Exodus 28:13
And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
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(13-30) The space devoted to the “breastplate” is indicative of its high importance. It was the most costly, most magnificent, and most conspicuous of the high priest’s garments, while at the same time it was the most mysterious. Externally it was a blaze of gold and jewels; internally it held those strange and precious objects known as “the Urim and the Thummim” (Exodus 28:30), by means of which the Divine will was made known to the high priest, and through him to the people. The basis of the garment was a linen fabric of similar materials and workmanship with the ephod (Exodus 28:15), square in shape, about nine inches each way, and “doubled,” so as to form internally a bag or pocket. Upon this linen groundwork were fastened twelve “stones,” or jewels, set in an open-work of gold, and arranged in four rows, three in each (Exodus 28:17-21). These stones covered probably the greater portion of the external surface of the breastplate. To its two upper corners were attached two rings of gold, which were made fast by means of gold chains to buttons (“ ouches”) on the upper part of the ephod; and to its two lower corners were attached similar rings, which were fastened by a lace to rings of the same material on the lower part of the ephod (Exodus 28:13-14; Exodus 28:22-28).

(13) Ouches of gold.—“Buttons” or “rosettes” of similar open-work to that which formed the setting of the onyx stones upon the shoulders of the ephod (Exodus 28:11). These “buttons” must have been sewn on to the ephod.

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.Upon the shoulders - i. e. upon the shoulder pieces of the ephod. See Exodus 28:7.

Upon his two shoulders - Compare Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 22:22. The high priest had to represent the Twelve tribes in the presence of Yahweh; and the burden of his office could not be so aptly symbolized anywhere as on his shoulders, the parts of the body fittest for carrying burdens.

Verse 13-30

Compare Exodus 39:8-21.

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). No text from Poole on this verse.

And thou shalt make ouches of gold. Or sockets of gold, to put the two onyx stones in, Exodus 28:11 for of other ouches we read not, excepting the enclosings, in which the twelve stones of the breastplate were set, Exodus 28:20 and these are again mentioned because of the chains to be fastened to them, of which in the following verse. And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
13. ouches] filigree settings or rosettes (v. 11).

13, 14. Two rosettes of gold to be made, with chains of gold attached to them. The object of these chains is explained in vv. 22–5: they are to attach the ‘breastplate’ to the shoulder-straps.

Verses 13-30. - THE BREAST-PLATE. It has been noticed that the ephod had for its main object or purpose to be a receptacle for the breast-plate which was attached to it after it had been put on, and formed its principal ornament. The Hebrew word khoshen, which is translated "breast-plate," means "ornament;" and the khoshen must certainly have been the most striking and brilliant object in the whole attire of the high priest. Externally, it did but repeat the symbolism of the ephod, exhibiting the high priest as the representative of the twelve tribes, whose names were engraved upon its twelve stones, as well as upon the onyxes of the ephod. Internally, it had, however, another, and a deeper import. It contained within it the Urim and the Thummim (ver. 30), by means of which God was consulted, and signified his will to his people. This must be regarded as its main end and use. It was from the decisions thus given that it received the name of "the breastplate (or ornament) of judgment." Verse 13. - Ouches of gold. "Buttons" according to one view (Cook): "sockets," according to another (Kalisch): "rosettes," according to a third (Keil). Some small ornament of open-work (see the comment on ver. 11), which could be sewn on to the ephod, and whereto a chain might be attached, seems to be intended. The object was to fasten the "breast-plate" firmly to the ephod. Exodus 28:13There were also to be made for the ephod two (see Exodus 28:25) golden plaits, golden borders (probably small plaits in the form of rosettes), and two small chains of pure gold: "close shalt thou make them, corded" (lit., work of cords or strings), i.e., not formed of links, but of gold thread twisted into cords, which were to be placed upon the golden plaits or fastened to them. As these chains served to fasten the choshen to the ephod, a description of them forms a fitting introduction to the account of this most important ornament upon the state-dress of the high priest.
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