Exodus 28

1 And cause Aaron, thy brother, to come unto thee with his sons, from among the sons of Israel, that they may be my priests, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron, thy brother, for honour and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise-hearted, whom I have filled with the Spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to sanctify him, that he may be my priest.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make: the pectoral, the ephod, the robe, the broidered coat, the mitre, and the girdle. Therefore let them make the holy garments for Aaron, thy brother, and his sons, that they may be my priests.
5 And they shall take gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen,
6 and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
7 It shall have its two shoulderpieces joined at the two edges thereof, and so it shall be joined together.
8 And the special girdle of the ephod, which shall be over it, shall be of its same workmanship, of the same materials: of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen.
9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel:
10 Six of their names on one stone and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a seal, shalt thou engrave those two stones with the names of the sons of Israel; thou shalt make them to be set in settings of gold.
12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.
13 And thou shalt make the settings of gold
14 and two small chains of pure gold; of wreathen work shalt thou make them and fasten the wreathen chains to the settings.
15 And in the same manner thou shalt make the pectoral of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it, of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and of fine twined linen.
16 It shall be square and double; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt fill it with four rows of stones; The order shall be a ruby, an emerald, and a chrysolite; this shall be the first order.
18 And the second order shall be a carbuncle, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third order, a topaz, a turquoise, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a tarshish (or beryl) and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And those stones shall be in agreement with the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, in agreement with their names; each one in agreement with his name like the engravings of a seal; they shall be according to the twelve tribes.
22 And thou shalt also make upon the pectoral small chains of wreathen work of pure gold.
23 And thou shalt make upon the pectoral two rings of gold and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the pectoral.
24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the pectoral.
25 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two settings and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod on the front of it.
26 Thou shalt also make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the pectoral in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
27 Likewise two other rings of gold thou shalt make and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the front part thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the special girdle of the ephod.
28 And they shall bind the pectoral by its rings unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the special girdle of the ephod and that the pectoral not be loosed from the ephod.
29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the pectoral of judgment upon his heart when he goes in unto the sanctuary for a memorial before the LORD continually.
30 And thou shalt put in the pectoral of judgment Urim and Thummim, that they shall be upon Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall always bear the judgment of the sons of Israel upon his heart before the LORD.
31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32 And it shall have the collar of his head in the midst thereof, which shall have a binding of woven work round about it, as the collar of a habergeon, that it not be rent.
33 And beneath upon the hem of it, thou shalt make pomegranates of blue and of purple and of scarlet round about the hem thereof and bells of gold between them round about.
34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate upon the hem of the robe round about.
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister, and his sound shall be heard when he goes in unto the sanctuary before the LORD and when he comes out, that he not die.
36 Thou shalt also make an open flower of pure gold and engrave upon it the engravings of a seal, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.
37 And thou shalt put it on with a blue lace that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the sons of Israel shall sanctify in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead that they may find grace before the LORD.
39 And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.
40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats; thou shalt also make girdles for them, and tiaras shalt thou make for them, for honour and for beauty.
41 And with these thou shalt clothe Aaron, thy brother, and his sons with him and shalt anoint them and fill their hands and sanctify them that they may be my priests.
42 And thou shalt make them linen underwear to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the loins even unto the thighs;
43 And they shall be upon Aaron and upon his sons when they enter into the tabernacle of the testimony or when they come near unto the altar to serve in the sanctuary that they not bear iniquity and die: This shall be a perpetual statute unto him and his seed after him.

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