Contemporary English Version
The Clothes for the High Priest
The Lord said to Moses:
28 Send for your brother Aaron and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. They are the ones I have chosen from Israel to serve as my priests. 2 Make Aaron some beautiful clothes that are worthy of a high priest. 3 Aaron is to be dedicated as my high priest, and his clothes must be made only by persons who possess skills that I have given them. 4 Here are the items that need to be made: a breastpiece, a priestly vest, a robe, an embroidered shirt, a turban, and a sash. These sacred clothes are to be made for your brother Aaron and his sons who will be my priests. 5 Only gold and fine linen, woven with blue, purple, and red wool, are to be used for making these clothes.
The Vest for the High Priest
The Lord said:
6-8 The entire priestly vest must be made of fine linen skillfully woven with blue, purple, and red wool, and decorated with gold. It is to have two shoulder straps to support it and a sash that fastens around the waist.
9-12 Put two onyx[a] stones in gold settings, then attach one to each of the shoulder straps. On one of these stones engrave the names of Israel’s first six sons in the order of their birth. And do the same with his remaining six sons on the other stone. In this way Aaron will always carry the names of the tribes of Israel when he enters the holy place, and I will never forget my people.
13-14 Attach two gold settings to the shoulder straps and fasten them with two braided chains of pure gold.
The Breastpiece for the High Priest
The Lord said:
15 From the same costly material make a breastpiece for the high priest to use in learning what I want my people to do. 16 It is to be nine inches square and folded double 17 with four rows of three precious stones: In the first row put a carnelian, a chrysolite, and an emerald; 18 in the second row a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 in the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and in the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper.[b] Mount the stones in delicate gold settings 21 and engrave on each of them the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
22-25 Attach two gold rings to the upper front corners of the breastpiece and fasten them with two braided gold chains to gold settings on the shoulder straps. 26 Attach two other gold rings to the lower inside corners next to the vest 27 and two more near the bottom of the shoulder straps right above the sash. 28 Then take a blue cord and tie the two lower rings on the breastpiece to those on the vest. This will keep the breastpiece in place.
29 In this way Aaron will have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on his heart each time he enters the holy place, and I will never forget my people. 30 He must also wear on his breastpiece the two small objects[c] that he uses to receive answers from me.
The Other High-Priestly Clothes
The Lord said:
31 Under his vest Aaron must wear a robe of blue wool 32 with an opening in the center for his head. Be sure to bind the material around the collar to keep it from raveling. 33-34 Along the hem of the robe weave pomegranates[d] of blue, purple, and red wool with a gold bell between each of them. 35 If Aaron wears these clothes when he enters the holy place as my high priest, the sound of the bells will be heard, and his life will not be in danger.
36 On a narrow strip of pure gold engrave the words: “Dedicated to the Lord.” 37 Fasten it to the front of Aaron’s turban with a blue cord, 38 so he can wear it on his forehead. This will show that he will take on himself the guilt for any sins the people of Israel commit in offering their gifts to me, and I will forgive them.
39 Make Aaron’s robe and turban of fine linen and decorate his sash with fancy needlework.
The Clothes for the Other Priests
40 Since Aaron’s sons are priests, they should also look dignified. So make robes, sashes, and special caps for them. 41 Then dress Aaron and his sons in these clothes, pour olive oil on their heads, and ordain them as my priests.
42 Make linen shorts for them that reach from the waist down to the thigh, so they won’t expose themselves. 43 Whenever they enter the sacred tent or serve at the altar or enter the holy place, they must wear these shorts, or else they will be guilty and die. This same rule applies to any of their descendants who serve as priests.
Instructions for Ordaining Priests
The Lord said to Moses:
29 When you ordain one of Aaron’s sons as my priest, choose a young bull and two rams that have nothing wrong with them. 2 Then from your finest flour make three batches of dough without yeast. Shape some of it into larger loaves, some into smaller loaves mixed with olive oil, and the rest into thin wafers brushed with oil. 3 Put all of this bread in a basket and bring it when you come to sacrifice the three animals to me.
4 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the sacred tent and have them wash themselves. 5 Dress Aaron in the priestly shirt, the robe that goes under the sacred vest, the vest itself, the breastpiece, and the sash. 6 Put on his turban with its narrow strip of engraved gold 7 and then ordain him by pouring olive oil on his head.
8 Next, dress Aaron’s sons in their special shirts 9 and caps and their sashes,[e] then ordain them, because they and their descendants will always be priests.
