Exodus 28:10
Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
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(10) The other six names of the rest.—Heb., the remaining six names. Either Levi was omitted, or Joseph’s name took the place of Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s.

According to their birth—i.e., in the order of their seniority.

28:6-14 This richly-wrought ephod was the outmost garment of the high priest; plain linen ephods were worn by the inferior priests. It was a short coat without sleeves, fastened close to the body with a girdle. The shoulder-pieces were buttoned together with precious stones set in gold, one on each shoulder, on which were engraven the names of the children of Israel. Thus Christ, our High Priest, presents his people before the Lord for a memorial. As Christ's coat had no seam, but was woven from the top throughout, so it was with the ephod. The golden bells on this ephod, by their preciousness and pleasant sound, well represent the good profession that the saints make, and the pomegranates the fruit they bring forth.The curious girdle ... - Rather: the band for fastening it, which is upon it, shall be of the same work, of one piece with it. This band being woven on to one of the pieces of the ephod, was passed round the body, and fastened by buttons, or strings, or some other suitable contrivance.6-14. ephod—It was a very gorgeous robe made of byssus, curiously embroidered, and dyed with variegated colors, and further enriched with golden tissue, the threads of gold being either originally interwoven or afterwards inserted by the embroiderer. It was short—reaching from the breast to a little below the loins—and though destitute of sleeves, retained its position by the support of straps thrown over each shoulder. These straps or braces, connecting the one with the back, the other with the front piece of which the tunic was composed, were united on the shoulder by two onyx stones, serving as buttons, and on which the names of the twelve tribes were engraved, and set in golden encasements. The symbolical design of this was, that the high priest, who bore the names along with him in all his ministrations before the Lord, might be kept in remembrance of his duty to plead their cause, and supplicate the accomplishment of the divine promises in their favor. The ephod was fastened by a girdle of the same costly materials, that is, dyed, embroidered, and wrought with threads of gold. It was about a handbreadth wide and wound twice round the upper part of the waist; it fastened in front, the ends hanging down at great length (Re 1:13). Levi seems to be omitted here, as being sufficiently represented by the high priest himself.

Six of their names on one stone,.... The names of the six eldest on the stone upon the right shoulder:

and the other six names of the rest on the other stone: the names of the six youngest on the stone upon the left shoulder; for these stones, as afterwards said, were put on the shoulders of the priests:

according to their birth; the order of it; so that upon the first stone were engraven the names of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, and Naphtali; and on the second stone the names of Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin; and so they are disposed by Jarchi, with whom Josephus agrees (a); though some Jewish writers, and particularly Maimonides (b), place them otherwise; but this seems most agreeable to the letter and sense of the text.

(a) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 3. c. 7. sect. 5.) (b) Hilchot Cele Hamikdash, ut supra. (c. 9. sect. 9.)

Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to {e} their birth.

(e) As they were in age, so should they be graven in order.

10. according to their birth] i.e. according to their ages; cf. Exodus 6:16. Jos. (Ant. iii. 7. 5) says that the names of Jacob’s six elder sons were on the stone upon the right shoulder, and those of his six younger ones on the stone upon the left shoulder.

Verse 10. - The other six names of the rest. Literally, "The remaining six names." According to their birth - i.e., in the order of seniority - or perhaps, in the order observed in Exodus 1:2-4, where the children of the two legitimate wives are given the precedence. Exodus 28:10Upon the shoulder-piece of the ephod two beryls (previous stones) were to be placed, one upon each shoulder; and upon these the names of the sons of Israel were to be engraved, six names upon each "according to their generations," i.e., according to their respective ages, or, as Josephus has correctly explained it, so that the names of the six elder sons were engraved upon the previous stone on the right shoulder, and those of the six younger sons upon that on the left.
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