A nail, the eleventh stone in the high priest's breastplate, Ex 28:20. The modern onyx has some resemblance to the agate; and the color of the body of the stone is like that of the human nail; hence its name. The Hebrew word so translated is not known with certainty to signify the onyx; but denoted some valuable stone, Ge 2:12; Ex 25:7; 28:9-12,20. A species of marble resembling the onyx was known to the Greeks, and may have been the "onyx-stones" stored up by David for the temple, 1Ch 29:2.
a hail; claw; hoof, (Heb shoham), a precious stone adorning the breast-plate of the high priest and the shoulders of the ephod (Ex 28:9-12,20; 35:27; Job 28:16; Eze 28:13). It was found in the land of Havilah (Ge 2:12). The LXX. translates the Hebrew word by smaragdos, an emerald. Some think that the sardonyx is meant. But the onyx differs from the sardonyx in this, that while the latter has two layers (black and white) the former has three (black, white, and red).
shoham. Found in the land of Havilah (Ge 2:12). Onyx means "nail"; then the agate, resembling in color a man's nail. Two onyx stones, with six names of Israel's tribes engraven on each, were on the high priest's shoulders as "stones of memorial unto Israel" (Ex 28:9-12). The onyx was the second stone in the fourth row on his breast-plate (Ex 28:20). Josephus (Ant. 3:7, section 5) calls the shoulder stones "sardonyxes" (compounded of sard or chalcedony and onyx, deep red and milkwhite layers alternating).
David's onyxes "prepared for the house of his God" (1Ch 29:2) probably came from Tyre (Eze 28:13). Tyre's king, like the high priest with his precious stones, was the type of humanity in its unfallen perfection in Eden; antichrist will usurp the divine King Priest's office (Zec 6:13; compare Ac 12:21-23). Job (Job 28:16) calls it "precious," but not so much so as "wisdom," priceless in worth. The Arabian sardonyxes have a black ground color, sachma, is Arabic "blackness"; opaque white covers black or blue strata. Sahara in Arabic means "to be pale"; from whence Gesenius derives shoham. The kinds of onyx and sardonyx vary so as to answer to either derivation. The onyx has two strata, the sardonyx has three.
The precious stone in each shoulder piece of the ephod, and one of those in the breastplate of the high priest. Its Hebrew name is shoham; but this has five different translations in the LXX, and its identity is uncertain. Ge 2:12; Ex 25:7; 28:9,20; 35:9,27; 39:6,13; 1Ch 29:2; Job 28:16; Eze 28:13.
(a nail) is the translation of the Hebrew shoham; but there is some doubt as to its signification. Some writers believe that the "beryl" is intended; but the balance of authority is in favor of some variety of the onyx. ("The onyx is not a transparent stone, but as the color of the flesh appears through the nail (Greek onyx) on the human body, so the reddish mass which is below shines delicately through the whitish surface of the onyx. There are several varieties. White and reddish stripes alternating form the sardonyx; white and reddish gray, the chalcedony. When polished it has a fine lustre, and is easily wrought into a gem of great beauty."-Rosenmiller.
ONYX, ???, Ge 2:12; Ex 25:7; 28:9,20; 35:27; 39:6; 1Ch 29:2; Job 28:16; Eze 28:13. A precious stone, so called from the Greek ????, the nail, to the colour of which it nearly approaches. It is first mentioned with the gold and bdellium of the river Pison in Eden: but the meaning of the Hebrew word is not easily determined. The Septuagint render it, in different places, the sardius, beryl, sapphire, emerald, &c. Such names are often ambiguous, even in Greek and Latin, and no wonder if they are more so in Hebrew. In Ex 28:9-10, a direction is given that two onyx stones should be fastened on the ephod of the high priest, on which were to be graven the names of the children of Israel, like the engravings on a signet; six of the names on one stone, and six on the other. In 1Ch 29:2, onyx stones are among the things prepared by David for the temple. The author of "Scripture Illustrated" observes, upon this passage, that "the word onyx is equivocal; signifying, first, a precious stone or gem; and secondly, a marble called in Greek onychites, which Pliny mentions as a stone of Caramania. Antiquity gave both these stones this name, because of their resemblance to the nail of the fingers. The onyx of the high priest's pectoral was, no doubt, the gem onyx; the stone prepared by David was the marble onyx, or rather onychus; for one would hardly think that gems of any kind were used externally in such a building, but variegated marble may readily be admitted."