10 Lead the bull to the entrance of the sacred tent, where Aaron and his sons will lay their hands on its head. 11 Kill the bull near my altar in front of the tent. 12 Use a finger to smear some of its blood on each of the four corners of the altar and pour out the rest of the blood on the ground next to the altar. 13 Then take the fat from the animal’s insides, as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat, and send them up in smoke on the altar. 14 But the meat, the skin, and the food still in the bull’s stomach must be burned outside the camp as an offering to ask forgiveness for the sins of the priests.[f]
15 Bring one of the rams to Aaron and his sons and have them lay their hands on its head. 16 Kill the ram and splatter its blood against all four sides of the altar. 17 Cut up the ram, wash its insides and legs, and lay all of its parts on the altar, including the head. 18 Then make sure that the whole animal goes up in smoke with a smell that pleases me.
19 Bring the other ram to Aaron and his sons and have them lay their hands on its head. 20 Kill the ram and place some of its blood on Aaron’s right ear lobe, his right thumb, and the big toe of his right foot. Do the same for each of his sons and splatter the rest of the blood against the four sides of the altar. 21 Then take some of the blood from the altar, mix it with the oil used for ordination, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his clothes, and also on his sons and their clothes. This will show that they and their clothes have been dedicated to me.
22 This ram is part of the ordination service. So remove its right hind leg,[g] its fat tail, the fat on its insides, as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat. 23 Take one loaf of each kind of bread[h] from the basket, 24 and put this bread, together with the meat, into the hands of Aaron and his sons. Then they will lift it all up[i] to show that it is dedicated to me. 25 After this, the meat and bread are to be placed on the altar and sent up in smoke with a smell that pleases me.
26 You may eat the choice ribs from this second ram, but you must first lift them up[j] to show that this meat is dedicated to me.
27-28 In the future, when anyone from Israel offers the ribs and a hind leg of a ram either to ordain a priest or to ask for my blessing, the meat belongs to me, but it may be eaten by the priests. This law will never change.
29-30 After Aaron’s death, his priestly clothes are to be handed down to each descendant who succeeds him as high priest, and these clothes must be worn during the seven-day ceremony of ordination.
31 Boil the meat of the ordination ram in a sacred place, 32 then have Aaron and his sons eat it together with the three kinds of bread [k] at the entrance to the sacred tent. 33 At their ordination, a ceremony of forgiveness was performed for them with this sacred food, and only they have the right to eat it. 34 If any of the sacred food is left until morning, it must be burned up.
35 Repeat this ordination ceremony for Aaron and his sons seven days in a row, just as I have instructed you. 36 Each day you must offer a bull as a sacrifice for sin and as a way of purifying the altar. In addition, you must smear the altar with olive oil to make it completely holy. 37 Do this for seven days, and the altar will become so holy that anyone who touches it will become holy.
The Lord said:
38 Each day you must sacrifice two lambs a year old, 39 one in the morning and one in the evening. 40-41 With each lamb offer two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of pure olive oil, and also pour out a quart of wine as an offering. The smell of this sacrifice on the fires of the altar will be pleasing to me. 42-43 You and your descendants must always offer this sacrifice on the altar at the entrance to the sacred tent.
People of Israel, I will meet and speak with you there, and my shining glory will make the place holy. 44 Because of who I am, the tent will become sacred, and Aaron and his sons will become worthy to serve as my priests. 45 I will live among you as your God, 46 and you will know that I am the Lord your God, the one who rescued you from Egypt, so that I could live among you.
- 28.9-12 onyx: See the note at 25.7.
- 28.20 jasper: The stones mentioned in verses 17-20 are of different colors: carnelian is deep red or reddish white; chrysolite is olive green; emerald is green; turquoise is blue or blue green; sapphire is blue; diamond is colorless or white; jacinth is reddish orange; agate has circles of brown and white; amethyst is deep purple; beryl is green or bluish green; onyx has bands of different colors; and jasper is usually green or clear.
- 28.30 two small objects: The Hebrew text has “urim and thummim,” which may have been made of wood, stone, or metal, and were used in some way to receive answers from God.
- 28.33,34 pomegranates: A bright red fruit that looks like an apple.
- 29.9 their sashes: One ancient translation; Hebrew “the sashes of Aaron and his sons.”
- 29.14 for the sins of the priests: When a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins was made for someone other than priests, the part that was not burned on the altar could be eaten by the priests (see Leviticus 5.13; 6.26).
- 29.22 right hind leg: This was usually given to the officiating priest (see Leviticus 7.33).
- 29.23 each kind of bread: See verses 2,3.
- 29.24,26 lift it all up: Or “wave it all.”
- 29.32 three kinds of bread: See verses 2,3.
- 22.9 the judges: Or “I.”