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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

ספיר ,  Exodus 24:10;  Exodus 28:18;  Job 28:6;  Job 28:16;  Song of Solomon 5:14;  Isaiah 54:11;  Ezekiel 1:26;  Ezekiel 10:1;  Ezekiel 28:13 , σαπφειρος ,  Revelation 21:19 , only. That this is the sapphire, there can be no doubt. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the general run of commentators, ancient and modern, agree in this. The sapphire is a pellucid gem. In its finest state it is extremely beautiful and valuable, and second only to the diamond in lustre, hardness, and value. Its proper colour is pure blue; in the choicest specimens it is of the deepest azure; and in others varies into paleness, in shades of all degrees between that and a pure crystal brightness, without the least tinge of colour, but with a lustre much superior to the crystal. The oriental sapphire is the most beautiful and valuable. It is transparent, of a fine sky colour, sometimes variegated with veins of a white sparry substance, and distinct separate spots of a gold colour. Whence it is that the prophets describe the throne of God like unto sapphire,  Ezekiel 1:26;  Ezekiel 10:1 .  Isaiah 54:11-12 , prophesying the future grandeur of Jerusalem, says,

"Behold, I lay thy stones in cement of vermilion, And thy foundations with sapphires:

And I will make thy battlements of rubies, And tiny gates of carbuncles;

And the whole circuit of thy walls shall be of precious stones."

"These seem," says Bishop Lowth, "to be general images to express beauty, magnificence, purity, strength, and solidity, agreeably to the ideas of the eastern nations; and to have never been intended to be strictly scrutinized, or minutely and particularly explained, as if they had each of them some precise moral or spiritual meaning." Tob_13:16-17 , in his prophecy of the final restoration of Israel, describes the New Jerusalem in the same oriental manner: "For Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires, and emeralds, and precious stones; thy walls, and towers, and battlements, with pure gold. And the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with the beryl and carbuncle, and with stones of Ophir,"  Revelation 21:18-21 .

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

(σάπφειρος, from מַפיר)

Sapphire is the second foundation stone of the New Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:19), an idea probably suggested by  Isaiah 54:11. Doubtless the lapis lazuli is meant (so  Revelation 21:19 Revised Version margin). According to Theophrastus (Lap. 23) the sapphire is ‘as it were spotted with gold dust.’ (ὥσπερ χρυσόπαστος), and Pliny (Historia Naturalis (Pliny)xxxvii. 38) alludes to its ‘aureus pulvis,’ and again (39), ‘in iis [sapphiris] enim aurum punctis conlucet caeruleis.’ This description does not suit the stone now called sapphire, but is fully applicable to the lapis lazuli, which ‘frequently contains disseminated particles of iron-pyrites of gold-like appearance’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica11 xvi. 199). In  Exodus 24:10 the Septuagintsays that under God’s feet is ὡσεὶ ἔργον πλίνθου σαπφείρου-a fine simile for the star-gemmed azure sky (cf.  Ezekiel 1:26.). The modern sapphire is probably the ancient ὑάκινθος, or ‘jacinth’ (q.v.[Note: .v. quod vide, which see.]).

Literature-C. W. King, The Natural History of Precious Stones and Gems, 1865, pp. 273-277; J. H. Middleton, The Engraved Gems of Classical Times, 1891.

James Strahan.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [3]

1: Σάπφιρος (Strong'S #4552 — Noun Feminine — sappheiros — sap'-fi-ros )

is mentioned in  Revelation 21:19 (RV, marg., "lapis lazuli") as the second of the foundations of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem (cp.   Isaiah 54:11 ). It was one of the stones in the high priest's breastplate,  Exodus 28:18;  39:11; as an intimation of its value see  Job 28:16;  Ezekiel 28:13 . See also  Exodus 24:10;  Ezekiel 1:26;  10:1 . The "sapphire" has various shades of blue and ranks next in hardness to the diamond.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

