stones in the Bible

Hebrew: אֶבֶן —transliteration: eben —meaning: a stone / occurs 273 times in Scripture

Greek: λίθος —transliteration: lithos —meaning: a stone / occurs 59 times in Scripture

Stones were commonly used for buildings, also as memorials of important events (Genesis 28:18; Joshua 24:26-27; 1 Samuel 7:12, etc.). They were gathered out of cultivated fields (Isaiah 5:2; compare 2 Kings 3:19).

Grain mills and olive presses used stones. Many ancient stone quarries have been found by archaeologists in Israel.

Huge stones were quarried for building the Temple in Jerusalem.

Living stones

The word stone is also used figuratively of true followers of Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).

The Messiah is also called a stone.

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone. —Psalm 118:22 NASB / compare Matthew 21:42 NASB and Acts 4:11 NASB

Therefore thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation… —Isaiah 28:16 NKJV excerpt

In Dan. 2:45 the stone refered to is also the Messiah. He is there described as “cut out of the mountain.”

…you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold… —Daniel 2:45 NKJV excerpt

Then, as He [Jesus Christ] was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:

“‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd,

“Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

But He answered and said to them,

“I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19 37:40 NKJV

See Rock

Heart of stone

A “heart of stone” denotes great insensibility—void of emotion or feeling (1 Samuel 25:37).

…in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. —1 Sam. 25:37 NKJV

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. —Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV

Commemorative stones

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


It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. —Luke 17:2 NKJV

From these stones…

John the Baptist said to the many false teachers (Pharisees and Sadducees) coming to his baptism,

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. —Matthew 3:8-9 NKJV

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Article Version: June 19, 2024