The Hoshen – Breastplate of the High Priest
“You shall make the breastplate of judgment. Artistically woven according to the workmanship of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, you shall make it. It shall be doubled into a square: a span shall be its length, and a span shall be its width. And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row; the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst.” (Ex. 28:15-19)
The Hoshen is a precious Priestly Breastplate that was primary worn by Aaron, brother of Moses. Aaron was the High Priest of the Jewish people. Thereafter, every High Priest of Israel began to wear the Breastplate during sacred religious ceremonies.
The Priestly Breastplate was a square piece of a garment, adorned with golden, blue and red threads. In the center it had a plate with four rows of precious stones. Each of the stones represented one of the Tribes of Israel.
Each stone is different with the related name of the Tribe inscribed on it.
In Hebrew the stones on the Breastplate are called “Avnei Hoshen”. These words are often inscribed on the Hoshen pendants. The pendants are made of gold or silver and set with semi-precious or precious stones.
The stones are mentioned in the Exodus; however, the words that were used to describe the stones are so ancient that even Biblical scholars and scientists couldn’t come to an agreement for determining the modern names for them. Today, the most common stone’s colors that are used for the breastplate pendants are:
- Ruby – Reuben – Red
- Jade – Shimon – Green
- Agate – Levi – Red, White, and Black Striped
- Carbuncle – Judah – Bluish-Green
- Lapis-Lazuli – Issachar – Blue
- Quartz Crystal – Zebulun – Clear
- Turquoise – Dan – Blue
- Amethyst – Naftali – Purple
- Agate – Gad – Grey
- Aquamarine – Asher – Blue-Green
- Onyx – Joseph – Black
- Opal – Benjamin – A Stone Possessing All the Colors
Today, the Hoshen is transferred into the Hoshen pendants, highly inspiring and beautiful jewelry. In Hebrew the stones on the Breastplate are called “Avnei Hoshen”. These words are often inscribed on the Hoshen pendants. The pendants are made of gold or silver and set with semi-precious or precious stones.
Wearing the Breastplate pendant with 12 Tribes of Israel unites people in their faith and love to one God. No matter from which “tribe” we come from – before God we all are equal.