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The Clothing of the Priests

28 [a] “And you, bring near[b] to you your brother Aaron and his sons with him from among the Israelites, so that they may minister as my priests[c]—Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. You must make holy garments[d] for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty.[e] You[f] are to speak to all who are specially skilled,[g] whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom,[h] so that they may make[i] Aaron’s garments to set him apart[j] to minister as my priest. Now these are the garments that they are to make: a breastpiece,[k] an ephod,[l] a robe, a fitted[m] tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make holy garments for your brother Aaron and for his sons, that they may minister as my priests. The artisans[n] are to use[o] the gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen.

“They are to make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen, the work of an artistic designer. It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be joined together.[p] The artistically woven waistband[q] of the ephod that is on it is to be like it, of one piece with the ephod,[r] of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen.

“You are to take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel,[s] 10 six[t] of their names on one stone, and the six remaining names on the second stone, according to the order of their birth.[u] 11 You are to engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel with the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a seal;[v] you are to have them set[w] in gold filigree settings.[x] 12 You are to put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod, stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron will bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for a memorial.[y] 13 You are to make filigree settings of gold 14 and two braided chains of pure gold, like a cord, and attach the chains to the settings.

15 “You are to make a breastpiece for use in making decisions,[z] 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. 16 It is to be square[aa] when[ab] doubled, nine inches[ac] long and nine inches wide. 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; 18 and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald; 19 and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row, a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper.[ad] They are to be enclosed in gold in their filigree settings. 21 The stones are to be for the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to the number of[ae] their names. Each name according to the twelve tribes is to be like[af] the engravings of a seal.

22 “You are to make for the breastpiece braided chains like cords of pure gold, 23 and you are to make for the breastpiece two gold rings and attach[ag] the two rings to the upper[ah] two ends of the breastpiece. 24 You are to attach the two gold chains to the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece; 25 the other[ai] two ends of the two chains you will attach to the two settings and then attach them[aj] to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it. 26 You are to make two rings of gold and put them on the other[ak] two ends of the breastpiece, on its edge that is on the inner side of the ephod. 27 You are to make two more[al] 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 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. 29 Aaron will bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of decision over his heart[am] when he goes into the Holy Place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.

30 “You are to put the Urim and the Thummim[an] 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[ao] of the Israelites over his heart before the Lord continually.

31 “You are to make the robe[ap] of the ephod completely blue. 32 There is to be an opening[aq] in its top[ar] in the center of it, with an edge all around the opening, the work of a weaver,[as] like the opening of a collar,[at] so that it cannot be torn.[au] 33 You are to make pomegranates[av] of blue, purple, and scarlet all around its hem[aw] and bells of gold between them all around. 34 The pattern is to be[ax] a gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe. 35 The robe[ay] is to be on Aaron as he ministers,[az] and his sound will be heard[ba] when he enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when he leaves, so that he does not die.

36 “You are to make a plate[bb] of pure gold and engrave on it the way a seal is engraved:[bc] ‘Holiness to the Lord.’[bd] 37 You are to attach to it a blue cord so that it will be[be] on the turban; it is to be[bf] on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron will bear the iniquity of the holy things,[bg] which the Israelites are to sanctify by all their holy gifts;[bh] it will always be on his forehead, for their acceptance[bi] before the Lord. 39 You are to weave[bj] the tunic of fine linen and make the turban of fine linen, and make the sash the work of an embroiderer.

40 “For Aaron’s sons you are to make tunics, sashes, and headbands[bk] for glory and for beauty.

41 “You are to clothe them—your brother Aaron and his sons with him—and anoint them[bl] and ordain them[bm] and set them apart as holy,[bn] so that they may minister as my priests. 42 Make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked bodies;[bo] they must cover[bp] from the waist to the thighs. 43 These must be on Aaron and his sons when they enter[bq] the tent of meeting, or when they approach[br] the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they bear no iniquity and die.[bs] It is to be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants[bt] after him.[bu]

The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons

29 [bv] “Now this is what[bw] you are to do for them to consecrate them so that they may minister as my priests. Take a young[bx] bull and two rams without blemish;[by] and[bz] bread made without yeast, and perforated cakes without yeast mixed with oil, and wafers without yeast spread[ca] with oil—you are to make them using[cb] fine wheat flour. You are to put them in one basket and present[cc] them in the basket, along with[cd] the bull and the two rams.

“You are to present[ce] Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the tent of meeting. You are to wash[cf] them with water and take the garments and clothe Aaron with the tunic,[cg] the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastpiece; you are to fasten the ephod on him by using the skillfully woven waistband.[ch] You are to put the turban on his head and put the holy diadem[ci] on the turban. You are to take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him.[cj] You are to present his sons and clothe them with tunics and wrap the sashes around Aaron and his sons[ck] and put headbands on them, and so the ministry of priesthood will belong to them by a perpetual ordinance. Thus you are to consecrate[cl] Aaron and his sons.

