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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 28

Verses 1-43

Exodus 28. P ( Exodus 28:26-28; Exodus 28:41 later). Priestly Vestments.— After the sanctuary and its fittings have been ordered, the vestments for the priesthood come up for mention. For the strange story of the development of the priest-hood in Israel, see pp. 106f. Here we find, no doubt, a simple assumption that Aaron and his sons wore the same vestments as were worn by the Zadokite High Priest and his assistants in the Temple of Zerub- babel. Sir_45:9-22 ; Sir_50:1-21 are a complete proof that the splendour of the Temple ritual and its religious value were fully appreciated by the Hebrew sages, cultivated men of the world who cared deeply for religion as well as for morality. Of Aaron’ s four sons, Nadab and Abihu are named in Exodus 24:1; Exodus 24:9 J, and Eleazar in Deuteronomy 10:5 and Joshua 24:33 (both probably E).

Churches that have come to possess a distinctive dress for ministry could desire no happier phrase to describe them than “ holy garments . . . for glory and for beauty:” ( Exodus 28:2). And the need of the uplift of Divine inspiration, as distinct from mere business capacity, for the ecclesiastical craftsman is as fitly noted in 3. After a list of the vestments ( Exodus 28:4), their materials are specified ( Exodus 28:5), as Exodus 25:3 f.* The first garment described is the ephod ( see p. 101, cf. Exodus 39:2-7). The pouch (not as AV, “ breastplate” : it was a bag 7 inches square) was to sparkle with gems in four rows ( Exodus 28:17-20, cf. Revelation 21:19 f.), the stones being, according to the most probable identifications: (i.) cornelian or red jasper, chrysolite, rock-crystal; (ii.) red garnet, lapis lazuli, sardonyx (a stratified stone, red, whitish, and brown); (iii.) cairngorm, agate, amethyst; (iv.) yellow jasper, onyx (or beryl or malachite), green jasper. These were to be set in gold, and engraved with the names of the tribes ( Exodus 28:21). The fastenings of the pouch are described minutely ( Exodus 28:22-28), and it is explained that, as the names were upon the shoulder as marking Aaron’ s representative office, so they are to be on his heart to mark his personal remembrance of the tribes ( Exodus 28:29). It is the “ pouch of judgment,” because the Urim and Thummim (words of uncertain origin and meaning, pp. 100f.), i.e. the sacred lots ( 1 Samuel 14:41 *), were “ put into the pouch” ( Exodus 28:30). With Exodus 28:15-28; cf. Exodus 39:8-21. So the high priest represented man to God by the engraved stones, and God to man by the sacred lots. A long blue or violet robe is next specified ( Exodus 28:31-35; cf. Exodus 39:22-26) to be worn under the ephod, and made without sleeves or fastenings, but slipped over the head; adorned at the bottom with embroidered pomegranates (like a red orange) and golden bells. The meaning of either can only be guessed at. A gold plate, engraved with the words Holy to the Lord, was to be tied to the front of the turban with a violet ribbon, as marking the fitness of the high priest to atone for any unholiness of the people ( Exodus 28:36-38; cf. Exodus 39:30 f.). Besides, Aaron was to have a tunic, a tight-fitting sleeved garment like an alb or cassock, a linen turban, and a long embroidered sash ( Exodus 28:39), while his sons were to have tunics, sashes, and caps ( Exodus 28:40). The reference to the consecration of the priests is premature in Exodus 28:41 . The note about the linen drawers for the priests ( Exodus 28:42 f.) should obviously follow Exodus 28:40 . At a great Phrygian sanctuary the ordinary priests were in white with caps, and the high priest alone wore purple and had a golden tiara.

Observe that “ the holy place” in Exodus 28:43 is used in a wide sense to cover the court.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Exodus 28". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.