Exodus 28

1 `And thou, bring thou near unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from the midst of the sons of Israel, for his being priest to Me, [even] Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, sons of Aaron;
2 and thou hast made holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for honour and for beauty;
3 and thou -- thou dost speak unto all the wise of heart, whom I have filled [with] a spirit of wisdom, and they have made the garments of Aaron to sanctify him for his being priest to Me.
4 `And these [are] the garments which they make: a breastplate, and an ephod, and an upper robe, and an embroidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle; yea, they have made holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and for his sons, for his being priest to Me.
5 `And they take the gold, and the blue, and the purple, and the scarlet, and the linen,
6 and have made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen, work of a designer;
7 it hath two shoulders joining at its two ends, and it is joined.
8 `And the girdle of his ephod which [is] on him, according to its work, is of the same, of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen.
9 `And thou hast taken the two shoham stones, and hast opened 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 second stone, according to their births;
11 the work of an engraver in stone, openings of a signet, thou dost open the two stones by the names of the sons of Israel; turned round, embroidered [with] gold, thou dost make them.
12 `And thou hast set the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod -- stones of memorial to the sons of Israel -- and Aaron hath borne their names before Jehovah, on his two shoulders, for a memorial.
13 `And thou hast made embroidered things of gold,
14 and two chains of pure gold, wreathed work thou dost make them, work of thick bands, and thou hast put the thick chains on the embroidered things.
15 `And thou hast made a breastplate of judgment, work of a designer; according to the work of the ephod thou dost make it; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen thou dost make it;
16 it is square, doubled, a span its length, and a span its breadth.
17 `And thou hast set in it settings of stone, four rows of stone; a row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle [is] the first row;
18 and the second row [is] emerald, sapphire, and diamond;
19 and the third row [is] opal, agate, and amethyst;
20 and the fourth row [is] beryl, and onyx, and jasper; embroidered with gold are they in their settings,
21 and the stones are according to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to their names, openings of a signet, each by his name are they for the twelve tribes.
22 `And thou hast made on the breastplate wreathed chains, work of thick bands, of pure gold;
23 and thou hast made on the breastplate two rings of gold, and hast put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate;
24 and thou hast put the two thick bands of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastplate;
25 and the two ends of the two thick bands thou dost put on the two embroidered things, and thou hast put [them] on the shoulders of the ephod over-against its face.
26 `And thou hast made two rings of gold, and hast set them on the two ends of the breastplate, on its border, which [is] over-against the ephod within;
27 and thou hast made two rings of gold, and hast put them on the two shoulders of the ephod, beneath, over-against its front, over-against its joining, above the girdle of the ephod,
28 and they bind the breastplate by its rings unto the rings of the ephod with a ribbon of blue, to be above the girdle of the ephod, and the breastplate is not loosed from the ephod.
29 `And Aaron hath borne the names of the sons of Israel in the breastplate of judgment, on his heart, in his going in unto the sanctuary, for a memorial before Jehovah continually.
30 `And thou hast put unto the breastplate of judgment the Lights and the Perfections, and they have been on the heart of Aaron, in his going in before Jehovah, and Aaron hath borne the judgment of the sons of Israel on his heart before Jehovah continually.
31 `And thou hast made the upper robe of the ephod completely of blue,
32 and the opening for its head hath been in its midst, a border is to its opening round about, work of a weaver, as the opening of a habergeon there is to it; it is not rent.
33 `And thou hast made on its hem pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, on its hem round about, and bells of gold in their midst round about;
34 a bell of gold and a pomegranate, a bell of gold and a pomegranate [are] on the hems of the upper robe round about.
35 `And it hath been on Aaron to minister in, and its sound hath been heard in his coming in unto the sanctuary before Jehovah, and in his going out, and he doth not die.
36 `And thou hast made a flower of pure gold, and hast opened on it -- openings of a signet -- `Holy to Jehovah;'
37 and thou hast put it on a blue ribbon, and it hath been on the mitre -- over-against the front of the mitre it is;
38 and it hath been on the forehead of Aaron, and Aaron hath borne the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel do hallow, even all their holy gifts; and it hath been on his forehead continually for a pleasing thing for them before Jehovah.
39 `And thou hast embroidered the coat of linen, and hast made a mitre of linen, and a girdle thou dost make -- work of an embroiderer.
40 `And for the sons of Aaron thou dost make coats, and thou hast made for them girdles, yea, bonnets thou dost make for them, for honour and for beauty;
41 and thou hast clothed Aaron thy brother with them, and his sons with him, and hast anointed them, and hast consecrated their hand, and hast sanctified them, and they have been priests to Me.
42 `And make thou for them linen trousers to cover the naked flesh: they are from the loins even unto the thighs;
43 and they have been on Aaron and on his sons, in their going in unto the tent of meeting, or in their drawing nigh unto the altar to minister in the sanctuary, and they do not bear iniquity nor have they died; a statute age-during to him, and to 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