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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 28

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-4

An Introductory Description of the Garments of the Priesthood Exodus 28:1-4 serves as an introductory description of the garments of the priesthood.

Verses 1-43

Instructions Concerning the Building of the Tabernacle - In Exodus 25:1 to Exodus 31:18 the Lord gives Moses instructions concerning the building of the Tabernacle and its articles, as well as the priestly garments. According to Hebrews 8:5, the Lord showed to Moses this pattern visually, probably while he was on the Mount, for God told Moses to make everything according to the pattern that He showed Moses on the mount. The Lord revealed it to him audibly as recorded in this section of the book of Exodus.

Hebrews 8:5, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount .’

It is important to note that God gave Moses general instructions on the building of this Tabernacle and of the making of the priestly garments. But God left it up to the creativity of the craftsmen, being inspired under their anointing, to design the details of each item they made. In the same way, God will give us instructions for our lives, but He often allows us to make the decisions about many of the details as we are inspired by the Holy Spirit each day.

Here is a proposed outline of Exodus 25:1 to Exodus 31:18:

The Offerings for the Sanctuary Exodus 25:1-9 The Furniture of the Tabernacle Exodus 25:10-40 The Ark of the Covenant, Mercy Seat & Cherubim Exodus 25:10-22 The Table of Shewbread & its Accessories Exodus 25:23-30 The Candlestick Exodus 25:31-39 Concluding Statement Exodus 25:40 The Building to House the Articles of the Tabernacle Exodus 26:1-37 The Altar of Burnt Offering Exodus 27:1-8 The Court of the Tabernacle Exodus 27:9-19 The Care of the Lampstand Exodus 27:20-21 The Garments for the Priesthood Exodus 28:1-43 Introduction Exodus 28:1-4 The Ephod Exodus 28:5-14 The Breastplate of Judgment Exodus 28:15-30 The Robe, Mitre, Girdle & Linen Breeches Exodus 28:31-42 Concluding Statement Exodus 28:43 The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons Exodus 29:1-35 The Consecration & Service of the Burnt Altar Exodus 29:36-46 The Altar of Incense Exodus 30:1-10 The Ransom Money Exodus 30:11-16 The Bronze Laver Exodus 30:17-21 The Holy Anointing Oil Exodus 30:22-33 The Incense Exodus 30:34-38 The Appointment of Craftsmen Exodus 31:1-11

Verses 5-14

The Ephod Exodus 28:5-14 describes the making of the ephod as a piece of the priestly garment.

Exodus 28:6 Word Study on “ephod” - Strong says the Hebrew word “ephod” ( אֵפוּד ) (H646) means, “a girdle, specifically, the ephod or high priest’s shoulder piece.” Holladay says it means, “a metallic sacral robe, like a culrass (a piece protecting breast and back).”

Verses 15-30

The Breastplate of Judgment Exodus 28:15-30 describes the making of the breastplate of judgment as a piece of the priestly garment.

Exodus 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.

Exodus 28:16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.

Exodus 28:17-20 The Precious Stones of the Breastplate - We see a similar covering with precious stones described in the book of Ezekiel when discussing Lucifier’s apparel in Heaven.

Ezekiel 28:13, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”

Exodus 28:30 Word Study on “the Urim and Thummim” The Hebrew word “urim” (H224) literally means “lights,” or “revelation.” The Hebrew word “thummim” (H8550) literally means “perfection,” or “truth.”

Exodus 28:30 Comments - The Urim and Thummim were stones kept in a pouch on the high-priest’s breastplate, used in determining God's decision in certain questions and issues. Adam Clarke cites the Latin poet Ovid, who writes of just such a casting of stones. In the ancient custom of casting lots, two stones of black and white were used in casting a vote. The white stone was a symbol of good fortune or of innocence while the black stone symbolized bad luck or guilt.

“It was the custom in ancient times to use white and black pebbles, the black for condemning prisoners, and the white for freeing them from the charge. At this time also the fatal vote was taken in this way; and every pebble that was dropped into the pitiless urn was black! But when the urn was turned and the pebbles poured out for counting, the colour of them all was changed from black to white; and so, by the will of Hercules, the vote was made favourable, and Alemon's son was freed.” ( Metamorphoses 15.41) [92]

[92] Ovid, Metamorphoses, vol. 2, trans. Frank J. Miller, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1958), 367-368. See Adam Clarke, Revelation, in Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v. 3.1 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc., 1993-2000), notes on Revelation 2:17.

Listed are all uses of the Urim and Thummim in the Holy Bible:

Exodus 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.”

Leviticus 8:8, “And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the

breastplate the Urim and the Thummim .”

Numbers 27:21, “And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”

Deuteronomy 33:8, “And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;”

1 Samuel 28:6, “And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim , nor by prophets.”

Ezra 2:63, “And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim .”

Nehemiah 7:65, “And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim .”

Verses 31-42

The Robe, Mitre, Girdle and Linen Breeches Exodus 28:31-35 describes the making of the robe of the ephod, the mitre or headpiece, the girdle and the linen breeches as a piece of the priestly garment.

Exodus 28:33-35 The Helm of the Robe (Exodus 39:24-26 ) Windell Parr suggests that the pomegranates were placed between the bells so that each bell would have its own distinct sound. If two bells clanged together, their sounds would conflict with each other so that neither bell would sound clearly. He suggests that the pomegranates symbolize the fruit of the Holy Spirit while the bells symbolize the gifts of the Spirit. [93]

[93] Windell Parr, “Sermon,” Calvary Cathedral International, Fort Worth, Texas.

Exodus 28:33 Word Study on “pomegranates” Strong says the Hebrew word “rimmown” ( רִמֹּון ) (H7416) means, “a pomegranate,” either as a tree or as a fruit, and as pomegranate shaped ornaments in Temple. He says this word is derived from the primitive root ( רָמַם ) “ramam” (H7426), which means, “to be exalted, be lifted up.” Enhanced Strong says it is used 32 times in the Old Testament, being translated “pomegranate 31, pomegranate tree 1.”

Comments - Webster says that the pomegranate refers to the fruit of the tree Punica Granatum; as well as the tree itself, which is native in the Orient, but is successfully cultivated in many warm countries, and as a house plant in colder climates.”

Exodus 28:36-38 The Nameplate of the Mitre Exodus 28:36-38 describes the golden nameplate that is to be fastened to the front of the mitre, or turban, which is the headpiece of the priestly garment.

Verse 43

Concluding Statement Exodus 28:43 serves as a concluding remark about all of the pieces of the priestly garment.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Exodus 28". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/exodus-28.html. 2013.
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