The Hoshen Stones

The Hoshen Stones

The Hoshen Stones

The Hoshen stones are the 12 stones found in the sacred breastplate, known as the Hoshen that is worn by the Israelite High Priests. The Hoshen functioned as a mediator between God and the twelve tribes of Israel. The stones symbolized the connection between the ambitions of man and natures perfection.
Different Jewish references teach us that besides representing the Children of Israels twelve tribes, every stone has helped as a manifestation of optimism and faith all throughout the generations. Each of the stones represents the unity of the Jewish people and their equalized place before the God Almighty. As precious and nonprecious stones were placed in the Hoshen together, all men stand equal in the sight of God.

The Hoshen stones in the bible

Each of the Hoshen Stones in accordance to the Bible scriptures is to be created from particular minerals, it should be different from one another, and each of them symbolical of a particular tribe, whose identity was to be engraved on the stone. There has been no coherent view in the standard rabbinic literature on the order of how the names were arranged; the Jerusalem Targum, for instance, reasoned that according to the Book of Genesis, the names came out in the order of the birth of the patriarch of every tribe. Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon debated that the names were carved on the first stones, while on the last stone the words (these are) the tribes of Jeshurun are carved on it; Kabbalistic writers such as Bahya Ben Asher and Hezekiah Ben Manoah reasoned that only six letters from each name was found on every stone, including some letters from the names of Abraham, Jacob or Isaac, or from the words (these are) the tribes of Jeshurun, so the total ended up with seventy-two letters.

The meaning of the stones

Unfortunately, the meaning of the Hebrew names of the minerals are not clearly stated in the Masotric text, and although the Greek names for them in the Septuagint are a lot clearer, scholars believe that we cannot rely completely on this matter since the breastplate had not been used during the time of the creation of the Septuagint, and some Grecian names for different gems have changed meaning between the classical era and recent times. Even so, while the classical rabbinical literature debates that the names were carved with the use of a magic worm since neither chisels, paint or ink was permitted to mark them out, a further representational approach indicates that the jewels must have had relatively low hardness so that it can be carved on, and hence this gives an added hint of the mineral's identity.


The Twelve Hoshen Stones are listed below;

Carnelion/Ruby - Reuven - symbol of love and marriage; aid in conception, maternity and giving birth
Topaz - Shimon - carries benediction of abundance and joy to one’s life
Emerald - Levi - symbol of generousness, reserve and kindness
Turquoise - Yehuda - contributes to success in business matters
Lapis Lazuli - Yissachar - sign of clearness of thought and honesty
Quartz - Zevulun - imparts strength; symbolizes purity and the love of truth
Jacinth - Dan - induces creative thinking; bestows self-realization
Agate - Naphtali - has an extraordinary calming effect
Amethyst - Gad - symbolic representation of spiritual strength; defends against negative energies
Chrysolite - Asher - sanctifies both body and soul; brings in inner peace
Onyx - Yosef - strengthens one's courageousness and self-discipline
Jasper - Binyamin - brings physical strength; improves self-esteem


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