10 “You are to present the bull at the front of the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons are to put[cm] their hands on the head[cn] of the bull. 11 You are to kill the bull before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting 12 and take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar[co] with your finger; all the rest of[cp] the blood you are to pour out at the base of the altar. 13 You are to take all the fat that covers the entrails, and the lobe[cq] that is above the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and burn them[cr] on the altar. 14 But the meat of the bull, its skin, and its dung you are to burn up[cs] outside the camp.[ct] It is the purification offering.[cu]

15 “You are to take one ram, and Aaron and his sons are to lay their hands on the ram’s head, 16 and you are to kill the ram and take its blood and splash it all around on the altar. 17 Then you are to cut the ram into pieces and wash the entrails and its legs and put them on its pieces and on its head 18 and burn[cv] the whole ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering[cw] to the Lord, a soothing aroma; it is an offering made by fire[cx] to the Lord.[cy]

19 “You are to take the second ram, and Aaron and his sons are to lay their hands on the ram’s head, 20 and you are to kill the ram and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron, on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hand, and on the big toe of their right foot,[cz] and then splash the blood all around on the altar. 21 You are to take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it[da] on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on his sons’ garments with him, so that he may be holy,[db] he and his garments along with his sons and his sons’ garments.

22 “You are to take from the ram the fat, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the lobe[dc] of the liver, the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and the right thigh—for it is the ram for consecration[dd] 23 and one round flat cake of bread, one perforated cake of oiled bread, and one wafer from the basket of bread made without yeast that is before the Lord. 24 You are to put all these[de] in Aaron’s hands[df] and in his sons’ hands, and you are to wave them as a wave offering[dg] before the Lord. 25 Then you are to take them from their hands and burn[dh] them[di] on the altar for a burnt offering, for a soothing aroma before the Lord. It is an offering made by fire to the Lord. 26 You are to take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration; you are to wave it as a wave offering before the Lord, and it is to be your share. 27 You are to sanctify the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution,[dj] which were waved and lifted up as a contribution from the ram of consecration, from what belongs to Aaron and to his sons. 28 It is to belong to Aaron and to his sons from the Israelites, by a perpetual ordinance, for it is a contribution. It is to be a contribution from the Israelites from their peace offerings, their contribution to the Lord.

29 “The holy garments that belong to Aaron are to belong to his sons after him, so that they may be anointed[dk] in them and consecrated[dl] in them. 30 The priest who succeeds him[dm] from his sons, when he first comes[dn] to the tent of meeting to minister in the Holy Place, is to wear them for seven days.[do]

31 “You are to take the ram of the consecration and cook[dp] its meat in a holy place.[dq] 32 Aaron and his sons are to eat the meat of the ram and the bread that was in the basket at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 33 They are to eat those things by which atonement was made[dr] to consecrate and to set them apart, but no one else[ds] may eat them, for they are holy. 34 If any of the meat from the consecration offerings[dt] or any of the bread is left over[du] until morning, then you are to burn up[dv] what is left over. It must not be eaten,[dw] because it is holy.

35 “Thus you are to do for Aaron and for his sons according to all that I have commanded you; you are to consecrate them[dx] for[dy] seven days. 36 Every day you are to prepare a bull for a purification offering[dz] for atonement.[ea] You are to purify[eb] the altar by[ec] making atonement for it, and you are to anoint it to set it apart as holy. 37 For seven days[ed] you are to make atonement for the altar and set it apart as holy. Then the altar will be most holy.[ee] Anything that touches the altar will be holy.[ef]

38 “Now this is what you are to prepare[eg] on the altar every day continually: two lambs a year old. 39 The first lamb you are to prepare in the morning, and the second lamb you are to prepare around sundown.[eh] 40 With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah[ei] of fine flour mixed with a fourth of a hin[ej] of oil from pressed olives, and a fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41 The second lamb you are to offer around sundown; you are to prepare for it the same meal offering as for the morning and the same drink offering, for a soothing aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord.

42 “This will be a regular[ek] burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet[el] with you to speak to you there. 43 There I will meet[em] with the Israelites, and it will be set apart as holy by my glory.[en]

44 “So I will set apart as holy[eo] the tent of meeting and the altar, and I will set apart as holy Aaron and his sons that they may minister as priests to me. 45 I will reside[ep] among the Israelites, and I will be their God, 46 and they will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out from the land of Egypt, so that I may reside among them. I am the Lord their God.


