The Amethyst (Heb. Agh-Lah-Mah)

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
MOST commentators agree that the stone, known at present as the amethyst, is here designated by the Hebrew word. The Oriental amethyst is a stone of great hardness and beauty, of a fine violet or purple color.
There is something very affecting in the history of the birth of Benjamin. His mother, Rachel, the favorite wife of Jacob, had envied her sister, Leah, and in the bitterness of her spirit had said to her husband, Give me children, or else I die." And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, " Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?" (Gen. 30) This was a mournful expression of hers, sadly fulfilled in the very gift she so, much coveted. And when God afterward remembered Rachel, and hearkened to her, and opened her womb, so that she conceived and bare a son, she called his name-Joseph, saying-the Lord shall add to me another son. The very name she gave to her eldest was thus prophetic as to the birth of another; though she little thought of the sorrow which would accompany this second gift; and that God had hearkened to her, when she said-" Give me children, or else I die."
An instructive lesson this for us. If God were to grant in all cases our petitions, would it not be to our grief and hurt, instead of conducing to our real happiness and blessing? We know not what to pray for as we ought: and therefore in wondrous love God has given us His Holy Spirit, who makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, and who ever intercedes according to God: so that we cannot fail of receiving the mercies and blessings we really need.
There is also another truth expressed in Rom. 8 which should greatly strengthen our faith. " He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Compared with this wondrous gift, all other gifts are small. This unspeakable gift cost the heart's affections of the giver. God had to bruise His Beloved; to offer up His Only-Begotten: therefore He can freely give everything else. He spared not His own Son. How is it then, that we possess not all things? How is it, that many of our requests are not answered? Because God will only give such things as He can bestow with Him-with Christ. Any gift that will not consort, that will not harmonize, that cannot be held in fellowship with that one great proof of His love -the gift of Jesus-He will in mercy withhold.
Israel, in self-willed eagerness, demanded a king. God yielded to their request and gave one in His anger, of this very tribe of Benjamin: and Saul became a sore scourge to that people. The results of some of his ways, spreading desolation and death, continued even after he himself had been cut off: as in the case of the Gibeonites. (2 Sam. 21.) Thus God may in judgment give, or in mercy withhold the answers to our requests.
It may be, that Jacob was wrong in leaving Bethel. God had bidden him dwell there. (Gen. 35:11And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. (Genesis 35:1)) The death of Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, and the consequent weeping, may have rendered the place distasteful to him, though it was the house of God. He journeyed thence, and met with a deeper sorrow: for his favorite wife Rachel died in giving birth to her second son; calling his name, as she expired, Benoni, or " Son of my sorrow." Instead of his being the son of her hope and earnest desire, he was thus the occasion of her sorrow in death.
But Jacob's faith rose above these circumstances of deep affliction, and he called him Benjamin, son of his right hand; giving thus to his youngest the pre-eminence, as if he had been his eldest; and as it were, anticipating the great enigma, propounded afterward by Samson:-Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." Obtaining an object of affection, and strength, and power to himself out of sorrow and death.
Is there not a significant type in this, of the glorious strength that God has manifested in the resurrection of the Son of His right hand? What power and might were displayed when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand, far above all principality and power, and might and dominion!
We have many places in Scripture where the right hand of the Lord is mentioned. Glorious in power, dashing in pieces the enemy, (Ex. 15:66Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. (Exodus 15:6),)-saving, (Psa. 17:77Show thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. (Psalm 17:7), and 20: 6,)-upholding, (Psa. 18:3535Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. (Psalm 18:35), and 63:8,)-full of righteousness, (Psa. 48:1010According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness. (Psalm 48:10); Isa. 41:1010Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10),)-purchasing, (Psa. 78:5454And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased. (Psalm 78:54),)-planting, (Psa. 80:1515And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. (Psalm 80:15).) In this psalm the Lord Jesus is especially designated as the Man of God's right hand: and in 5:15 He is spoken of as the Branch; or, as it might be better translated, Son, whom Thou hast made strong for Thyself: and in v. 17, the Son of Man, whom Thou hast made strong for Thyself. High, (Psa. 89:1313Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. (Psalm 89:13).) Victorious, (Psa. 98:11<<A Psalm.>> O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. (Psalm 98:1).) Exalted, and doing valiantly. (Psa. 118:15,1615The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. 16The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. (Psalm 118:15‑16).)
In all these passages, is there not a distinct allusion to the Son of God Himself? Christ, who is the power as well as the wisdom of God; by whom all the counsels of the Most High have been and will be accomplished. Whose name is above every name: and who is the righteousness of God to the believer. It is to be observed also, that this youngest son of Jacob was the only one upon whom his father bestowed a name. In this he stands out as a type of Him, to whom God has given a name that is above every name.
But there is, in this name, borne upon the breastplate of the high priest, a type also of that wondrous company, the Church, made up of sons of God; who, in union with Christ, will manifest the strength and power of God's right hand, in the glory that shall be revealed. Who, even now, show to principalities and powers the grace and manifold wisdom of God; in whom the exceeding greatness of God's mighty power works; even that same glorious power that raised Christ from the dead, and set Him at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Our great High Priest upholds His saints in this wondrous lofty standing before God. According to that glory and power, in which they will be manifested hereafter, so already are they beheld and sustained upon the heart of the High Priest in the holiest.