Ex. 28:1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
Ex. 28:2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
Ex. 28:3 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 consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
Ex. 28:4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
1) Aaron and his sons are to be set apart to serve as priests.
2) The work of a priest requires special garments—garments of holiness and beauty (just as we as part of the priesthood require the garment of salvation provided through Jesus).
3) God filled specific men with the spirit of wisdom to make the needed garments (just as He always provides and empowers to accomplish His purpose).
4) The garments of the priest were to include: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a broidered coat, a mitre (turban), and a girdle.
Ex. 28:5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.
Ex. 28:6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
Ex. 28:7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
Ex. 28:8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
Ex. 28:9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
Ex. 28:10 Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
Ex. 28:11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
Ex. 28:12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.
Ex. 28:13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
Ex. 28:14 And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.
1) The ephod was formed of two pieces joined at the shoulder.
2) The girdle appears to be a belt that was interlaced together to secure the ephod.
3) The ephod is to be made of the same material and colors as the curtains.
4) Two onyx stones (probably a pale green) were to be engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel; six on each stone, listed according to birth. (I would assume oldest to youngest.)
5) The stones were to be set in filigree gold.
6) The stones were to be used on the shoulders of the ephod.
7) Verses 13 and 14 seem to be referring to delicate chains of gold to connect the front and back by hooking around the stones.
8) The fact that the priest was wearing the weight of the stones on his shoulder reminds me of how Jesus carries us in His power as we minister before God. It also reminds me of how we, as priests, are to “carry” one another in service before the Lord.
9) The stones were to serve as a memorial both to the children of Israel and to God. Of what? His covenant I believe.
Ex. 28:15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
Ex. 28:16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
Ex. 28:17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
Ex. 28:18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
Ex. 28:19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
Ex. 28:20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
Ex. 28:21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
1) The breastplate is to be made of the same material and colors as the ephod.
2) It is to be shaped like a square with a double thickness.
3) Four rows of precious stones in gold settings will be attached to the breastplate—
a) Row 1 – sardius (a red gem), topaz, carbuncle (probably the emerald)
b) Row 2 – emerald (probably the garnet), sapphire, diamond (probably onyx)
c) Row 3 – ligure (probably the jacinth), agate, amethyst
d) Row 4 – beryl (perhaps the topaz), onyx (probably the beryl), jasper
Makes me wonder why the translators didn’t use the names suggested by the original words according to Strong’s.
4) Each stone is to represent one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
5) Another good Guzik observation: “It isn’t enough for a priest to have a heart for God. He must also have a heart for the people.” It is so easy to stay focused on our own little world, but God wants us to minister to all of His children.
Ex. 28:22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
Ex. 28:23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
Ex. 28:24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
Ex. 28:25 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.
Ex. 28:26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
Ex. 28:27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
Ex. 28:28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
Ex. 28:29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.
1) The breastplate is to be attached to the ephod by chains of pure gold that have been entwined.
2) The chains will connect the two pieces through gold rings/loops at the shoulder; at the bottom, it would be connected with blue twine.
3) The stones on the breastplate allowed the priest to carry the names of the children of Israel next to his heart.
4) This is to be done for a memorial before the Lord. The priest is the representative of the people to the LORD; they are the reason he is appearing before the LORD. Obviously, God knows everything and doesn’t need a reminder. The priest—who is human—needs to be reminded constantly of his responsibility before the LORD.
Ex. 28:30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.
The doubled fabric on the breastplate formed a pocket into which was placed the Urim and Thummim. These were objects that were used to make the will of God known to the priests and thus to the people. According to Strong’s they represent Light and truth. (3/10) Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have access to these stones today!
Ex. 28:31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
Ex. 28:32 And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.
Ex. 28:33 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:
Ex. 28:34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
Ex. 28:35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
1) The robe of the ephod is to be completely blue. It was to have a strong reinforced opening for the head and neck. This means that it would be put on over the head.
2) The hem was to be embroidered with blue, purple and scarlet pomegranates.
3) Each pomegranate was to be separated by bells of gold.
4) The bells would be evidence that the high priest was ministering in the Holy of Holies.
I heard a series of tapes by a Messianic Jew, Dick Reuben, who had some interesting insight to these garments. He intimated that the blue represents the Holy Spirit who comes upon you at salvation. One must possess the Holy Spirit to enter God’s presence. The pomegranates represented the fruits of the Spirit and the bells the evidences of the Spirit at work in one’s life.
Ex. 28:36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
Ex. 28:37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
Ex. 28:38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.
1) A plate or medallion of pure gold is to be made and engraved with the words “holiness to the LORD.”
2) It is to be hung on a blue twine cord and worn on the front of the mitre or turban on the high priest’s forehead.
3) It appears to serve as insurance that the offerings of the people would be acceptable before the LORD.
Ex. 28:39 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.
Ex. 28:40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
Ex. 28:41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
Ex. 28:42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
Ex. 28:43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.
1) Other garments worn by the priests (all the priests) were to be a coat/shirt, mitre/turban and girdle/belt of fine linen.
2) They were garments representative of their special position of service.
3) After Aaron and his sons were clothed with these garments, they were to be anointed (with oil), consecrated and sanctified (declared clean and holy) as priests of God.
4) The priests are also to have linen undergarments that covered from the waist to the thighs.
5) These garments are always to be worn when they are ministering in the tabernacle—if not, they will die.
6) These instructions are to be followed by future generations as well.
God is very particular about how we appear before Him. The beautiful thing is that we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus when He looks at us. Because of Jesus we are always dressed appropriately to approach Him.
Also, it is interesting that there is nothing here about a rope being tied around the ankle of the high priest to pull him out of the Holy of Holies in case he is struck dead while in there.