Diamonds in the Bible

Two different Hebrew words have been translated by some as “diamond.”

  1. Biblical Hebrew: יַהֲלֹם —transliteration: yahalom —meaning: able to smite, referring to a precious stone

    Note that in modern Hebrew the word for diamond is very similar: יהלום.

    Three times in Scripture yahalom is used in lists of precious stones. Since this word is derived from the word halam which means to smite, hammer, or strike down, yahalom apparently refers to this precious stones’ hardness.

    “and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond;” —Exodus 28:18 NASB and Exodus 39:11 NASB

    The above two verses refer to the second row of stones in the high priest’s breastplate, with the yahalom stone representing the Tribe of Naphtali.

    The prophet Ezekiel also mentions a yahalom stone.

    …Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; … —Ezekiel 28:13 NASB

  2. Hebrew: שָׁמִיר —transliteration: shamir —meaning: a thorn, briar, a sharp point, a sharp stone

    The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus;
    With a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart… —Jeremiah 17:1 NASB excerpt

    From its hardness, it was used for cutting and perforating other minerals. It is the hardest and most valuable of precious stones. It is translated as “adamant” in the King James Version of Ezekiel 3:9 and Zechariah 7:12.

It is interesting that diamond is not mentioned by the Apostle John as one of the precious stones God will used to create the foundations of the New Jerusalem.

The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. —Revelation 21:19-21 LSB

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Article Version: April 27, 2022