  1. Exodus 28:1 sn Some modern scholars find this and the next chapter too elaborate for the wilderness experience. To most of them this reflects the later Zadokite priesthood of the writer’s (P’s) day that was referred to Mosaic legislation for authentication. But there is no compelling reason why this should be late; it is put late because it is assumed to be P, and that is assumed to be late. But both assumptions are unwarranted. This lengthy chapter could be divided this way: instructions for preparing the garments (1-5), details of the apparel (6-39), and a warning against deviating from these (40-43). The subject matter of the first part is that God requires that his chosen ministers reflect his holy nature; the point of the second part is that God requires his ministers to be prepared to fulfill the tasks of the ministry, and the subject matter of the third part is that God warns all his ministers to safeguard the holiness of their service.
  2. Exodus 28:1 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperative of the root קָרַב (qarav, “to draw near”). In the present stem the word has religious significance, namely, to present something to God, like an offering.
  3. Exodus 28:1 tn This entire clause is a translation of the Hebrew לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִי (lekhahano li, “that he might be a priest to me”), but the form is unusual. The word means “to be a priest” or “to act as a priest.” The etymology of the word for priest, כֹּהֵן (kohen), is uncertain.
  4. Exodus 28:2 sn The genitive “holiness” is the attribute for “garments”—“garments of holiness.” The point of the word “holy” is that these garments would be distinctive from ordinary garments, for they set Aaron apart to sanctuary service and ministry.
  5. Exodus 28:2 tn The expression is לְכָבוֹד וּלְתִפְאָרֶת (lekhavod uletifʾaret, “for glory and for beauty”). W. C. Kaiser (“Exodus,” EBC 2:465), quoting the NIV’s “to give him dignity and honor,” says that these clothes were to exalt the office of the high priest as well as beautify the worship of God (which explains more of what the text has than the NIV rendering). The meaning of the word “glory” has much to do with the importance of the office, to be sure, but in Exodus the word has been used also for the brilliance of the presence of Yahweh, and so the magnificence of these garments might indeed strike the worshiper with the sense of the exaltation of the service.
  6. Exodus 28:3 tn Heb “And you, you will speak to.”
  7. Exodus 28:3 tn Heb “wise of heart.” The word for “wise” (חַכְמֵי, khakhme, the plural construct form) is from the word group that is usually translated “wisdom, wise, be wise,” but it has as its basic meaning “skill” or “skillful.” This is the way it is used in 31:3, 6 and 35:10 etc. God gave these people “wisdom” so that they would know how to make these things. The “heart” for the Hebrews is the locus of understanding, the mind and the will. To be “wise of heart” or “wise in heart” means that they had the understanding to do skillful work, they were talented artisans and artists.
  8. Exodus 28:3 sn There is no necessity to take this as a reference to the Holy Spirit who produces wisdom in these people, although that is not totally impossible. A number of English versions (e.g., NAB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT) do not even translate the word “spirit.” It probably refers to their attitude and ability. U. Cassuto has “to all the artisans skilled in the making of stately robes, in the heart [i.e., mind] of each of whom I have implanted sagacity in his craft so that he may do his craft successfully” (Exodus, 371).
  9. Exodus 28:3 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive; after the instruction to speak to the wise, this verb, equal to an imperfect, will have the force of purpose.
  10. Exodus 28:3 tn Or “to sanctify him” (ASV) or “to consecrate him” (KJV, NASB, NRSV). It is the garments that will set Aaron apart, or sanctify him, not the workers. The expression could be taken to mean “for his consecration” (NIV) since the investiture is part of his being set apart for service.
  11. Exodus 28:4 sn The breastpiece seems to have been a pouch of sorts or to have had a pocket, since it was folded in some way (28:16; 39:9) and contained the Urim and Thummim (Exod 28:30; Lev 8:8).
  12. Exodus 28:4 sn The word “ephod” is taken over directly from Hebrew, because no one knows how to translate it, nor is there agreement about its design. It refers here to a garment worn by the priests, but the word can also refer to some kind of image for a god (Judg 8:27).
  13. Exodus 28:4 tn The word תַּשְׁבֵּץ (tashbets), which describes the tunic and which appears only in this verse, is related to a verb (also rare) of the same root in 28:39 that describes making the tunic. Their meaning is uncertain (see the extended discussion in C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:473-75). A related noun describes gold fasteners and the “settings,” or “mountings,” for precious stones (28:11, 13, 14, 20, 25; 36:18; 39:6, 13, 16, 18; cf. Ps 45:14). The word “fitted” in 28:4 reflects the possibility that “the tunic is to be shaped by sewing,…so that it will fit tightly around the body” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:475).
  14. Exodus 28:5 tn Heb “and they.” The word “artisans” is supplied as the referent of the pronoun, a connection that is clearer in Hebrew than in English.
  15. Exodus 28:5 tn Heb “receive” or “take.”
  16. Exodus 28:7 tn Here the Pual perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive provides the purpose clause (equal to a final imperfect); the form follows the use of the active participle, “attached” or more Heb “joining.”
