corner graphic

Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Stone

Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

STONE

I. In OT . 1. Several different words are rendered ‘stone,’ but the one of by far the most frequent occurrence is ’ebhen , which has the same wide range of application as its English equivalent. Palestine is a stony country, arid the uses to which stone was put were numerous and varied. In its natural state a stone served for a pillow ( Genesis 28:18 ) or a seat ( Exodus 17:12 ), for covering the mouth of a well ( Genesis 29:2 ff.) or closing the entrance to a cave ( Joshua 10:18 ; cf. Matthew 27:30 etc.). Out of it, again, might be constructed a knife ( Exodus 4:25 , Heb. tsûr . RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘flint’), a vessel ( Exodus 7:19 ; cf. John 2:6 ), a mill ( Deuteronomy 24:8 ). Above all, stone was employed in architecture. Houses ( Leviticus 14:42 etc.), walls ( Nehemiah 4:8 , Habakkuk 2:11 ), towers (by implication in Genesis 11:3 ), and especially the Temple ( 1 Kings 5:17 f. etc.), are referred to as built of stone. We read of foundation-stones ( 1 Kings 5:17 ), of a corner-stone ( Psalms 118:22 ), of a head-stone or finial ( Zechariah 4:7 ); and in 2 Kings 16:17 mention is made of a pavement of stone. Masonry was a regular trade ( 2 Samuel 5:11 etc.), and stone-hewing is frequently referred to ( 2 Kings 12:12 etc.). Belonging to the aesthetic and luxurious side of life are precious stones and the arts of cutting and graving and setting them ( Exodus 28:9 ; Exodus 28:11 ; Exodus 31:5 etc.); see, further, Jewels and Precious Stones. The profusion of stones made it natural to use them as missiles. Stone-throwing might be a mark of hatred and contempt ( 2 Samuel 16:6 ; 2 Samuel 16:13 ), or the expedient of murderous intentions against which provision had to be made in legislation ( Exodus 21:18 , Numbers 35:17 ). In war, stones were regular weapons of offence. Usually they were hurled with slings ( 1 Samuel 17:49 , 1 Chronicles 12:2 ), but, later, great stones were discharged by means of ‘engines’ ( 2 Chronicles 26:15 , 1Ma 6:51 ). Stoning to death was a natural and convenient method of execution. At first an expression of popular fury ( Joshua 7:25 ), it was afterwards regulated by law as an appointed means of capital punishment ( Deuteronomy 17:5-7 ; cf. Acts 7:58 f.). See, further, Crimes and Punishments, § 10 . The use of stones as memorials was common. Sometimes a single large stone, at other times a heap of stones, was raised ( Genesis 31:45 f., Joshua 8:29 ; Joshua 24:26 ). Akin to this was their employment to mark a boundary ( Joshua 15:6 etc.). Stones would be the ordinary landmarks between the fields of one person and another, the removal of which was strictly forbidden ( Deuteronomy 19:14 etc.). In religious worship stones were employed in the forms of the pillar ( Genesis 28:18 ; Genesis 28:22 ; Genesis 31:45 ; Genesis 35:14 ) and the altar. The latter was at first a single great stone ( 1 Samuel 6:14 f.), but afterwards was built of several stones, which must be unhewn ( Exodus 20:25 , Deuteronomy 27:5-6 ). See, further. Pillar and Altar. The use of stone for literary purposes (cf. the Moabite Stone) is illustrated by the tables of stone on which the Decalogue was written ( Exodus 24:12 etc.) and the inscribed stones of the altar on Mt. Ebal ( Deuteronomy 27:2 ff., Joshua 8:30 ff.).

2 . Stones = testicles ( Leviticus 21:20 , Deuteronomy 23:1 , Job 40:17 ).

II. In NT . Here tithos is the ordinary word, and is found in most of the connexions already referred to. Noteworthy is the fact that Jesus, after quoting Psalms 118:22 , took the rejected and exalted stone as a symbol of Himself ( Matthew 21:42 ff., Luke 20:17 f.). St. Peter adopts the symbol in his address to the Sanhedrin ( Acts 4:11 ), and enlarges it, with further reference to Isaiah 8:14 ; Isaiah 28:13 , in his figure of the ‘living stone,’ which is at once the foundation of God’s spiritual house and a stone of stumbling to the disobedient ( 1 Peter 2:4-8 ). The stone ( petros ) of John 1:42 should be ‘rock,’ or still better ‘Peter’ (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ); ‘stony’ ( petrôdçs ) in Matthew 13:5 , Mark 4:5 ; Mark 4:16 should be ‘rocky.’ The ‘white stone’ of Revelation 2:17 represents Gr. psçphos , ‘a pebble,’ and the ref. perhaps is to the tessara gladiatoria bestowed on the victorious young gladiator.

J. C. Lambert.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Stone'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/s/stone.html. 1909.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
 or 
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

 
Prev Entry
Stomacher
Next Entry
Stone-Squarers
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology