold; let them be according to their row. And let the stones be from the names of the sons of Israel, twelve corresponding to their names


13.16 The gates of Jerusalem will be built with sapphire and emerald, and all your walls with precious stones. The towers of Jerusalem will be built with gold, and their battlements with pure gold. The streets of Jerusalem will be paved with ruby and with stones of Ophir.

Revelation of Zephaniah

5.3 I entered with him and found its whole square like a beautiful city, and I walked in its midst.

8.3–4 I, myself, put on an angelic garment. I saw all of those angels praying. I, myself, prayed together with them, I knew their language, which they spoke with me.


Allegorical Interpretations 1.81 when describing the garment, which reached to the feet he says, ‘And you shall weave in it sets of stones in four rows. The row of stones shall be the sardine stone, the topaz, and the emerald are the first row.’ Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are here meant. ‘And the second row,’ he says, ‘are the carbuncle and the sapphire.’ And the sapphire is the same as the green stone. And in the carbuncle was inscribed the name of Judah, for he was the fourth son: and in the sapphire the name of Issachar.

Special Laws 1.87 Then on his chest there are twelve precious stones of different colors, arranged in four rows of three stones in each row, being fashioned so as an emblem of the zodiac.


26.10–11 And the first stone, on which was written the name of the tribe Reuben, was like sardius. But the second stone was cut from ivory, and there the name of the tribe of Simeon was engraved, and it seemed like topaz. And on the third stone, which was like emerald, was engraved the name of the tribe of Levi. Now the fourth stone, on which the name of the tribe of Judah was engraved, was called crystal, and it was like carbuncle. But the fifth stone was prase, and upon it was engraved ‘tribe of Issachar,’ and it had the color of sapphire in it. And the engraving of the sixth stone (like chrysoprase) was speckled with diverse markings, and there was written ‘tribe of Zebulun,’ and it was like jasper. Now the engraving of the seventh stone shone and showed itself as if it held the water of the deep, and there was written the name of the tribe of Dan, and it was like figure. The eighth stone was cut out from diamond, and there was written the name of the tribe of Naphtali, and it was like amethyst. And the engraving of the ninth stone was pierced-work from Mount Ophir, and there was written ‘tribe of Gad,’ and it was like agate. And the engraving of the tenth stone was hollowed out, and it had the appearance of stone from Teman, and there was written ‘tribe of Asher,’ and it was like chrysolite. And the eleventh stone was taken from Lebanon, and there was written the name of the tribe of Joseph, and it was like beryl. And the twelfth stone was cut out from the height of Zion, and on it was written ‘tribe of Benjamin,’ and it was like onyx.

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