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Exodus 28:36-38

Context

28:36 “You are to make a plate 1  of pure gold and engrave on it the way a seal is engraved: 2  “Holiness to the Lord.” 3  28:37 You are to attach to it a blue cord so that it will be 4  on the turban; it is to be 5  on the front of the turban, 28:38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron will bear the iniquity of the holy things, 6  which the Israelites are to sanctify by all their holy gifts; 7  it will always be on his forehead, for their acceptance 8  before the Lord.

1 tn The word צִּיץ (tsits) seems to mean “a shining thing” and so here a plate of metal. It originally meant “flower,” but they could not write on a flower. So it must have the sense of something worn openly, visible, and shining. The Rabbinic tradition says it was two fingers wide and stretched from ear to ear, but this is an attempt to give details that the Law does not give (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 818).

2 tn Heb “the engravings of a seal”; this phrase is an adverbial accusative of manner.

3 sn The engraving was a perpetual reminder of the holiness that was due the Lord (Heb “Yahweh”), that all the clothing, the furnishings, and the activities were to come under that description. This corresponded to the symbolism for the whole nation of binding the law between the eyes. It was to be a perpetual reminder of commitment.

4 tn The verb is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive; it follows the same at the beginning of the verse. Since the first verb is equal to the imperfect of instruction, this could be as well, but it is more likely to be subordinated to express the purpose of the former.

5 tn Heb “it will be,” an instruction imperfect.

6 tn The construction “the iniquity of the holy things” is difficult. “Holy things” is explained in the passage by all the gifts the people bring and consecrate to Yahweh. But there will inevitably be iniquity involved. U. Cassuto explains that Aaron “will atone for all the transgressions committed in connection with the order of the service, the purity of the consecrated things, or the use of the holy gifts, for the declaration engraved on the plate will prove that everything was intended to be holy to the Lord, and if aught was done irregularly, the intention at least was good” (Exodus, 385).

7 tn The clause reads: “according to/by all the gifts of their holiness.” The genitive is an attributive genitive, the suffix on it referring to the whole bound construction – “their holy gifts.” The idea of the line is that the people will consecrate as holy things gifts they bring to the sanctuary.

8 tn This clause is the infinitive construct with the lamed preposition, followed by the prepositional phrase: “for acceptance for them.” This infinitive provides the purpose or result of the act of wearing the dedicatory frontlet – that they will be acceptable.



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