One of the hyaline corundums; deep blue, hard, brilliant, and costly. Representing the hue of the divine throne. On the high-priest's breast-plate ( Exodus 28:18); some think the lapis lazuli is meant ( Exodus 24:10).  Ezekiel 1:26;  Ezekiel 10:1;  Job 28:6;  Job 28:16;  Song of Solomon 5:14, sapphire, sparkling in the girdle round Him;  Isaiah 54:11;  Lamentations 4:7, "their polishing was of sapphire," they were like beautifully cut and polished sapphires. The sapphires represent the blue veins of a beautiful person ( Ezekiel 28:13). The best sapphires came from Persia. Our sapphire is the azure or indigo blue, crystalline corundum; but the Latin and Greek sapphire was "refulgent with spots of gold, azure, never transparent, not suited for engraving when intersected with hard crystalline particles" (Pliny, H. N. 37:9); i.e. the lapis lazuli. The Hebrew lapis lazuli is transparent and suited for engraving; probably our sapphire.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

sappir , σάπφειρος. When Moses, and the elders, etc., went up into the mount to God "there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone."  Exodus 24:10 . In Ezekiel's vision, above the firmament, was seen the "likeness of a throne as the appearance of a sapphire stone."  Ezekiel 1:26 . It was one of the stones in the breastplate, and one that garnished the foundation of the holy Jerusalem. It is symbolical of heavenly glory.  Exodus 28:18;  Revelation 21:19 . The word occurs in  Job 28:6,16;  Song of Solomon 5:14;  Isaiah 54:11;  Lamentations 4:7;  Ezekiel 10:1;  Ezekiel 28:13 . Probably an azure or sky-blue stone. Some suppose it was the Lapis-lazuli, others identify it withthe modern sapphire.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Sapphire. (Hebrew, sappir ). A precious stone, apparently of a bright-blue color,  Exodus 24:10; set as the second stone, in the second row, of the high priest's breastplate,  Exodus 28:18; extremely precious,  Job 28:16. It was one of the precious stones, that ornamented the king of Tyre.  Ezekiel 28:13. The sapphire of the ancients was not our gem of that name, namely, the azure or indigo-blue, crystalline variety of corundum, but our Lapis Lazuli ( Ultra-Marine ).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

A gem next in hardness and value to the diamond, and comprising, as varieties, all those precious stones known by the name of oriental gems, namely, the oriental ruby, oriental topaz, and oriental emerald,  John 21:25 . In general the name of sapphire is given to the blue variety, which is either of deep indigo blue, or of various lighter tints,  Exodus 24:10 , and sometimes gradually passes into perfectly white or colorless, which, when cut, may also pass for a diamond,  Exodus 28:18;  39:11;  Revelation 21:19 .

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [8]

 Isaiah 54:11 (a) Our Lord Jesus is compared to this beautiful stone because of His holy and heavenly character, and as the foundation of GOD's Church. It is also a picture of the heavenly character of the nation of Israel as they will appear when GOD finishes His training of them.

 Ezekiel 1:26 (a) This is a bright blue stone which is typical of the heavenly and holy character of our Lord. (See also  Song of Solomon 5:14;  Ezekiel 10:1;  Revelation 21:19).

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(1): ( n.) Native alumina or aluminium sesquioxide, Al2O3; corundum; esp., the blue transparent variety of corundum, highly prized as a gem.

(2): ( n.) The color of the gem; bright blue.

(3): ( a.) Of or resembling sapphire; sapphirine; blue.

(4): ( n.) Any humming bird of the genus Hylocharis, native of South America. The throat and breast are usually bright blue.

King James Dictionary [10]

SAP'PHIRE, n. L. sapphirus Gr. to scrape, to shine, to be fair, open, beautiful.

A species of silicious gems or minerals, of several varieties. In hardness it is inferior to the diamond only. Its colors are blue, red, violet, yellow, green, white, or limpid, and one variety is chatoyant, and another asteriated or radiated.

Sapphire is a subspecies of rhomboidal corundum.

The oriental ruby and topaz are sapphires.

