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Preparation of the priests' clothes. - Previous to the description of the dress itself, we have a statement in Exodus 39:1 of the materials employed, and the purpose to which they were devoted (“cloths of service,” see at Exodus 31:10). The robes consisted of the ephod (Exodus 39:2-7, as in Exodus 28:6-12), the choshen or breastplate (Exodus 39:8-21, as in Exodus 28:15-29), the meïl or over-coat (Exodus 39:22-26, as in Exodus 28:31-34); the body-coats, turbans, drawers, and girdles, for Aaron and his sons (Exodus 39:27-29, as in Exodus 28:39-40, and Exodus 28:42). The Urim and Thummim are not mentioned (cf. Exodus 28:30). The head-dresses of the ordinary priests, which are simply called “bonnets” in Exodus 28:40, are called “goodly bonnets” or “ornamental caps” in Exodus 39:28 of this chapter ( מגבּעת פּארי , from פּאר an ornament, cf. פּאר ornatus fuit ). The singular, “ girdle,” in Exodus 39:29, with the definite article, “ the girdle, ” might appear to refer simply to Aaron's girdle, i.e., the girdle of the high priest; but as there is no special description of the girdles of Aaron's sons (the ordinary priests) in Exodus 29:40, where they are distinctly mentioned and called by the same name ( abnet ) as the girdle of Aaron himself, we can only conclude that they were of the same materials and the same form and make as the latter, and that the singular, האבנט , is used here either in the most general manner, or as a generic noun in a collective sense (see Ges. §109, 1). The last thing mentioned is the diadem upon Aaron's turban (Exodus 39:30, Exodus 39:31, as in Exodus 28:36-38), so that the order in which the priests' robes are given here is analogous to the position in which the ark of the covenant and the golden altar stand to one another in the directions concerning the sacred things in ch. 25-30. “For just as all the other things are there placed between the holy ark and the golden altar as the two poles, so here all the rest of the priests' robes are included between the shoulder-dress, the principal part of the official robes of the high priest, and the golden frontlet, the inscription upon which rendered it the most striking sign of the dignity of his office” ( Baumgarten).
Delivery of the work to Moses. - The different things are again mentioned one by one. By “the tent,” in Exodus 39:33, we are to understand the two tent-cloths, the one of purple and the other of goats' hair, by which the dwelling ( משׁכּן , generally rendered tabernacle) was made into a tent ( אלה ). From this it is perfectly obvious, that the variegated cloth formed the inner walls of the dwelling, or covered the boards on the inner side, and that the goats' hair-cloth formed the other covering. Moreover it is also obvious, that this is the way in which האהל is to be understood, from the fact, that in the list of the things belonging to the ohel the first to be mentioned are the gold and copper hooks (Exodus 26:6, Exodus 26:11) with which the two halves of the drapery that formed the tent were joined together, and then after that the boards, bolts, pillars, and sockets, as though subordinate to the tent-cloths, and only intended to answer the purpose of spreading them out into a tent of dwelling.
“ The lamps of the order, ” i.e., the lamps set in order upon the candlestick. In addition to all the vessels of the sanctuary, shew-bread (Exodus 39:36), holy oil for the candlestick and for anointing, and fragrant incense (Exodus 39:38), were also prepared and delivered to Moses, - everything, therefore, that was required for the institution of the daily worship, as soon as the tabernacle was set up.
“ Vessels of service: ” see Exodus 27:19.
When Moses had received and examined all the different articles, and found that everything was made according to the directions of Jehovah, he blessed the children of Israel. The readiness and liberality with which the people had presented the gifts required for this work, and the zeal which they had shown in executing the whole of the work in rather less than half a year (see at Exodus 40:17), were most cheering signs of the willingness of the Israelites to serve the Lord, for which they could not fail to receive the blessing of God.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Exodus 39". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent