Exodus 28:6
The craftsmen are to make the ephod of finely spun linen embroidered with gold, and with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn.
Aaron in His Priesthood the Type of JesusJ. Urquhart Exodus 28:1-38
The Priests and Their GarmentsJ. Orr Exodus 28:1-43
The EphodJ. M. Gibson, D. D.Exodus 28:6-14
The EphodG. Rodgers.Exodus 28:6-14

I. OBSERVE HOW THE INDIVIDUAL IS HERE SUBORDINATED TO THE OFFICE. Jehovah tells Moses here, amid the solemnities of the mount, that his brother Aaron and Aaron's sons are to be taken for service in the priest's office; but no word is said concerning the characters of any of these men, not even Aaron himself. There is a demand that those who made the priestly garments should be wise-hearted, men with a spirit of wisdom which Jehovah himself would put into them; but nothing is said as to Aaron himself being wise-hearted. Nor is there any indication given beforehand of any personal fitness that he had for the office. We gather much as to the way in which God had been training Moses; but Aaron so far as we can see, seems to have been led by a way that he knew not. All the commandment to Moses is, "take to thee Aaron thy brother." He is indicated by a natural relation, and not by anything that suggests spiritual fitness. It is interesting to compare the utter absence of any reference here to personal character with the minute details of what constitutes fitness for bishop and deacon, as we find these details in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. In the old dispensation where there was but the shadow of good things to come, the trappings of the official and the ceremonies of the office were of more importance than the character of any individual holder. The purpose of Jehovah was best served, in proportion as the people, beholding Aaron, forgot that it was Aaron, and were chiefly impressed by the fact that they were looking on the appointed priest of the Most High.

II. OBSERVE WHAT WAS AIMED AT IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PRIESTLY GARMENTS. They were to be for glory and for beauty. Not only different from the garments of the common people, but much more splendid. Gold was worked into the very substance of these garments; precious stones glittered upon them; and everything was done to make them beautiful and impressive. Nor was the splendour of these garments for a mere occasional revelation. Though not worn constantly, yet they had to be assumed for some part of every day; and thus all eyes were continually directed to symbols of the glory, beauty, and perfection which God was aiming to produce in the character of his people. There was as yet no finding of these things in human nature. The gold of human nature could not yet be purified from its debasing dross; but here for a symbol of the refined and perfected man, was gold, pure and bright, we may imagine, as ever came out of the furnace; and here were these precious stones, inestimably more precious since the tribal names were graven on them, and with the preciousness crowned when they took their place on the shoulders and breasts of the priest. Thus, whenever these stones flashed in the light, they spoke forth afresh the great truth, that this priest so gloriously attired, was the representative of the people before God; not a representative whom they had elected for themselves, and who would therefore go to God on a peradventure, but one who, because God himself had chosen him, could not fail to be acceptable. The principle underlying the direction to make these splendid garments is that which underlies the use of all trappings by government and authority. The outward shows of kingly state, the crown, the sceptre, the throne, the royal robes - these may not be impressive now as once they were; but they have been very serviceable once, and may still serve an important purpose, even though it be not easily perceived. It might make a difference in the administration of justice, if the garb of those who are the chief administrators were to differ nothing in public from what it is in private.

III. OBSERVE THAT TO SHOW FURTHER THE IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO THESE GARMENTS, GOD HIMSELF PROVIDED SKILL FOR THE MAKING OF THEM. Much skill might be needed, far more than could be guessed by the observer, to make these garments graceful and impressive. What was all the richness of the material unless there was also dextrous, tasteful, and sympathetic workmanship? The gold, and the blue, and the purple, and all the rest of the promising materials would have availed nothing in some hands to avert a clumsy and cumbrous result. The people provided all they could, and it was a great deal; but God had to provide the craftsmen in order to make full use of the people's gift. - Y.

The ephod.
The ephod, with its "curious girdle" and the oynx stones upon its shoulder-pieces, was the distinctive priestly garment. It hung upon the shoulders down to the waist, and was formed of the most costly and beautiful materials, corresponding exactly to those employed in the interior decoration of the holy place. The girdle was made of the same materials, with the same combination of colours. As garments were associated in the Hebrew mind with character, and the girdle with energy in work, we find in the correspondence of both with the interior of the holy place, a memorial of the necessity that those who enter the house of the Lord must be themselves holy and beautiful in character, and be engaged in high and holy service. But the most important parts of the ephod were the shoulder-pieces, on which were set two oynx stones, with the names of the tribes engraven on them (see ver. 12). Here we have the idea of representation clearly and beautifully symbolized. The shoulders, to a Hebrew mind, were the symbol of strength; and the idea was, that when the high priest entered the holy place he did not go alone, but carried with him on his strong shoulders the children of Israel whom he represented; and the estimation in which the people were held was expressed in the value of the precious stones on which the names were engraved, and the setting of pure gold with which they were surrounded.

(J. M. Gibson, D. D.)

The ephod, with the breastplate and girdle fastened to it, and put upon the person of Aaron, constituted him a worshipper; adorned with this he could draw near and worship in the holy place. It was put on over the blue robe, and is supposed to have been much shorter than that garment, reaching a little below the knees, whilst the blue robe reached down to the feet. It fitted closely to the person, and was kept in its place by the girdle. It was made of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen. These materials represent the purity, loveliness, and glory of Christ as the Man Jesus Christ and the mighty God. It would spangle with gold, and the colours would be so blended as to display their richness and beauty in the best possible way. The four materials were the same as the vail was made of, viz., fine linen, blue, purple, and scarlet, which represent the manhood of Christ in all its perfection as such (Hebrews 10:19, 20); but in the gold thread with which that cloth was embroidered (Exodus 39:3), I see the Godhead of the Lord, and the two are so joined together that you cannot have one without the other. The back and front parts of the ephod were joined at the shoulders, by means of the shoulder-pieces from which it was suspended. In each shoulder-piece was a precious stone set in gold — an oynx stone, a beautiful white and half-transparent stone. In these precious stones the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were engraven. Aaron carried the names of his people upon his shoulders. He presented them thus before the Lord, and when God looked down upon Aaron, He saw the names of His people indelibly engraven in white stones. The shoulder is the place of strength. The omnipotent strength of Christ is ours. He carries His people's burdens and themselves too (Isaiah 63:9; Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 46:4; Psalm 55:22). The government is upon His shoulder, and the crown is upon His head.

(G. Rodgers.)

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