  17. Exodus 28:8 tn This is the rendering of the word חֵשֶׁב (kheshev), cognate to the word translated “designer” in v. 6. Since the entire ephod was of the same material, and this was of the same piece, it is unclear why this is singled out as “artistically woven.” Perhaps the word is from another root that just describes the item as a “band.” Whatever the connection, this band was to be of the same material, and the same piece, as the ephod, but perhaps a different pattern (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 301). It is this sash that attaches the ephod to the priest’s body, that is, at the upper border of the ephod and clasped together at the back.
  18. Exodus 28:8 tn Heb “from it” but meaning “of one [the same] piece”; the phrase “the ephod” has been supplied.
  19. Exodus 28:9 tn Although this is normally translated “Israelites,” here a more literal translation is clearer because it refers to the names of the twelve tribes—the actual sons of Israel.
  20. Exodus 28:10 tn This is in apposition to the direct object of the verb “engrave.” It further defines how the names were to be engraved—six on one and the other six on the other.
  21. Exodus 28:10 tn Heb “according to their begettings” (the major word in the book of Genesis). What is meant is that the names would be listed in the order of their ages.
  22. Exodus 28:11 sn Expert stone or gem engravers were used to engrave designs and names in identification seals of various sizes. It was work that skilled artisans did.
  23. Exodus 28:11 tn Or “you will mount them” (NRSV similar).
  24. Exodus 28:11 tn Or “rosettes,” shield-like frames for the stones. The Hebrew word means “to plait, checker.”
  25. Exodus 28:12 sn This was to be a perpetual reminder that the priest ministers on behalf of the twelve tribes of Israel. Their names would always be borne by the priests.
  26. Exodus 28:15 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).
  27. Exodus 28:16 tn Heb “four.”
  28. Exodus 28:16 tn “when” is added for clarification (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 375).
  29. Exodus 28:16 tn The word זֶרֶת (zeret) is half a cubit; it is often translated “span.”
  30. Exodus 28:20 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.
  31. Exodus 28:21 tn For clarity the words “the number of” have been supplied.
  32. Exodus 28:21 tn The phrase translated “the engravings of a seal” is an adverbial accusative of manner here.
  33. Exodus 28:23 tn Heb “give, put.”
  34. Exodus 28:23 tn Here “upper” has been supplied.
  35. Exodus 28:25 tn Here “the other” has been supplied.
  36. Exodus 28:25 tn Here “them” has been supplied.
  37. Exodus 28:26 tn Here “other” has been supplied.
  38. Exodus 28:27 tn Here “more” has been supplied.
  39. Exodus 28:29 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).
  40. Exodus 28:30 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.
  41. Exodus 28:30 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.
  42. Exodus 28:31 tn The מְעִיל (meʿil), according to S. R. Driver (Exodus, 307), is a long robe worn over the ephod, perhaps open down the front, with sleeves. It is made of finer material than ordinary cloaks because it was to be worn by people in positions of rank.
  43. Exodus 28:32 tn Heb “mouth” or “opening” (פִּי, pi; in construct).
  44. Exodus 28:32 tn The “mouth of its head” probably means its neck; it may be rendered “the opening for the head,” except the pronominal suffix would have to refer to Aaron, and that is not immediately within the context.
  45. Exodus 28:32 tn Or “woven work” (KJV, ASV, NASB), that is, “the work of a weaver.” The expression suggests that the weaving was from the fabric edges itself and not something woven and then added to the robe. It was obviously intended to keep the opening from fraying.
  46. Exodus 28:32 tn The expression כְּפִי תַחְרָא (kefi takhraʾ) is difficult. It was early rendered “like the opening of a coat of mail.” It occurs only here and in the parallel 39:23. Tg. Onq. has “coat of mail.” S. R. Driver suggests “a linen corselet,” after the Greek (Exodus, 308). See J. Cohen, “A Samaritan Authentication of the Rabbinic Interpretation of kephi tahraʾ,” VT 24 (1974): 361-66.
  47. Exodus 28:32 tn The verb is the Niphal imperfect, here given the nuance of potential imperfect. Here it serves in a final clause (purpose/result), introduced only by the negative (see GKC 503-4 §165.a).
  48. Exodus 28:33 sn This must mean round balls of yarn that looked like pomegranates. The fruit was very common in the land, but there is no indication of the reason for its choice here. Pomegranates are found in decorative schemes in Ugarit, probably as signs of fertility. It may be that here they represent the blessing of God on Israel in the land. The bells that are between them possibly have the intent of drawing God’s attention as the priest moves and the bells jingle (anthropomorphic, to be sure), or that the people would know that the priest was still alive and moving inside. Some have suggested that the pomegranate may have recalled the forbidden fruit eaten in the garden (the gems already have referred to the garden), the reason for the priest entering for atonement, and the bells would divert the eye (of God) to remind him of the need. This is possible but far from supportable, since nothing is said of the reason, nor is the fruit in the garden identified.
  49. Exodus 28:33 tn The text repeats the idea: “you will make for its hem…all around its hem.”
  50. Exodus 28:34 tn The words “the pattern is to be” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.
