Exodus 28

Clothes for the Priests

1 "Have your brother Aaron brought to you from among the people of Israel. His sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar must also be brought. They will serve me as priests.
2 "Make sacred clothes for your brother Aaron. When he is wearing them, people will honor him. They will have respect for him.
3 "Speak to all of the skilled workers. I have given them the skill to do this kind of work. Tell them to make clothes for Aaron. He will wear them when he is set apart to serve me as priest.
4 They must make a chest cloth, a linen apron, an outer robe, an inner robe, a turban and a belt. They must make sacred clothes for your brother Aaron and his sons. Then they will serve me as priests.
5 Have them use fine gold wire, and blue, purple and bright red yarn, and fine linen.

The Linen Apron

6 "Make the linen apron out of fine gold wire, and out of blue, purple and bright red yarn, and out of finely twisted linen. Have a skilled worker make it.
7 It must have two shoulder straps joined to two of its corners.
8 "Its skillfully made waistband must be like it. The waistband must be part of the apron itself. Make the waistband out of fine gold wire, and out of blue, purple and bright red yarn, and out of finely twisted linen.
9 "Get two onyx stones. Carve the names of the sons of Israel on them.
10 Arrange them in the order of their birth. Carve six names on one stone and six on the other.
11 Carve the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a jewel cutter carves a seal. "Then put the stones in fancy gold settings.
12 Connect them to the shoulder straps of the linen apron. The stones will stand for the sons of Israel. Aaron must carry the names on his shoulders as a reminder while he is serving me.
13 Make fancy gold settings.
14 Make two braided chains out of pure gold. Make them like ropes. Join the chains to the settings.

The Chest Cloth

15 "Make a chest cloth that will be used for making decisions. Have a skilled worker make it. Make it like the linen apron. Use fine gold wire, and blue, purple and bright red yarn, and finely twisted linen.
16 Make it nine inches square. Fold it in half.
17 "Put four rows of valuable jewels on it. Put a ruby, a topaz and a beryl in the first row.
18 Put a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald in the second row.
19 Put a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst in the third row.
20 And put a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper in the fourth row. Put them in fancy gold settings.
21 "Use a total of 12 stones. Use one for each of the names of the sons of Israel. Each stone must be carved like a seal with the name of one of the 12 tribes.
22 "Make braided chains out of pure gold for the chest cloth. Make them like ropes.
23 Make two gold rings for the chest cloth. Connect them to two corners of it.
24 Join the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the chest cloth.
25 Join the other ends of the chains to the two settings. Join them to the shoulder straps on the front of the linen apron.
26 "Make two gold rings. Connect them to the other two corners of the chest cloth. Put them on the inside edge next to the apron.
27 Make two more gold rings. Connect them to the bottom of the shoulder straps on the front of the apron. Put them close to the seam. Put them right above the waistband of the apron.
28 The rings of the chest cloth must be tied to the rings of the apron. Tie them to the waistband with blue cord. Then the chest cloth will not swing out from the linen apron.
29 "When Aaron enters the Holy Room, he will carry the names of the sons of Israel over his heart. Their names will be on the chest cloth of decision. They will be a continuing reminder while he is serving me.
30 "Also put the Urim and Thummim into the chest cloth. Then they will be over Aaron's heart when he comes to serve me. In that way, Aaron will always have what he needs to make decisions for the people of Israel. He will carry the Urim and Thummim over his heart while he is serving me.

More Clothes for the Priests

31 "Make the outer robe of the linen apron completely from blue cloth.
32 In the center of the robe, make an opening for the head of the priest. Make an edge like a collar around the opening. Then it will not tear.
33 "Make pomegranates out of blue, purple and bright red yarn. Sew them around the hem of the robe. Sew gold bells between them.
34 Sew a gold bell between every two pomegranates all around the hem of the robe.
35 "Aaron must wear the robe when he serves. The bells will jingle when he enters the Holy Room while he is serving me. And they will jingle when he goes out. Then he will not die.
36 "Make a plate out of pure gold. Carve words on it as if it were a seal. Carve the words set apart for the Lord.
37 Tie the plate to the front of the turban with a blue cord.
38 "Aaron must wear it on his forehead all the time. He will be held accountable for all of the sacred gifts the Israelites set apart. Then I will accept the gifts.
39 "Make the inner robe out of fine linen. And make the turban out of fine linen. Have the belt made by a person who sews skillfully.
40 "Make inner robes, belts and headbands for Aaron's sons. When they are wearing them, people will honor them. They will also have respect for them.
41 "Put all of the clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons. Then pour olive oil on them and prepare them to serve me. Set them apart to serve me as priests.
42 "Make linen underwear that reaches from the waist to the thigh.
43 Aaron and the priests who are in his family line must wear it when they enter the Tent of Meeting. They must wear it when they approach the altar to serve in the Holy Room. Then they will not be found guilty and die. "For all time to come, that will be a law for Aaron and the priests who are in his family line.

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


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

Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.