This chapter consists of talking about the priestly garments of ancient Judaism. We’ll also be covering the ephod (we’ve talked a little bit about this in Exodus chapter 25), the breastpiece, & other priestly garments.
Alright, let’s get into the priestly garments: (Check this out in Exodus 39:1.)
Aaron & his descendants are/were to serve God as his priests. God says to make sacred garments for them, to give them honor & dignity. All the skilled men, who God gave the wisdom to, are to make the garments for the consecration of Aaron. The garments that the skilled men are to make are: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban, & a sash. The garments are to be made of gold; purple, blue, & scarlet yarn & fine linen.
Now for the ephod: (Check out more about this in Exodus 39:2-7.)
The ephod is made of gold, & of blue, purple, scarlet yarn & finely twisted linen. It was the work of a skilled craftsman. It had 2 shoulder pieces attached to 2 of its corners, so it can be fastened. Its woven waistband is skillfully woven, it’s to be 1 piece with the ephod. The waistband is to be made of gold & finely woven twisted linen that was purple, blue, & scarlet yarn.
There were 2 onyx stones engraved with the names of the sons of Israel, in the order of their birth. 6 names on 1 stone, 6 names on the other. The names were engraved on them the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. The stones were mounted in gold filigree settings & were fastened on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. (Kinda like a remember where you come from type of deal.) Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before God. (Aaron, at this time, was the high priest. So, only the high priest could wear this.) Gold filigree settings & 2 braided chains, made of pure gold, that look like a rope (think of any rapper or Mr. T!). This chain was attached to the settings.
The breastpiece is next: (You can see more about this in Exodus 39:8-21.)
The breastpiece was fashioned for making decisions. A skilled craftsman’s work. It was made like the ephod: of gold, blue, purple, scarlet yarn & finely twisted linen. The breastpiece was square in shape. It was a span (9″) long & a span (9″) wide & folded double.
There were 4 rows of precious stones on it. The 1st row: a ruby, a topaz, & a beryl. In the 2nd row: turquoise, a sapphire, & emerald. In the 3rd row: jacinth, agate, & amethyst. In the 4th row: chrysolite, onyx, & jasper. They were mounted in gold filigree settings. There were 12 stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel. Each one were engraved like a seal with the name of 1 of the 12 tribes.
The breastpiece had a braided chains like rope, made of pure gold. There were 2 gold rings & were fastened to 2 corners of the breastpiece. The 2 gold chains were fastened to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece. The other ends of the chains were attached to the other 2 settings of the shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front. There were 2 gold rings & they were attached to the other 2 corners of the breastpiece, on the inside edge next to the ephod. There were 2 more gold rings & were attached to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, it was close to the seam, just above the waistband of the ephod.
The rings of the breastpiece were tied to the rings of the ephod, with a blue cord. The cord connected it to the waistband, so that the breastpiece didn’t swing out from the ephod.
Whenever Aaron entered to Holy of Holies (a.k.a. “The Holy Place”), he’d bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision. This served as a memorial before God. He (Aaron) also had to put one the Urim & the Thummim (it’s not known where or what the Urim & the Thummim really is or what these where made of.) in the breastpiece. These could’ve been put over Aaron’s heart whenever he (Aaron) enters the presence of God. (The Urim & the Thummim were thought to be used in “divination.” As much as you can “divine” from God.)
Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before God.
Now, on to the other priestly garments: (You can see this also in Exodus 39:22-31.)
The robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth. There was an opening for the head in its center. There was a woven edge like a collar around the opening, so that it won’t tear. There were pomegranates of blue, purple, & scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe. There were gold bells between them. The gold bells & pomegranates were alternated around the hem of the robe. Aaron HAD to wear this robe when he ministered. The sound of the bells were heard when Aaron entered the Holy of Holies before God. The sound of the bells were also to be heard as Aaron was leaving the Holy of Holies too, so that he wouldn’t die.
There was a plate made of pure gold, that was engraved with a seal on it. The seal said: “Holy to the Lord.” There was a blue cord attached to the plate & the plate was attached to the turban. It was on the front of the turban. This was on Aaron’s forehead. Aaron bore the guilt that was involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites had consecrated, whatever their gifts were. It was on Aaron’s forehead continually so that the Israelites were acceptable to God.
The tunic & turbin was woven of fine linen. The sash was made by an embroiderer. The tunic, sashes, & headbands were made for Aaron’s sons also. After the clothes were put on Aaron & his sons, they were anointed & ordained.
Linen undergarments were made as a covering for the body. The undergarments reached from the waist to the thigh. Aaron & his sons HAD to wear this whenever they entered the “Tent of Meeting” (a.k.a. The tent were they did all of the rituals, ceremonies, etc.) or when they approached the altar to minister in the Holy of Holies. They did this so they wouldn’t incur guilt & die. (This is going back to not showing nakedness at the altar.)
All of this was to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron & his descendants. (Yay, we made it through another one!!!)