Exodus 28:15
And you shall make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shall you make it.
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(15) The breastplate of judgment.—The word khoshen does not really signify “breastplate,” but “ornament.” It was the main ornament of the priestly attire. It was called “the ornament of judgment” on account of its containing the Urim and Thummim, whereby God’s “judgments” were made known to His people. (See Note on Exodus 28:30.)

With cunning work.—Rather, of the work of the weaver. (Comp. Exodus 26:1; Exodus 26:31; Exodus 28:6.)

Exodus 28:15. The breast-plate of judgment — The most considerable of the ornaments of the high-priest was this breast-plate, termed the breast-plate of judgment, because the high-priest wore it upon his breast when he went to ask counsel or judgment of God. The Seventy render the word λογειον, oracle, because hereby the Lord gave answers to the inquiries made by the high-priest in behalf of Israel. It was a rich piece of cloth, curiously wrought with gold and purple, four-square, that is, nine inches long being doubled, and a span broad. The reason of its being doubled was probably for the greater strength and convenience, as it was to hold the weight of twelve precious stones, with the names of the twelve tribes engraven upon them. Some question whether Levi had a precious stone with his name on it or not; if not, Ephraim and Manasseh were reckoned distinct, as Jacob had said they should be, and the high-priest himself being head of the tribe of Levi, sufficiently represented that tribe. Aaron was to bear their names for a memorial before the Lord continually, being ordained for men, to represent them in things pertaining to God; herein typifying our great High- Priest, who always appears in the presence of God for us. The name of each tribe was engraven in a precious stone, to signify how precious in God’s sight believers are, and how honourable, Isaiah 43:4. The high- priest had the names of the tribes both on his shoulders and on his breast, denoting both the power and the love with which our Lord Jesus intercedes for us. How near should Christ’s name lie to our hearts, since he is pleased to lay our names so near his! And what a comfort is it to us, in all our addresses to God, that the great High-Priest of our profession has the names of all his Israel upon his breast before the Lord, for a memorial, presenting them to God!28:15-30 The chief ornament of the high priest, was the breastplate, a rich piece of cloth, curiously worked. The name of each tribe was graven in a precious stone, fixed in the breastplate, to signify how precious, in God's sight, believers are, and how honourable. How small and poor soever the tribe was, it was as a precious stone in the breastplate of the high priest; thus are all the saints dear to Christ, however men esteem them. The high priest had the names of the tribes, both on his shoulders and on his breast, which reminds us of the power and the love with which our Lord Jesus pleads for those that are his. He not only bears them up in his arms with almighty strength, but he carries them in his bosom with tender affection. What comfort is this to us in all our addresses to God! The Urim and Thummim, by which the will of God was made known in doubtful cases, were put in this breastplate. Urim and Thummim signify light and integrity. There are many conjectures what these were; the most probable opinion seems to be, that they were the twelve precious stones in the high priest's breastplate. Now, Christ is our Oracle. By him God, in these last days, makes known himself and his mind to us, Heb 1:1,2; Joh 1:18. He is the true Light, the faithful Witness, the Truth itself, and from him we receive the Spirit of Truth, who leads into all truth.The breastplate of judgment - The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered "breastplate," appears to be simply "ornament". The term breastplate relates merely to its place in the dress.15-29. thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work—a very splendid and richly embroidered piece of brocade, a span square, and doubled, to enable it the better to bear the weight of the precious stones in it. There were twelve different stones, containing each the name of a tribe, and arranged in four rows, three in each. The Israelites had acquired a knowledge of the lapidary's art in Egypt, and the amount of their skill in cutting, polishing, and setting precious stones, may be judged of by the diamond forming one of the engraved ornaments on this breastplate. A ring was attached to each corner, through which the golden chains were passed to fasten this brilliant piece of jewelry at the top and bottom tightly on the breast of the ephod. This was a square and curiously wrought piece put over the ephod upon one’s breast, called of judgment, because from thence the Israelites were to expect and receive their judgment, and the mind of God in all those weighty matters of war or peace wherein they consulted God for direction. And thou shall make the breastplate of judgment,.... Called a "breastplate", because worn upon the breast of the high priest; and a breastplate "of judgment", because it was to put him in mind that he should do justice and judgment in the execution of his office, and that he should have at heart the judgment of the people of Israel; and in difficult cases should ask it of God, and faithfully declare it to them: it was, with the twelve stones in it, an emblem of the church and people of God, borne upon the heart of Christ our great High Priest, who are made righteous by him, yea, the righteousness of God in him, and are called by his name, the Lord our righteousness; the judgment or government of whom is committed to him, and which he exercises, by appointing laws and ordinances for them, by constituting and qualifying persons to act under him, to explain those laws, and see them put in execution, by vindicating and protecting them, and by the open justification of them at the last day:

with cunning work, after the work of the ephod thou shall make it; wrought with divers figures in a very curious manner:

of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it; a piece of stuff interwoven with threads of gold, or golden wires, and with threads of yarn, of blue, purple, and scarlet colours, and with threads of fine twined linen six times doubled; all which may signify the beautiful array of the saints, with the several graces of the Spirit; and especially their being clothed with fine linen, called the righteousness of the saints; that raiment of needlework, and clothing of wrought gold, the righteousness of Christ, consisting of his obedience, sufferings, and death, fitly expressed by these various colours.

And thou shalt make the breastplate of {h} judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.

(h) It was so called, because the high priest could not give sentence in judgment without that on his breast.

15, 16. The ‘breastplate.’ The Heb. ḥôshen (often in the sequel, but only in the present connexion) is of uncertain etym., but there is nothing in it to suggest the idea of a ‘breastplate’; and as v. 30 shews, pouch would convey a much clearer idea of what is intended. It is called the ‘pouch of judgement,’ on account of the Urim and Thummim being kept in it, which were the means by which judgements, or decisions, were obtained by the high priest. It was to be of the same richly coloured texture as the ephod (v. 6).Verse 15. - The breast-plate. As the khoshen was to be worn upon the breast (ver. 29), this name is appropriate; but it is not a translation of khoshen. Of judgment. See the introductory paragraph to this section. Kalisch translates "the breast-plate of decision." It was to be made, so far as its main fabric was concerned, of exactly the same materials as the ephod. See ver. 6. Upon 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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