28:41 “You are to clothe them – your brother Aaron and his sons with him – and anoint them 2 and ordain them 3 and set them apart as holy, 4 so that they may minister as my priests. 28:42 Make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked bodies; 5 they must cover 6 from the waist to the thighs. 28:43 These must be on Aaron and his sons when they enter 7 to the tent of meeting, or when they approach 8 the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they bear no iniquity and die. 9 It is to be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants 10 after him. 11
1 sn This refers to a band of linen wrapped around the head, forming something like a brimless convex cap, resembling something like a half egg. It refers to the headgear of ordinary priests only (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 310-11).
2 sn The instructions in this verse anticipate chap. 29, as well as the ordination ceremony described in Lev 8 and 9. The anointing of Aaron is specifically required in the Law, for he is to be the High Priest. The expression “ordain them” might also be translated as “install them” or “consecrate them”; it literally reads “and fill their hands,” an expression for the consecration offering for priesthood in Lev 8:33. The final instruction to sanctify them will involve the ritual of the atoning sacrifices to make the priests acceptable in the sanctuary.
3 tn Heb “fill their hand.” As a result of this installation ceremony they will be officially designated for the work. It seems likely that the concept derives from the notion of putting the priestly responsibilities under their control (i.e., “filling their hands” with work). See note on the phrase “ordained seven days” in Lev 8:33.
4 tn Traditionally “sanctify them” (KJV, ASV).
5 tn Heb “naked flesh” (so NAB, NRSV); KJV “nakedness.”
6 tn Heb “be.”
7 tn The construction for this temporal clause is the infinitive construct with the temporal preposition bet (ב) and the suffixed subjective genitive.
8 tn This construction is also the temporal clause with the infinitive construct and the temporal preposition bet (ב) and the suffixed subjective genitive.
9 tn The text has וְלאֹ־יִשְׂאוּ עָוֹן וָמֵתוּ (vÿlo’-yis’u ’avon vametu). The imperfect tense here introduces a final clause, yielding a purpose or result translation (“in order that” or “so that”). The last verb is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive, and so it too is equal to a final imperfect – but it would show the result of bearing the iniquity. The idea is that if they approached the holy things with a lack of modesty, perhaps like the pagans who have nakedness and sexuality as part of the religious ritual, they would pollute the holy things, and it would be reckoned to them for iniquity and they would die.
10 tn Heb “seed.”
11 sn So the priests were to make intercession for the people, give decisions from God’s revealed will, enter his presence in purity, and represent holiness to Yahweh. The clothing of the priests provided for these functions, but in a way that brought honor and dignity. A priest was, therefore, to serve in purity, holiness, and fear (Malachi). There is much that can be derived from this chapter to form principles of spiritual leadership, but the overall point can be worded this way: Those whom God selects to minister to the congregation through intercessory prayer, divine counsel, and sacrificial worship, must always represent the holiness of Yahweh in their activities and demeanor.