Stones of Heavens - To Seal Clay

(Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Stones of Heavens: To Seal Clay”. brakha.blogspot.com.)

(Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Bronze Age circa −2000: amethyst gem engraving, scarab from Middle Kingdom”. brakha.blogspot.com.
Source of derivation. Cristie’s. ©2011. christies.com.)

The stones of heavens are twelve.

These are gems that the Tora uses to physicalize humanity in the presence of the infinite God. The Tora תורה is the five books that begin the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.

During the Bronze Age, after the twelve Tribes of Yisrael (Israel) ישראל leave the Land of Mitsrayim (Egypt) to return to their ancestral Land of Yisrael, God instructs them to anoint a head priest, the Kohen Ha'Mashiakh (“Priest the Anointed”) and to fashion clothing for him. He wears this to enter the “Holy Place of the Holy Places” קדש הקדשים, to stand in the presence of the Shkhina שכינה (the “Residing” of God).

One of the items is a holy amulet, the Khoshen חשן , a “Chestpouch”. Of linen, folding into a pouch, it contains two objects. Their names are Urim and Tumim אורים ותמים (“Firelights and Entireties”). This Kohen uses them for divination, tools to discern the desire of God.

The fabric amulet hangs across his chest from two shoulder straps of an Efod אפוד , a kind of apron, whose embroidery weaves wiring of gold and threads of precious dyes. Similarly the Khoshen is more ornate, and a cubit (half-meter) square in size. Twelve gems decorate its front.

Each gem is an official seal.

(Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Bronze Age circa −1560: steatite gem engraving, scarab seal of Pharaoh Apepi”. brakha.blogspot.com.)

(Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Iron Age circa −700: clay imprint, seal of courtier of Khizkiyahu King of Yhuda”. brakha.blogspot.com.
Note part of name: חזקיהו .)

In bevels of gold, each gem forms an intaglio, an “engraving” (Pituakh פתוח ) of the name of one of the twelve tribes. Similar to the wax seal of the later Classical Age, this intaglio is the kind that embosses wet clay to officially seal string tying pottery lids, money-pouches, or other containers. By their twelve seals, the twelve tribes authorize the Kohen Ha'Mashiakh to physicalize them in the presence of God.

In the Khoshen, four rows feature three seals of gem-engravings each.

• (Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Bronze Age circa −2000: amethyst engraving, scarab from Mid Kingdom”. brakha.blogspot.com. Source of derivation. “An Amethyst Scarab”. Cristie’s. ©2011. www.christies.com. http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=1758860, 2011.)
• (Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Bronze Age seal: steatite gem engraving, scarab of Pharaoh Apepi”. brakha.blogspot.com. Note: This engravement is roughly contemporary with the return of the Tribes of Yisrael from Mitsrayim back to Yisrael. Source of derivation. “Scarab bearing name of Hyksos, Apophis [Apepi]”. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo by Keith Schengili-Roberts. Share alike 2007. wikipedia.org. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ScarabBearingNameOfApophis_MuseumOfFineArtsBoston.png.)
• (Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Iron Age circa −700: broken clay imprint, courtier of Khizkiyahu King of Yhuda”. brakha.blogspot.com. Note part of name: חז|קיהו . Otherside has impression of cord that seal enclosed. Source of derivation. Redontdo Beach collection. Public domain 2006. wikipedia.org. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stamped-bulla_seal-side.jpg, 2011.)