  51. Exodus 28:35 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the robe) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  52. Exodus 28:35 tn The form is a Piel infinitive construct with the preposition ל (lamed): “to minister” or “to serve.” It may be taken epexegetically here, “while serving,” although S. R. Driver takes it as a purpose, “in order that he may minister” (Exodus, 308). The point then would be that he dare not enter into the Holy Place without wearing it.
  53. Exodus 28:35 sn God would hear the bells and be reminded that this priest was in his presence representing the nation and that the priest had followed the rules of the sanctuary by wearing the appropriate robes with their attachments.
  54. Exodus 28:36 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).
  55. Exodus 28:36 tn Heb “the engravings of a seal”; this phrase is an adverbial accusative of manner.
  56. Exodus 28:36 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.
  57. Exodus 28:37 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.
  58. Exodus 28:37 tn Heb “it will be,” an instruction imperfect.
  59. Exodus 28:38 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).
  60. Exodus 28:38 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.
  61. Exodus 28:38 tn This clause is the infinitive construct with the preposition ל (lamed), 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.
  62. Exodus 28:39 tn It is difficult to know how to translate וְשִׁבַּצְתָּ (veshibbatsta); it is a Piel perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive, and so equal to the imperfect of instruction. Some have thought that this verb describes a type of weaving and that the root may indicate that the cloth had something of a pattern to it by means of alternate weaving of the threads. It was the work of a weaver (39:27) and not so detailed as certain other fabrics (26:1), but it was more than plain weaving (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 310). Here, however, it may be that the fabric is assumed to be in existence and that the action has to do with sewing (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:475, 517).
  63. Exodus 28:40 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).
  64. Exodus 28:41 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.
  65. Exodus 28:41 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.
  66. Exodus 28:41 tn Traditionally “sanctify them” (KJV, ASV).
  67. Exodus 28:42 tn Heb “naked flesh” (so NAB, NRSV); KJV “nakedness.”
  68. Exodus 28:42 tn Heb “be.”
  69. Exodus 28:43 tn The construction for this temporal clause is the infinitive construct with the temporal preposition ב (bet) and the suffixed subjective genitive.
  70. Exodus 28:43 tn This construction is also the temporal clause with the infinitive construct and the temporal preposition ב (bet) and the suffixed subjective genitive.
  71. Exodus 28:43 tn The text has וְלאֹ־יִשְׂאוּ עָוֹן וָמֵתוּ (veloʾ yiseʾu ʿavon 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.
  72. Exodus 28:43 tn Heb “seed.”
  73. Exodus 28:43 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.
  74. Exodus 29:1 sn Chap. 29 is a rather long, involved discussion of the consecration of Aaron the priest. It is similar to the ordination service in Lev 8. In fact, the execution of what is instructed here is narrated there. But these instructions must have been formulated after or in conjunction with Lev 1-7, for they presuppose a knowledge of the sacrifices. The bulk of the chapter is the consecration of the priests: 1-35. It has the preparation (1-3), washing (4), investiture and anointing (5-9), sin offering (10-14), burnt offering (15-18), installation peace offering (19-26, 31-34), other offerings’ rulings (27-30), and the duration of the ritual (35). Then there is the consecration of the altar (36-37), and the oblations (38-46). There are many possibilities for the study and exposition of this material. The whole chapter is the consecration of tabernacle, altar, people, and most of all the priests. God was beginning the holy operations with sacral ritual. So the overall message would be: Everyone who ministers, everyone who worships, and everything they use in the presence of Yahweh, must be set apart to God by the cleansing, enabling, and sanctifying work of God.
  75. Exodus 29:1 tn Heb “the thing.”
  76. Exodus 29:1 tn Literally: “take one bull, a ‘son’ of the herd.”
  77. Exodus 29:1 tn The word תָּמִים (tamim) means “perfect.” The animals could not have diseases or be crippled or blind (see Mal 1). The requirement was designed to ensure that the people would give the best they had to Yahweh. The typology pointed to the sinless Messiah who would fulfill all these sacrifices in his one sacrifice on the cross.
  78. Exodus 29:2 sn This will be for the minkhah (מִנְחָה) offering (Lev 2), which was to accompany the animal sacrifices.
  79. Exodus 29:2 tn Or “anointed” (KJV, ASV).
  80. Exodus 29:2 tn The “fine flour” is here an adverbial accusative, explaining the material from which these items were made. The flour is to be finely sifted, and from the wheat, not the barley, which was often the material used by the poor. Fine flour, no leaven, and perfect animals, without blemishes, were to be gathered for this service.
  81. Exodus 29:3 tn The verb קָרַב (qarav) in the Hiphil means to “bring near” to the altar, or, to offer something to God. These gifts will, therefore, be offered to him for the service of this ritual.
  82. Exodus 29:3 tn Heb “and with.”
  83. Exodus 29:4 tn Here too the verb is Hiphil (now imperfect) meaning “bring near” the altar. The choice of this verb indicates that they were not merely being brought near, but that they were being formally presented to Yahweh as the offerings were.
  84. Exodus 29:4 sn This is the washing referred to in Lev 8:6. This is a complete washing, not just of the hands and feet that would follow in the course of service. It had to serve as a symbolic ritual cleansing or purifying as the initial stage in the consecration. The imagery of washing will be used in the NT for regeneration (Titus 3:5).
  85. Exodus 29:5 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.
  86. Exodus 29:5 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).
  87. Exodus 29:6 sn This term does not appear in chap. 28, but it can only refer to the plate with the inscription on it that was tied to the turban. Here it is called a “holy diadem,” a diadem that is distinctly set apart for this service. All the clothing was described as “holy garments,” and so they were all meant to mark the separation of the priests to this holy service. The items of clothing were each intended for different aspects of ministry, and so this step in the consecration was designed to symbolize being set apart for those duties, or, prepared (gifted) to perform the ministry.
  88. Exodus 29:7 sn The act of anointing was meant to set him apart for this holy service within the house of Yahweh. The psalms indicate that no oil was spared in this ritual, for it ran down his beard and to the hem of his garment. Oil of anointing was used for all major offices (giving the label with the passive adjective “mashiakh” (or “messiah”) to anyone anointed. In the further revelation of Scripture, the oil came to signify the enablement as well as the setting apart, and often the Holy Spirit came on the person at the anointing with oil. The olive oil was a symbol of the Spirit in the OT as well (Zech 4:4-6). And in the NT “anointing” signifies empowerment by the Holy Spirit for service.
  89. Exodus 29:9 tc Hebrew has both the objective pronoun “them” and the names “Aaron and his sons.” Neither the LXX nor Leviticus 8:13 has “Aaron and his sons,” suggesting that this may have been a later gloss in the text.
  90. Exodus 29:9 tn Heb “and you will fill the hand” and so “consecrate” or “ordain.” The verb draws together the individual acts of the process.
  91. Exodus 29:10 tn The verb is singular, agreeing with the first of the compound subject—Aaron.
  92. Exodus 29:10 sn The details of these offerings have to be determined from a careful study of Leviticus. There is a good deal of debate over the meaning of laying hands on the animals. At the very least it identifies the animal formally as their sacrifice. But it may very well indicate that the animal is a substitute for them as well, given the nature and the effect of the sacrifices.
  93. Exodus 29:12 sn This act seems to have signified the efficacious nature of the blood, since the horns represented power. This is part of the ritual of the sin offering for laity, because before the priests become priests they are treated as laity. The offering is better described as a purification offering rather than a sin offering, because it was offered, according to Leviticus, for both sins and impurities. Moreover, it was offered primarily to purify the sanctuary so that the once-defiled or sinful person could enter (see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB]).
  94. Exodus 29:12 tn The phrase “rest of” has been supplied in the translation for clarification.
  95. Exodus 29:13 tn S. R. Driver suggests that this is the appendix or an appendix, both here and in v. 22 (Exodus, 320). “The surplus, the appendage of liver, found with cow, sheep, or goat, but not with humans: Lobus caudatus” (HALOT 453 s.v. יֹתֶרֶת).
  96. Exodus 29:13 tn Heb “turn [them] into sweet smoke” since the word is used for burning The giving of the visceral organs and the fat has received various explanations. The fat represented the best, and the best was to go to God. If the animal is a substitute, then the visceral organs represent the will of the worshiper in an act of surrender to God.
  97. Exodus 29:14 tn Heb “burn with fire.”
  98. Exodus 29:14 sn This is to be done because there is no priesthood yet. Once they are installed, then the sin/purification offering is to be eaten by the officiating priests as a sign that the offering was received. But priests could not consume their own sin offering.
  99. Exodus 29:14 sn There were two kinds of “purification offering,” those made with confession for sin and those made without. The title needs to cover both of them, and if it is called in the traditional way “the sin offering,” that will convey that when people offered it for skin diseases, menstruation, or having babies, they had sinned. That was not the case. Moreover, it is usual to translate the names of the sacrifices by what they do more than what they cover—so peace offering, reparation offering, and purification offering.
  100. Exodus 29:18 tn Heb “turn to sweet smoke.”
  101. Exodus 29:18 sn According to Lev 1 the burnt offering (often called whole burnt offering, except that the skins were usually given to the priests for income) was an atoning sacrifice. By consuming the entire animal, God was indicating that he had completely accepted the worshiper, and as it was a sweet smelling fire sacrifice, he was indicating that he was pleased to accept it. By offering the entire animal, the worshiper was indicating on his part a complete surrender to God.
  102. Exodus 29:18 tn The word אִשֶּׁה (ʾisheh) has traditionally been translated “an offering made with fire” or the like, because it appears so obviously connected with fire. But further evidence from Ugaritic suggests that it might only mean “a gift” (see Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, 161).
  103. Exodus 29:18 sn These sections show that the priest had to be purified or cleansed from defilement of sin and also be atoned for and accepted by the Lord through the blood of the sacrifice. The principles from these two sacrifices should be basic to anyone seeking to serve God.
  104. Exodus 29:20 sn By this ritual the priests were set apart completely to the service of God. The ear represented the organ of hearing (as in “ears you have dug” in Ps 40 or “awakens my ear” in Isa 50), and this had to be set apart to God so that they could hear the Word of God. The thumb and the hand represented the instrument to be used for all ministry, and so everything that they “put their hand to” had to be dedicated to God and appropriate for his service. The toe set the foot apart to God, meaning that the walk of the priest had to be consecrated—where he went, how he conducted himself, what life he lived, all belonged to God now.
  105. Exodus 29:21 tn Here “it” has been supplied.
  106. Exodus 29:21 tn The verb in this instance is Qal and not Piel, “to be holy” rather than “sanctify.” The result of all this ritual is that Aaron and his sons will be set aside and distinct in their life and their service.
  107. Exodus 29:22 tn S. R. Driver suggests that this is the appendix or an appendix, both here and in v. 13 (Exodus, 320). “The surplus, the appendage of liver, found with cow, sheep, or goat, but not with humans: Lobus caudatus” (HALOT 453 s.v. יֹתֶרֶת).
  108. Exodus 29:22 tn Heb “filling.”
  109. Exodus 29:24 tn Heb “the whole” or “the all.”
  110. Exodus 29:24 tn Heb “palms.”
  111. Exodus 29:24 tn The “wave offering” is תְּנוּפָה (tenufah); it is, of course, cognate with the verb, but an adverbial accusative rather than the direct object. In Lev 23 this seems to be a sacrificial gesture of things that are for the priests—but they present them first to Yahweh and then receive them back from him. So the waving is not side to side, but forward to Yahweh and then back to the priest. Here it is just an induction into that routine, since this is the ordination of the priests and the gifts are not yet theirs. So this will all be burned on the altar.
  112. Exodus 29:25 tn “turn to sweet smoke.”
  113. Exodus 29:25 tn “them” has been supplied.
  114. Exodus 29:27 sn These are the two special priestly offerings: the wave offering (from the verb “to wave”) and the “presentation offering” (older English: heave offering; from a verb “to be high,” in Hiphil meaning “to lift up,” an item separated from the offering, a contribution). The two are then clarified with two corresponding relative clauses containing two Hophals: “which was waved and which was presented.” In making sacrifices, the breast and the thigh belong to the priests.
  115. Exodus 29:29 tn The construction is an infinitive construct with the preposition ל (lamed). The form simply means “for anointing,” but it serves to express the purpose or result of their inheriting the sacred garments.
  116. Exodus 29:29 tn This form is a Piel infinitive construct with the preposition ל (lamed). It literally reads “for filling the hands,” the idiom used throughout this chapter for ordination or installation. Here too it has a parallel use of purpose or result.
  117. Exodus 29:30 tn Heb “after him”; NCV, NLT “after Aaron.”
  118. Exodus 29:30 tn The text just has the relative pronoun and the imperfect tense. It could be translated “who comes/enters.” But the context seems to indicate that this would be when he first comes to the tent to begin his tenure as High Priest, and so a temporal clause makes this clear. “First” has been supplied.
  119. Exodus 29:30 tn “Seven days” is an adverbial accusative of time. The ritual of ordination is to be repeated for seven days, and so they are to remain there in the court in full dress.
  120. Exodus 29:31 tn Or “boil” (see Lev 8:31).
  121. Exodus 29:31 sn The “holy place” must be in the courtyard of the sanctuary. Lev 8:31 says it is to be cooked at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Here it says it will be eaten there as well. This, then, becomes a communion sacrifice, a peace offering which was a shared meal. Eating a communal meal in a holy place was meant to signify that the worshipers and the priests were at peace with God.
  122. Exodus 29:33 tn The clause is a relative clause modifying “those things,” the direct object of the verb “eat.” The relative clause has a resumptive pronoun: “which atonement was made by them” becomes “by which atonement was made.” The verb is a Pual perfect of כִּפֵּר (kipper, “to expiate, atone, pacify”).
  123. Exodus 29:33 tn The Hebrew word is “stranger, alien” (זָר, zar). But in this context it means anyone who is not a priest (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 324).
  124. Exodus 29:34 tn Or “ordination offerings” (Heb “fillings”).
  125. Exodus 29:34 tn The verb in the conditional clause is a Niphal imperfect of יָתַר (yatar); this verb is repeated in the next clause (as a Niphal participle) as the direct object of the verb “you will burn” (a Qal perfect with a vav [ו] consecutive to form the instruction).
  126. Exodus 29:34 tn Heb “burn with fire.”
  127. Exodus 29:34 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect negated. It expresses the prohibition against eating this, but in the passive voice: “it will not be eaten,” or stronger, “it must not be eaten.”
  128. Exodus 29:35 tn Heb “you will fill their hand.”
  129. Exodus 29:35 tn The “seven days” is the adverbial accusative explaining that the ritual of the filling should continue daily for a week. Leviticus makes it clear that they are not to leave the sanctuary.
  130. Exodus 29:36 tn The construction uses a genitive: “a bull of the sin offering,” which means, a bull that is designated for a sin (or better, purification) offering.
