Exodus 28

The believer need never fear God has forgotten him for the Great High Priest bears the names of His own on His breast before God,
presenting them as those “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

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.

2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.

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.

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.

5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

6 ¶ And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.

7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.

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.

9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:

10 Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.

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.

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.

13 ¶ And thou shalt make ouches of gold;

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.

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.

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

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.

18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.

19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.

20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.

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.

22 ¶ And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.

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.

24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

31 ¶ And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.

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.

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:

34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.

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.

36 ¶ And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

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.

Exodus 28:1-14 – The Ephod

It is befitting that we should consider the priestly garments. We minister within the curtained court; order the lamp of testimony till daybreak, and stand before the altar of incense—it is meet that we should be arrayed in the beauty of holiness. Our Lord bears our names, graven indelibly and eternally, and we are accepted in the Beloved. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Exodus 28:1; 32:2, 4 – Do we not see how God’s purposes are thwarted and deferred by human perversity? At the very time when God had determined upon the election and consecration of Aaron to the priesthood, Aaron was spending his time in moulding and chiselling the golden calf. We might have been crowned fifty years ago, but just as the coronation was about to take place we were discovered in the manufacture of an idol. The Lord was just ready to make kings of us when we made fools of ourselves. (Joseph Parker)

Exodus 28:2; 1 Peter 2:9 – And have we no ornaments? The ornaments of the meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price. And have we no garments of blue, and purple, and beautiful suggestiveness? We have garments of praise; we are clothed with the Lord Jesus. And have we no golden bells? We have the golden bells of holy actions. Our words are bells, our actions are bells, our purposes are bells; wherever we move our motion is thus understood to be a motion toward holy places, holy deeds, holy character. (Joseph Parker)

Exodus 28:15-30 – The Breastplate and its Stones

The breastplate bore twelve precious stones, on each of which the name of a tribe was engraved—the smallest as well as the greatest, Benjamin as well as Judah, Simeon which faded in the desert, as well as Ephraim which occupied the center of the Promised Land. Whatever might be their sins and failures, their chastenings and penalties, nothing could remove them from that sacred place. They might even be at enmity among themselves, but still they would abide there in perfect unity. So it is with ourselves. Our names are engraven on the heart of Jesus, and ever presented before God. Neither life nor death can separate us from His love. Do not look at your shortcomings and failures, but at your standing in Christ Jesus. You cannot be forgotten by God. The dark waters may flow over your soul, the voice of the accuser may be hoarse in your ear, your heart and your flesh may fail, but you are precious in God’s sight, and sparkle in His light like a jasper or sapphire. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Exodus 28:31-43 – Aaron’s Holy Garments

The robe was worn under the ephod. It was of blue, the color of heaven, of deep lakes, of the gentian and the forget-me-not. It was of one piece. See John 19:23. It ended in a fringe, in which bells and pomegranates alternated. We are as the skirts of his garments, and the holy oil will reach us there, so the psalmist says. See Psalm 133:2. We may receive the unction of the holy Christ. The Spirit so richly given to Him may anoint even us, and it will reveal itself in the fruit of the pomegranate and the sweetness of the golden bell. Aaron’s head plate bore an inscription, which the prophet tells us should be written also on our commonest duties and most prosaic service. See Zechariah 14:20, 21. For ordinary priests the clothing was very simple. Pure white linen! Such is the garb which befits us all! Revelation 19:8. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Exodus 28:34 – A golden bell and a pomegranate.

   The robe of the high priest’s ephod was of blue, the color of heaven, of deep lakes, of the glacier-crevasse, of the gentian and forget-me-not. On the hem of the robe were these alternate bells and pomegranates.
   Those skirts may illustrate our own position.—We dare not take a high place near the head or arm; but, thank God, there is a place for each of us at the skirt, near the foot; and the holy oil will reach us there, for the Psalmist tells us that it descended even to the skirts of the high priest’s robe. It is a blessed thought, that we may receive the droppings of each anointing that falls on the head of Jesus.
   But the anointing of the Holy Ghost always shows itself in sweetness and fruitfulness; the sweetness of the golden bell, tinkling with every movement, and the fruitfulness of the pomegranate.
   We must be sweet, as well as fruitful.—Too many Christian workers are over-tired and over-wrought; they are peevish and fretful. When they come back from meetings on which they have bestowed their last energies, they are neither sweet nor gentle to the home-circle, which has been so lonesome during their absence.
   We must be fruitful, as well as sweet.—True religion is not a mere sentimentality; it is strong, healthy, helpful, fruit-bearing. Some seem to think that to attend moving meetings, to be profuse in emotional tears and smiles, to make profuse use of the word dear, is to touch the high-water mark; let them learn that the worth of our life is measured by its influence on others, and its bearing fruit, which has in it the seed of reproduction. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (John 15:8). —Our Daily Homily