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Exodus 28:15-30

Context

28:15 “You are to make a breastpiece for use in making decisions, 1  the work of an artistic designer; you are to make it in the same fashion as the ephod; you are to make it of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen. 28:16 It is to be square 2  when 3  doubled, nine inches 4  long and nine inches wide. 28:17 You are to set in it a setting for stones, four rows of stones, a row with a ruby, a topaz, and a beryl – the first row; 28:18 and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald; 28:19 and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 28:20 and the fourth row, a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. 5  They are to be enclosed in gold in their filigree settings. 28:21 The stones are to be for the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to the number of 6  their names. Each name according to the twelve tribes is to be like 7  the engravings of a seal.

28:22 “You are to make for the breastpiece braided chains like cords of pure gold, 28:23 and you are to make for the breastpiece two gold rings and attach 8  the two rings to the upper 9  two ends of the breastpiece. 28:24 You are to attach the two gold chains to the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece; 28:25 the other 10  two ends of the two chains you will attach to the two settings and then attach them 11  to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it. 28:26 You are to make two rings of gold and put them on the other 12  two ends of the breastpiece, on its edge that is on the inner side of the ephod. 28:27 You are to make two more 13  gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the two shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the juncture above the waistband of the ephod. 28:28 They are to tie the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod by blue cord, so that it may be above the waistband of the ephod, and so that the breastpiece will not be loose from the ephod. 28:29 Aaron will bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of decision over his heart 14  when he goes into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.

28:30 “You are to put the Urim and the Thummim 15  into the breastpiece of decision; and they are to be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord. Aaron is to bear the decisions 16  of the Israelites over his heart before the Lord continually.

Exodus 29:5

Context
29:5 and take the garments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, 17  the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastpiece; you are to fasten the ephod on him by using the skillfully woven waistband. 18 

Exodus 39:8-21

Context
The Breastpiece of Decision

39:8 He made the breastpiece, the work of an artistic designer, in the same fashion as the ephod, of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine twisted linen. 39:9 It was square – they made the breastpiece doubled, nine inches long and nine inches wide when doubled. 39:10 They set on it 19  four rows of stones: a row with a ruby, a topaz, and a beryl – the first row; 39:11 and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald; 39:12 and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 39:13 and the fourth row, a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. They were enclosed in gold filigree settings. 39:14 The stones were for the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, corresponding to the number of 20  their names. Each name corresponding to one of the twelve tribes was like the engravings of a seal.

39:15 They made for the breastpiece braided chains like cords of pure gold, 39:16 and they made two gold filigree settings and two gold rings, and they attached the two rings to the upper 21  two ends of the breastpiece. 39:17 They attached the two gold chains to the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece; 39:18 the other 22  two ends of the two chains they attached to the two settings, and they attached them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it. 39:19 They made two rings of gold and put them on the other 23  two ends of the breastpiece on its edge, which is on the inner side of the ephod. 24  39:20 They made two more 25  gold rings and attached them to the bottom of the two shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the juncture above the waistband of the ephod. 39:21 They tied the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod by blue cord, so that it was above the waistband of the ephod, so that the breastpiece would not be loose from the ephod, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

1 tn Heb “a breastpiece of decision” (חֹשֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט, khoshen mishpat; so NAB). The first word, rendered “breastpiece,” is of uncertain etymology. This item was made of material similar to the ephod. It had four rows of three gems on it, bearing the names of the tribes. In it were the urim and thummim. J. P. Hyatt refers to a similar object found in the Egyptian reliefs, including even the twisted gold chains used to hang it from the priest (Exodus [NCBC], 282).

2 tn Heb “four.”

3 tn “when” is added for clarification (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 375).

4 tn The word זֶרֶת (zeret) is half a cubit; it is often translated “span.”

5 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 375-76) points out that these are the same precious stones mentioned in Ezek 28:13 that were to be found in Eden, the garden of God. So the priest, when making atonement, was to wear the precious gems that were there and symbolized the garden of Eden when man was free from sin.

6 tn For clarity the words “the number of” have been supplied.

7 tn The phrase translated “the engravings of a seal” is an adverbial accusative of manner here.

8 tn Heb “give, put.”

9 tn Here “upper” has been supplied.

10 tn Here “the other” has been supplied.

11 tn Here “them” has been supplied.

12 tn Here “other” has been supplied.

13 tn Here “more” has been supplied.

14 sn So Aaron will have the names of the tribes on his shoulders (v. 12) which bear the weight and symbol of office (see Isa 9:6; 22:22), and over his heart (implying that they have a constant place in his thoughts [Deut 6:6]). Thus he was to enter the presence of God as the nation’s representative, ever mindful of the nation’s interests, and ever bringing the remembrance of it before God (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 306).

15 sn The Urim and the Thummim were two objects intended for determining the divine will. There is no clear evidence of their size or shape or the material of which they were made, but they seem to have been familiar items to Moses and the people. The best example of their use comes from 1 Sam 14:36-42. Some have suggested from the etymologies that they were light and dark objects respectively, perhaps stones or sticks or some other object. They seem to have fallen out of use after the Davidic period when the prophetic oracles became popular. It may be that the title “breastpiece of judgment” indicates that these objects were used for making “decisions” (J. P. Hyatt, Exodus [NCBC], 283-84). U. Cassuto has the most thorough treatment of the subject (Exodus, 378-82); he lists several very clear rules for their uses gathered from their instances in the Bible, including that they were a form of sacred lot, that priests or leaders of the people only could use them, and that they were used for discovering the divine will in areas that were beyond human knowledge.

16 tn Or “judgment” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). The term is מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat), the same word that describes the breastpiece that held the two objects. Here it is translated “decisions” since the Urim and Thummim contained in the breastpiece represented the means by which the Lord made decisions for the Israelites. The high priest bore the responsibility of discerning the divine will on matters of national importance.

17 tn The Hiphil of לָבַשׁ (lavash, “to clothe”) will take double accusatives; so the sign of the accusative is with Aaron, and then with the articles of clothing. The translation will have to treat Aaron as the direct object and the articles as indirect objects, because Aaron receives the prominence in the verse – you will clothe Aaron.

18 tn The verb used in this last clause is a denominative verb from the word for ephod. And so “ephod the ephod on him” means “fasten as an ephod the ephod on him” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 316).

19 tn That is, they set in mountings.

20 tn The phrase “the number of” has been supplied.

21 tn Here “upper” has been supplied.

22 tn Here “other” has been supplied.

23 tn Here “other” has been supplied.

24 tn Heb “homeward side.”

25 tn Here “more” has been supplied.



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