Sapphire is employed in jewelry and the arts.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Exodus 28:18 Ezekiel 28:13 Exodus 24:10 Ezekiel 1:26

Holman Bible Dictionary [12]

Minerals And Metals

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [13]

SAPPHIRE . See Jewels and Precious Stones.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

( סִפַּיר , Sapper [according to Gesenius, from its capacity for Engraving; but according to F Ü rst, from its Brilliancy ] ; Sept. and N.T. Σάπφειρος ; Vulg. Sapphirus ) , a precious stone, apparently of a bright blue color; see  Exodus 24:10, where the God of Israel is represented as being seen in vision by Moses and the elders with "a paved work of a Sappir stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness" (comp.  Ezekiel 1:26). The Sappir was the second stone in the second row of the high priest's breastplate ( Exodus 28:18); it was extremely precious ( Job 28:16); it was one of the precious stones that ornamented the king of Tyre ( Ezekiel 28:13). In the Apocalyptic vision it formed the second foundation wall of the New Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:19). Notwithstanding the identity of name between our sapphire and the Σάπφειρος and Sapphirus of the Greeks and Romans, it is generally agreed that the sapphire of the ancients was not our gem of that name, viz. the azure or indigo blue crystalline variety of corundum, but our lapis lazuli (ultramarine); for Pliny (N.H. 37, 9) thus speaks of the sapphirus: "It is refulgent with spots of gold, of an azure color sometimes, but not often purple. The best kind comes from Media; it is never transparent, and is not well suited for engraving upon when intersected with hard, crystalline particles." The account of Theophrastus is similar (De Lapid. 23). This description answers exactly to the character of the lapis lazuli; the "crystalline particles" of Pliny are crystals of iron pyrites, which often occur with this mineral. It is, however, not so certain that the sappir of the Hebrew Bible is identical with the lapis lazuli; for the scriptural requirements demand transparency, great value, and good material for the engraver's art, all of which combined characters the lapis lazuli does not possess in any great degree. Pliny calls it "inutilis sculpturae." King (Antique Gems, p. 44) says that intagli and camel of Roman times are frequent in the material, but rarely any works of much merit. Again, the Sappir was certainly pellucid: "sane apud Judaeos," says Braun (De Vest. Sac. p. 680, ed. 1680), "saphiros pellucidas notas fuisse manifestissimum est, adeo etiam ut pellucidum illorum philosophis dicatur ספיר , saphir." Beckmann ( Hist. Of Invent. 1, 472) is of opinion that the Sappir of the Hebrews is the same as the lapis lazuli; Rosenm Ü ller and Braun argue in favor of its being our sapphire or precious corundum.

The Oriental sapphire is a pellucid gem, little inferior in hardness to the diamond. The best are found in Pegu, and in the sand of the rivers of Ceylon. They are very seldom found of a large size. Their color is blue, varying through all the intermediate shades down to colorless. The deep blue are called male sapphires; the lighter, water sapphires, or female sapphires. The sapphire has been sometimes found red, and has then been mistaken for ruby. There is a gem called sapphirorubinus, which is a sapphire part blue, part ruby colored: it is called by the Indians niloecundi. Precious stones were considered by the ancients to be emblematical of some faculty or virtue. Pope Innocent III sent to king John a present of four rings: the sapphire, denoting hope; the emerald, faith; the garnet, charity; the topaz, good works. The sapphire is the stone which, in the high priest's breastplate, bore the name of Issachar. According to the Cabalists, the sapphire was fatal to serpents. The rabbins also have an absurd story about the engraving of the gem on the high priest's breastplate by means of a singular worm (see the Talmudical treatises Sopha and Gittin). The ancients as well as moderns had many other superstitions and speculations concerning this stone. (See Jungendres, De Sapphiro [Alt. 1705].) (See Gem).

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [15]

A precious stone of the corundum class, and differing from the Ruby ( q. v .) only in colour, which is a blue of various shades; the finest specimens are found in Ceylon; its value depends chiefly on quality, and not so much (like the ruby) on size.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [16]

Sapphire, a precious stone, mentioned in;;;; . It is next in hardness and value to the diamond, and is mostly of a blue color of various shades. It is often found in collections of ancient gems.