Li'gure (לֶשֶׁם, le'shenm, supposed to be from an old root preserved in the Arab., and signifying to taste) occurs but twice (Ex 28:19; Ex 39:12) as the name of the first stone in the third row on the high-priest's breastplate, where the Sept. renders λιγύριον (apparently alluding to the above derivation), and is followed by the Vulg. ligyurius, as well as the A.V. So also Josephus (War, 5:5,7). " The word ligulre is unknown in modern mineralogy. Phillips (Mineraslogy, page 87) mentions ligurite, the fragments of which are uneven and transparent, with a vitreous luster. It occurs in a sort of talcose rock in the banks of a river in the Apennines" (Smith). The classical ligure (or λυγκούριον) was thought to be a species of amber (see Moore, Anc. Min. page 106), although ancient authors speak uncertainly respecting it (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 37:11, 13; Theophrastus, De lalpid. c. 50), and assign a false derivation to the name (see Gesenius, Thesaur. Heb. page 763). The Hebrew word has been thought to designate the same stone as the JACINTH (Braunius, De vestitu sacerd. 2:14), although others adhere to the opal as corresponding better with the ancient figure (Rosenmüller, Sch. in Lexod. 28:19). "Dr. Woodward and some old commentators have supposed that it was some kind of belemnite, because, as these fossils contain bituminous particles, they have thought that they have been able to detect, upon heating or rubbing pieces of them the absurd origin which Theophrastus (Frag. 2:28, 31; 15:2, edit. Schneider) and Pliny (H.N. 37:3) ascribe to the lyncyrium. As to the belief that amber is denoted by this word, Theophrastus, in the passage cited above, has given a detailed description of the stone, and clearly distinguishes it from electron, or amber. Amber, moreover, is too soft for engraving upon, while the lynncyrium was a hard stone, out of which seals were made." SEE GEM. Beckmann (Hist. Invent. 1:87, Bohn) believes, with Braun, Epiphanius, and J. de Laet, that the description of the lyncyrium agrees well with the hyacinth-stone of modern mineralogists, especially that species which is described as being of an orange-yellow color, passing on into a reddish-brown (see Rosenmüller, Bibl. Alterth. IV, 1:28). The hyacinth is a variety of crystallized zircon, containing also iron, which usually gives it a reddish or brown color. It generally occurs in four-sided prisms, terminated by four rhombic planes. It is diaphanous, glossy, and hard. It occurs in the beds of rivers, the best being brought from the West Indies, but is now little esteemed as a gem, although the ancients used it for engraving. "With this supposition (that the lyncyrium is identical with the jacinth or hyacinth) Hill (Notes on Theophrastus on Stones, § 50, page 166) and Rosenmüller (Mineral. of Bible, page 36; Bib. Cab.) agree. It must be confessed, however, that this opinion is far from satisfactory; for Theophrastus, speaking of the properties of the lyncyrium, says that it attracts not only light particles of wood, but fragments of iron and brass. Now there is no peculiar attractive power in the hyacinth; nor is Beckmann's explanation of this point sufficient. He says: 'If we consider its (the lyncyrium's) attracting of small bodies in the same light which our hyacinth has in common with all stones of the glassy species. I cannot see anything to controvert this opinion, and to induce us to believe the lyncyrium and the tourmaline to be the same.' But surely the lyncyrium, whatever it be, had in a marked manner magnetic properties; indeed, the term was applied to the stone on this very account, for the Greek name ligurion appears to be derived from λείχειν, 'to lick,' 'to attract,' and doubtless was selected by the Sept. for this reason to express the Hebrew word, which has a similar derivation. Hence Dr. Watson (Philos. Tirans. 51:394) identifies the Greek hyncyrium with the tournmaline, or, more definitely, with the red variety known as rubellite, which is a hard stone, and used as a gem, and sometimes sold for red sapphire. Tourmaline becomes, as is well known, electrically polar when heated. Beckmann's objection, that had Theophrastus been acquainted with the tourmaline, he would have remarked that it did not acquire its attractive power till it was heated,' is answered by his own admission on the passage, quoted from the Hist. de l'Academie for 1717, page 7 (see Bechmann, 1:91). Tourmaline is a mineral found in many parts of the world. The duke de Noya purchased two of these stones in Holland, which are there called aschentrikker. Linnaus, in his preface to the Flora Zeylandica, mentions the stone under the name of lapis electricus from Ceylon. The natives call it tournamal (Philippians Trans. 1.c.). Many of the precious stones which were in the possession of the Israelites during their wanderings were no doubt obtained from the Egyptians, who might have procured from the Tyrian merchants specimens from even India and Ceylon, etc. The fine specimen of rubellite now in the British Museum belonged formerly to the king of Ava."

Bible concordance for LIGURE.

Definition of ligure

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