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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. (cf. Exodus 39:1-31). Appointment and Clothing of the Priests. - Exodus 28:1, Exodus 28:5. "Let Aaron thy brother draw near to thee from among the children of Israel, and his sons with him, that he may be a priest to Me." Moses is distinguished from the people as the mediator of the covenant. Hence he was to cause Aaron and his sons to come to him, i.e., to separate them from the people, and install them as priests, or perpetual mediators between Jehovah and His people. The primary meaning of cohen, the priest, has been retained in the Arabic, where it signifies administrator alieni negotii, viz., to act as a mediator for a person, or as his plenipotentiary, from which it came to be employed chiefly in connection with priestly acts. Among the heathen Arabs it is used "maxime de hariolis vatibusque;" by the Hebrews it was mostly applied to the priests of Jehovah; and there are only a few placed in which it is used in connection with the higher officers of state, who stood next to the king, and acted as it were as mediators between the king and the nation (thus 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 20:26; 1 Kings 4:5). For the duties of their office the priests were to receive "holy garments for glory and for honour." Before they could draw near to Jehovah the Holy One (Leviticus 11:45), it was necessary that their unholiness should be covered over with holy clothes, which were to be made by men endowed with wisdom, whom Jehovah had filled with the spirit of wisdom. "Wise-hearted," i.e., gifted with understanding and judgment; the heart being regarded as the birth-place of the thoughts. In the Old Testament wisdom is constantly used for practical intelligence in the affairs of life; here, for example, it is equivalent to artistic skill surpassing man's natural ability, which is therefore described as being filled with the divine spirit of wisdom. These clothes were to be used "to sanctify him (Aaron and his sons), that he might be a priest to Jehovah." Sanctification, as the indispensable condition of priestly service, was not merely the removal of the uncleanness which flowed from sin, but, as it were, the transformation of the natural into the glory of the image of God. In this sense the holy clothing served the priest for glory and ornament. The different portions of the priest's state-dress mentioned in Exodus 28:4 are described more fully afterwards. For making them, the skilled artists were to take the gold, the hyacinth, etc. The definite article is sued before gold and the following words, because the particular materials, which would be presented by the people, are here referred to.
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