Exodus 28

1 [The LORD continued,] "Out of all the Israelites, bring your brother Aaron and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar to you. They will serve me as priests.
2 Make holy clothes for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor.
3 "Tell all those who have the skill--those to whom I have given this ability--to make Aaron's clothes. These clothes will set him apart as holy when he serves me as priest.
4 These are the clothes they will make: a breastplate, an ephod and the robe that is worn with it, another specially woven linen robe, the chief priest's turban, and a cloth belt. They will make these holy clothes for your brother Aaron and his sons so that they can serve me as priests.
5 They must use gold, violet, purple, and bright red yarn, and fine linen.
6 "Make the ephod out of fine linen yarn. Creatively work gold, violet, purple, and bright red yarn into the fabric.
7 It will have two shoulder straps attached at the [top] corners so that it can be fastened.
8 Make the belt that is attached to the ephod out of the same fabric.
9 Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel
10 in birth order--six of their names on one stone and the remaining six on the other.
11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the same way a jeweler engraves a signet ring. Mount them in gold settings,
12 and fasten them on the shoulder straps of the ephod as reminders of who the Israelites are. In this way Aaron will carry their names on his shoulders as a reminder in the LORD's presence.
13 Make gold settings
14 and two chains of pure gold, twisted like ropes, and fasten these chains to the settings.
15 "Make the breastplate for decision-making as creatively as you make the ephod. Make it out of gold, violet, purple, and bright red yarn and out of fine linen yarn.
16 Fold it in half so that it's 9 inches square.
17 Fasten four rows of precious stones on it. In the first row put red quartz, topaz, and emerald.
18 In the second row put turquoise, sapphire, and crystal.
19 In the third row put jacinth, agate, and amethyst.
20 In the fourth row put beryl, onyx, and gray quartz. Mount them in gold settings.
21 The stones correspond to the 12 sons of Israel, by name, each stone engraved (like a signet ring) with the name of one of the 12 tribes.
22 "For the breastplate make chains out of pure gold, twisted like ropes.
23 Make two gold rings for the breastplate. Attach them to the two [top] corners of the breastplate.
24 Then fasten the two gold ropes to the rings at the [top] corners of the breastplate.
25 Fasten the other ends of the ropes to the two settings on the shoulder straps of the ephod [so that the breastplate hangs] in front of it.
26 Make two gold rings, and fasten them to the other two corners of the breastplate on the inside edge next to the ephod.
27 Make two [more] gold rings, and fasten them to the bottom of the shoulder straps on the front of the ephod. This will be close to the seam just above the belt of the ephod.
28 Then the breastplate should be fastened by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a violet cord. This will attach it just above the belt of the ephod and will hold the breastplate in place.
29 "Whenever Aaron goes into the holy place, he will be carrying the names of the sons of Israel over his heart as a constant reminder in the LORD's presence. He must do this by wearing the breastplate for decision-making.
30 Put the Urim and Thummim into the breastplate for decision-making. They, too, will be over Aaron's heart when he comes into the LORD's presence. In this way whenever he's in the LORD's presence, Aaron will always be carrying over his heart the [means for determining the LORD's] decisions for the Israelites.
31 "Make the robe that is worn with the ephod entirely of violet material.
32 Make an opening for the head in the center with a reinforced edge (like a leather collar ) all around it to keep it from tearing.
33 All around the hem of the robe make pomegranates of violet, purple, and bright red yarn with gold bells in between--
34 a gold bell alternating with a pomegranate all around the hem of the robe.
35 Aaron must wear it when he serves as priest. The sound of the bells must be heard when he comes into and goes out of the LORD's presence in the holy place so that he won't die.
36 "Make a flower-shaped medallion out of pure gold, and engrave on it (as on a signet ring): Holy to the LORD.
37 Fasten a violet cord to it, and tie it so that it's on the front of the turban.
38 It will be on Aaron's forehead. He's the one to be blamed for anything done wrong when the Israelites bring their holy offerings--whatever their gifts may be. The medallion must always be on Aaron's forehead so that the LORD will accept their offerings.
39 "Make the specially woven inner robe of fine linen. Make the turban of fine linen, but the belt should be embroidered with colored yarn.
40 "Also make linen robes, belts, and turbans for Aaron's sons. These clothes will give them dignity and honor.
41 Put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint them, ordain them, and set them apart to serve me as priests.
42 "Make linen undergarments to cover them down to their thighs.
43 Aaron and his sons must wear them when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to serve as priests in the holy place. Then they will be blameless and won't die. "This is a permanent law for him and his descendants."

