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Exodus 28

Garments of the Priests

1 "Then 1bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest to Me-Aaron, 2Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.
2 "You shall make 3holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.
3 "You shall speak to all the 4skillful * persons * 5whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me.
4 "These are the garments which they shall make: a 6breastpiece and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash, and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister as priest to Me.
5 "They shall take 7the gold and the blue and the purple and the scarlet material and the fine linen.
6 "They shall also make 8the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen, the work of the skillful workman.
7 "It shall have two shoulder pieces joined to its two ends, that it may be joined.
8 "The skillfully woven band, which is on it, shall be like its workmanship, of the same material: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.
9 "You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel,
10 six of their names on the one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth.
11 "As a jeweler * engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set * them in filigree settings of gold.
12 "You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall 9bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders 10for a memorial.
13 "11You shall make filigree settings of gold,
14 and two chains of pure gold; you shall make them of twisted cordage work, and you shall put the corded chains on the filigree settings.
15 "12You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen you shall make it.
16 "It shall be square and folded double, a span in length and a span in width.
17 "You shall mount * on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald;
18 and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond;
19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst;
20 and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree.
21 "The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve *, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each 13according to his name for the twelve * tribes.
22 "You shall make on the breastpiece chains of twisted cordage work in pure gold.
23 "You shall make on the breastpiece two rings of gold, and shall put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece.
24 "You shall put the two cords of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece.
25 "You shall put the other two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, at the front of it.
26 "You shall make two rings of gold and shall place them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on the edge of it, which is toward the inner side of the ephod.
27 "You shall make two rings of gold and put them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front of it close to the place where it is joined, above * the skillfully woven band of the ephod.
28 "They shall bind the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it will be on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece will not come loose from the ephod.
29 "Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.
30 "14You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the 15Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.
31 "16You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32 "There shall be an opening at its top in the middle of it; around its opening there shall be a binding of woven work, as like the opening of a coat of mail, so that it will not be torn.
33 "You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around:
34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe.
35 "It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the LORD, so that he will not die.
36 "You shall also make 17a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, '18Holy to the LORD.'
37 "You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban.
38 "It shall be on Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall 19take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that 20they may be accepted before the LORD.
39 "You shall weave 21the tunic of checkered work of fine linen, and shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash, the work of a weaver.
40 "For Aaron's sons you shall make 22tunics; you shall also make sashes for them, and you shall make 23caps for them, for glory and for beauty.
41 "You shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him; and you shall 24anoint them and ordain * them and consecrate them, that they may serve Me as priests.
42 "You shall make for them 25linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs.
43 "They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or 26when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and die. 27It shall be a statute forever to him and to his descendants 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.

Cross References 27

  • 1. Numbers 18:7; Psalms 99:6; Hebrews 5:1, 4
  • 2. Exodus 24:1, 9
  • 3. Exodus 29:5, 29; Exodus 31:10; Exodus 39:1-31; Lev 8:7-9, 30
  • 4. Exodus 31:6; Exodus 35:25, 31-35; Exodus 36:1
  • 5. Exodus 31:3; Isaiah 11:2; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Ephesians 1:17
  • 6. Exodus 28:15-43
  • 7. Exodus 25:3
  • 8. Exodus 39:2-7; Leviticus 8:7
  • 9. Exodus 28:29; Exodus 39:6
  • 10. Exodus 39:7; Leviticus 24:7; Numbers 31:54; Joshua 4:7; 1 Corinthians 11:24
  • 11. Exodus 39:16-18
  • 12. Exodus 39:8-21
  • 13. Revelation 7:4-8; Revelation 21:12
  • 14. Leviticus 8:8
  • 15. Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 33:8; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65
  • 16. Exodus 39:22-26
  • 17. Exodus 39:30, 31; Leviticus 8:9
  • 18. Zechariah 14:20
  • 19. Leviticus 10:17; Leviticus 22:16; Numbers 18:1
  • 20. Leviticus 1:4; Leviticus 22:27; Leviticus 23:11; Isaiah 56:7
  • 21. Exodus 39:27-29
  • 22. Exodus 28:4; Exodus 39:27, 41
  • 23. Exodus 29:9; Exodus 39:28; Leviticus 8:13; Ezekiel 44:18
  • 24. Exodus 29:7, 9; Exodus 30:30; Exodus 40:15; Leviticus 8:1-36; Leviticus 10:7
  • 25. Exodus 39:28; Leviticus 6:10; Leviticus 16:4; Ezekiel 44:18
  • 26. Exodus 20:26
  • 27. Exodus 27:21

Footnotes 33

Chapter Summary


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