4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: Stone


The allusion in Re 2:17 may be to the practice at the Olympic games of giving the successful competitor a white stone, inscribed with his name and the value of his prize; or to the mode of balloting with black and white stones on the question of the acquittal of an accused person, or his admission to certain privileges; if the stones deposited in the urn by the judges were all white, the decision was favorable. In early ages, flint-stone knives were in common use, instead of steel, Ex 4:25; Jos 5:2. It was also customary to raise a heap or mound of stones in commemoration of any remarkable event, Ge 31:46; Jos 4:5-7; 7:26; 8:29; 2Sa 18:17. The same custom still prevails in Syria, and passing travellers are wont to add each one a stone to the heap. See CORNER STONE.

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Stones were commonly used for buildings, also as memorials of important events (Ge 28:18; Jos 24:26-27; 1Sa 7:12, etc.). They were gathered out of cultivated fields (Isa 5:2; comp. 2Ki 3:19). This word is also used figuratively of believers (1Pe 2:4-5), and of the Messiah (Ps 118:22; Isa 28:16; Mt 21:42; Ac 4:11, etc.). In Da 2:45 it refers also to the Messiah. He is there described as "cut out of the mountain." (See Rock.)

A "heart of stone" denotes great insensibility (1Sa 25:37).

Stones were set up to commemorate remarkable events, as by Jacob at Bethel (Ge 28:18), at Padan-aram (Ge 35:4), and on the occasion of parting with Laban (Ge 31:45-47); by Joshua at the place on the banks of the Jordan where the people first "lodged" after crossing the river (Jos 6:8), and also in "the midst of Jordan," where he erected another set of twelve stones (Jos 4:1-9); and by Samuel at "Ebenezer" (1Sa 7:12).

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I. In OT.

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STONE. This word is sometimes taken in the sense of rock, and is applied figuratively to God, as the refuge of his people. See Rock. The Hebrews gave the name of "stones" to the weights used in commerce; no doubt because they were originally formed of stone. "Just weights," is therefore in Hebrew, "just stones." "The corner stone," or "the head stone of the corner," is a figurative representation of Christ. It is the stone at the angle of a building, whether at the foundation or the top of the wall. Christ was that corner stone, which, though rejected by the Jews, became the corner stone of the church, and the stone that binds and unites the synagogue and the Gentiles in the unity of the same faith. Some have thought the showers of stones cast down by the Lord out of heaven, mentioned several times in the Old Testament, to be showers of hail of extraordinary size; which was probably the case, as they even now sometimes occur in those countries in a most terrific and destructive form, and show how irresistible an agent this meteor is in the hands of an offended God. The knives of stone that were made use of by the Jews in circumcision, were not enjoined by the law; but the use of them was founded, either upon custom, or upon the experience that this kind of instrument is found to be less dangerous than those made of metal. Zipporah made use of a stone to circumcise her sons, Ex 4:25. Jos 5:2, did the same, when he caused such of the Israelites to be circumcised at Gilgal, as had not received circumcision during their journey in the wilderness. The Egyptians, according to Herodotus, made use of knives of stone to open dead bodies that were to be embalmed; and Pliny assures us, that the priests of the mother of the gods had sharp stones, with which they cut and slashed themselves, which they thought they could not do with any thing else without danger. Great heaps of stones, raised up for a witness of any memorable event, and to preserve the remembrance of some matter of great importance, are among the most ancient monuments. In those elder ages, before the use of writing, these monuments were instead of inscriptions, pyramids, medals, or histories. Jacob and Laban raised such a monument upon Mount Gilead in memory of their covenant, Ge 31:46. Joshua erected one at Gilgal, made of stones taken out of the Jordan, to preserve the memorial of his miraculous passage over this river, Jos 4:5-7. The Israelites that dwelt beyond Jordan also raised one upon the banks of the river, as a testimony that they constituted but one nation with their brethren on the other side, Jos 22:10. Sometimes they heaped up such a collection of stones upon the burying place of some odious persons, as was none in the case of Achan and Absalom, Jos 7:26; 2Ki 18:17.

A "heart of stone" may be understood several ways. Job 41:24, speaking of the leviathan, says, that "his heart is as firm as a stone, yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone:" that is, he is of a very extraordinary strength, boldness, and courage. It is said, 1Sa 25:37, that Nabal's heart died within him, and he became as a stone, when he was told of the danger he had incurred by his imprudence; his heart became contracted or convulsed, and this was the occasion of his death. Eze 36:26, says, that the Lord will take away from his people their heart of stone, and give them a heart of flesh; that is, he will render them contrite, and sensible to spiritual things. "I will give him a white stone," Re 2:17; that is, I will give him full and public pardon and absolution. It is spoken in allusion to an ancient custom of delivering a white stone to such as they acquitted in judgment. They used likewise to give a white stone to such as conquered in the Grecian games.

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