  131. Exodus 29:36 sn It is difficult to understand how this verse is to be harmonized with the other passages. The ceremony in the earlier passages deals with atonement made for the priests, for people. But here it is the altar that is being sanctified. The “sin [purification] offering” seems to be for purification of the sanctuary and altar to receive people in their worship.
  132. Exodus 29:36 tn The verb is וְחִטֵּאתָ (vehitteʾta), a Piel perfect of the word usually translated “to sin.” Here it may be interpreted as a privative Piel (as in Ps 51:7 [9]), with the sense of “un-sin” or “remove sin.” It could also be interpreted as related to the word for “sin offering,” and so be a denominative verb. It means “to purify, cleanse.” The Hebrews understood that sin and contamination could corrupt and pollute even nonliving things, and so they had to be purified.
  133. Exodus 29:36 tn The preposition ב (bet) on the infinitive is understood as instrumental here (NIV, NLT), though the construction is frequently temporal (KJV, NRSV, NASB, ESV). If it were temporal without being instrumental, then it would imply that some other action is performed to purge the altar when making atonement for it.
  134. Exodus 29:37 tn Once again this is an adverbial accusative of time. Each day for seven days the ritual at the altar is to be followed.
  135. Exodus 29:37 tn The construction is the superlative genitive: “holy of holies,” or “most holy.”
  136. Exodus 29:37 sn This line states an unusual principle, meant to preserve the sanctity of the altar. S. R. Driver explains it this way (Exodus, 325): If anything comes in contact with the altar, it becomes holy and must remain in the sanctuary for Yahweh’s use. If a person touches the altar, he likewise becomes holy and cannot return to the profane regions. He will be given over to God to be dealt with as God pleases. Anyone who was not qualified to touch the altar did not dare approach it, for contact would have meant that he was no longer free to leave but was God’s holy possession—and might pay for it with his life (see Exod 30:29; Lev 6:18b, 27; Ezek 46:20).
  137. Exodus 29:38 tn The verb is “you will do,” “you will make.” It clearly refers to offering the animals on the altar, but may emphasize all the preparation that was involved in the process.
  138. Exodus 29:39 tn Heb “between the two evenings” or “between the two settings” (בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם, ben haʿarbayim). This expression has had a good deal of discussion. (1) Tg. Onq. says “between the two suns,” which the Talmud explains as the time between the sunset and the time the stars become visible. More technically, the first “evening” would be the time between sunset and the appearance of the crescent moon, and the second “evening” the next hour, or from the appearance of the crescent moon to full darkness (see Deut 16:6 “at the going down of the sun”). (2) Saadia, Rashi, and Kimchi say the first evening is when the sun begins to decline in the west and cast its shadows, and the second evening is the beginning of night. (3) The view adopted by the Pharisees and the Talmudists (b. Pesahim 61a) is that the first evening is when the heat of the sun begins to decrease, and the second evening begins at sunset, or, roughly from 3-5 p.m. The Mishnah (m. Pesahim 5:1) indicates the lamb was killed about 2:30 p.m.—anything before noon was not valid. S. R. Driver concludes from this survey that the first view is probably the best, although the last view was the traditionally accepted one (Exodus, 89-90). Late afternoon or early evening seems to be intended, the time of twilight perhaps.
  139. Exodus 29:40 tn The phrase “of an ephah” has been supplied for clarity (cf. Num 28:5). The ephah was a commonly used dry measure whose capacity is now uncertain: “Quotations given for the ephah vary from ca. 45 to 20 liters” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 2:340-41).
  140. Exodus 29:40 tn “Hin” is a transliterated Hebrew word that seems to have an Egyptian derivation. The amount of liquid measured by a hin is uncertain: “Its presumed capacity varies from about 3,5 liters to 7,5 liters” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:550).
  141. Exodus 29:42 tn The translation has “regular” instead of “continually,” because they will be preparing this twice a day.
  142. Exodus 29:42 tn The relative clause identifies the place in front of the Tent as the place that Yahweh would meet Moses. The main verb of the clause is אִוָּעֵד (ʾivvaʿed), a Niphal imperfect of the verb יָעַד (yaʿad), the verb that is cognate to the name “tent of meeting”—hence the name. This clause leads into the next four verses.
  143. Exodus 29:43 tn The verb now is a Niphal perfect from the same root, with a vav (ו) consecutive. It simply continues the preceding verb, announcing now that he would meet the people.
  144. Exodus 29:43 tn Or “will be sanctified by my glory” (KJV and ASV both similar).sn The tabernacle, as well as the priests and the altar, will be sanctified by the power of Yahweh’s presence. The reference here is to when Yahweh enters the sanctuary in all his glory (see Exod 40:34f.).
  145. Exodus 29:44 tn This verse affirms the same point as the last, but now with an active verb: “I will set apart as holy” (or “I will sanctify”). This verse, then, probably introduces the conclusion of the chapter: “So I will….”
  146. Exodus 29:45 tn The verb has the root שָׁכַן (shakan), from which came the word for the dwelling place, or sanctuary, itself (מִשְׁכָּן, mishkan). It is also used for the description of “the Shekinah glory.” God is affirming that he will reside in the midst of his people.