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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Exodus

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FRAMEWORKS: Exodus 28: Priests Clothes & Uses


v.1-5 The Priestly Garments

v.6-14 The Ephod

v.15-30 The Breast-piece

v.31-35 Aaron's Robe

v.36-38 Aaron's Turban

v.39-43 Materials Used and clothes made



v.1-5 The Priestly Garments


v.1 “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests.

v.2 Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor.

v.3 Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.

v.4 These are the garments they are to make: a breast-piece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests.

v.5 Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.


[Notes: Aaron and his four sons are to be designated priests. [v.1] Aaron is to have special clothing to mark him out, as items listed in v.4, all made out of precious materials.]



v.6-14 The Ephod


v.6 “Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of skilled hands.

v.7 It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened.

v.8 Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen.

v.9 “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel

v.10 in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other.

v.11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings

v.12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord .

v.13 Make gold filigree settings

v.14 and two braided chains of pure gold, like a rope, and attach the chains to the settings.


[Notes: The ephod, to be worn over the chest and possible down below the waist, had shoulder straps and a waist belt for keeping it in place. It appears to have been the background support for the breast-piece [see below] possibly in the form of a long waistcoat. Two stones set in gold, each engraved with the names of six of the tribes of Israel, are to be fastened one either side on the shoulder pieces. The priest thus carries the people of Israel in and out of the Lord's presence. There are to be two braided chains of gold attached to the settings that presumably go over the head and sit on the shoulders and chest.]



v.15-30 The Breast-piece


v.15,16 A Pouch for decision making

v.15 “Fashion a breast-piece for making decisions —the work of skilled hands. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen.

v.16 It is to be square— about 9 inches (about 23cm] long and wide—and folded double.


v.17-21 The Stones of Israel

v.17  Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl;

v.18 the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald;

v.19 the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst;

v.20 the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings.

v.21 There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.


v.22-28 Fixings for the Pouch

v.22 “For the breast-piece make braided chains of pure gold, like a rope.

v.23 Make two gold rings for it and fasten them to two corners of the breast-piece.

v.24 Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breast-piece,

v.25 and the other ends of the chains to the two settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front.

v.26 Make two gold rings and attach them to the other two corners of the breast-piece on the inside edge next to the ephod.

v.27 Make two more gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waistband of the ephod.

v.28 The rings of the breast-piece are to be tied to the rings of the ephod with blue cord, connecting it to the waistband, so that the breast-piece will not swing out from the ephod.


v.29,30 Aaron & decision-making

v.29 “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breast-piece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord.

v.30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breast-piece, so they may be over Aaron's heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord . Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord .


[Notes: The breast-piece is, in fact, a pouch made out of a nine inches square material folded over with twelve engraved stones on the front, one for each tribe, and is fixed, first by two gold chains, one from each corner of the pouch to the corresponding shoulder piece, and then by two blue cords from the bottom corners of the pouch to the waistband. Two, presumably, differently marked but otherwise identical stones, called the Urim and Thummim, were kept in the pouch and were used as means of drawing lots in a ‘yes or no' manner. For later use see 1 Sam 23:6, 9-11, 30:6-8]



v.31-35 Aaron's Robe


v.31 “Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth,

v.32 with an opening for the head in its center. There shall be a woven edge like a collar around this opening, so that it will not tear.

v.33 Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them.

v.34 The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe.

v.35 Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when he comes out, so that he will not die.


[Notes: The ephod apparently fits over an all-encompassing robe that Aaron wore. The fascinating thing about it was the bells fitted all round the bottom of it that would ring when he moved as they bumped between the alternating pomegranates. Thus when he was in the Tabernacle people could be reassured that he was still alive as they continued to hear the bells.]



v.36-38 Aaron's Turban


v.36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord .

v.37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban.

v.38 It will be on Aaron's forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron's forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord .


[Notes: The important part of the turban he wore on his head was a pure gold engraved plate tied to it declaring him holy to the Lord, i.e. consecrated to be allowed into God's presence. He thus becomes an intermediary for the people who bring sacrifices.]



v.39-43 Materials Used and clothes made


v.39 “Weave the tunic of fine linen and make the turban of fine linen. The sash is to be the work of an embroiderer.

v.40 Make tunics, sashes and caps for Aaron's sons to give them dignity and honor.

v.41 After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.

v.42“Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh.

v.43 Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die.

“This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.


[Notes: The garments already mentioned are added to by an embroidered sash, otherwise undescribed presumably worn around one shoulder and perhaps hanging down to the waist as isf often seen with kings or dignitaries. The prescribed clothing is essential whenever Aaron served at the Tabernacle.]



Continue to Chapter 29