Exodus 28 Commentary

Chapter 28

Aaron and his sons set apart for the priest's office, Their garments. (1-5) The ephod. (6-14) The breastplate, The Urim and Thummim. (15-30) The robe of the ephod, The plate of the mitre. (31-39) The garments for Aaron's sons. (40-43)

Verses 1-5 Hitherto the heads of families were the priests, and offered sacrifices; but now this office was confined to the family of Aaron only; and so continued till the gospel dispensation. The holy garments not only distinguished the priests from the people, but were emblems of that holy conduct which should ever be the glory and beauty, the mark of the ministers of religion, without which their persons and ministrations will be had in contempt. They also typified the glory of the Divine majesty, and the beauty of complete holiness, which rendered Jesus Christ the great High Priest. But our adorning under the gospel, is not to be of gold and costly array, but the garments of salvation, the robe of righteousness.

Verses 6-14 This richly-wrought ephod was the outmost garment of the high priest; plain linen ephods were worn by the inferior priests. It was a short coat without sleeves, fastened close to the body with a girdle. The shoulder-pieces were buttoned together with precious stones set in gold, one on each shoulder, on which were engraven the names of the children of Israel. Thus Christ, our High Priest, presents his people before the Lord for a memorial. As Christ's coat had no seam, but was woven from the top throughout, so it was with the ephod. The golden bells on this ephod, by their preciousness and pleasant sound, well represent the good profession that the saints make, and the pomegranates the fruit they bring forth.

Verses 15-30 The chief ornament of the high priest, was the breastplate, a rich piece of cloth, curiously worked. The name of each tribe was graven in a precious stone, fixed in the breastplate, to signify how precious, in God's sight, believers are, and how honourable. How small and poor soever the tribe was, it was as a precious stone in the breastplate of the high priest; thus are all the saints dear to Christ, however men esteem them. The high priest had the names of the tribes, both on his shoulders and on his breast, which reminds us of the power and the love with which our Lord Jesus pleads for those that are his. He not only bears them up in his arms with almighty strength, but he carries them in his bosom with tender affection. What comfort is this to us in all our addresses to God! The Urim and Thummim, by which the will of God was made known in doubtful cases, were put in this breastplate. Urim and Thummim signify light and integrity. There are many conjectures what these were; the most probable opinion seems to be, that they were the twelve precious stones in the high priest's breastplate. Now, Christ is our Oracle. By him God, in these last days, makes known himself and his mind to us, Heb. 1:1, Heb. 1:2 ; Joh. 1:18 . He is the true Light, the faithful Witness, the Truth itself, and from him we receive the Spirit of Truth, who leads into all truth.

Verses 31-39 The robe of the ephod was under the ephod, and reached down to the knees, without sleeves. Aaron must minister in the garments appointed. We must serve the Lord with holy fear, as those who know they deserve to die. A golden plate was fixed on Aaron's forehead, engraven with "Holiness to the Lord." Aaron was hereby reminded that God is holy, and that his priests must be holy, devoted to the Lord. This must appear in their forehead, in open profession of their relation to God. It must be engraven like the engravings of a signet; deep and durable; not painted so as to be washed off, but firm and lasting; such must our holiness to the Lord be. Christ is our High Priest; through him sins are forgiven to us, and not laid to our charge. Our persons, our doings, are pleasing to God upon the account of Christ, and not otherwise.

Verses 40-43 The priest's garments typify the righteousness of Christ. If we appear not before God in that, we shall bear our iniquity, and die. Blessed is he, therefore, that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, ( Revelation 16:15 ) . And blessed be God that we have a High Priest, appointed of God, and set apart for his work; furnished for his high office by the glory of his Divine majesty, and the beauty of perfect holiness. Happy are we, if by the law spiritually understood, we see that such a High Priest became us; that we cannot draw near to a holy God, or be accepted, but by him. There is no light, no wisdom, no perfection, but from him; no glory, no beauty, but in being like unto him. Let us take encouragement from the power, love, and compassion of our High Priest, to draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 28

This chapter informs us of the servants God would have to minister to him in the house, or tabernacle, he had ordered to be made, even Aaron and his sons, Ex 28:1 of the garments they were to wear in their service, Ex 28:2-5 and first of the garments of the high priest, and particularly of the ephod, with the girdle, on the shoulder pieces of which were to be two onyx stones, with the names of the children of Israel engraved on them, Ex 28:6-14, and that of the breastplate of judgment, with the Urim and Thummum in it, Ex 28:15-30 and of the robe of the ephod, Ex 28:31-35, and of the mitre, Ex 28:36-39 and then of the garments of the common priests, Ex 28:40-43.

Exodus 28 Commentaries