Exodus 28:3
And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
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(3) Thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted.—By “all that are wise hearted” we must understand all that had the special knowledge which would enable them to give effectual aid in the production of such garments as were about to be commanded. The Hebrews regarded the heart as the seat of knowledge, with perhaps neither more nor less scientific accuracy than underlies our own current modes of speech whereby the heart is made the seat of the affections.

Whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom.—Few passages in the Bible are more antagonistic than this to the general current of modern thought. God speaks of Himself as having infused His Spirit into the hearts of men, in order to enable them to produce satisfactory priestly garments. Moderns suppose such things to be quite beneath the notice of the Creator of the universe. But it has to be remembered, on the other hand, (1) that God is the fountain whence all knowledge is derived; (2) that He alone knows what is beneath Him and what is not beneath Him; and (3) that dress is not a wholly insignificant matter, or so much would not have been said in Scripture about it (Genesis 3:21; Genesis 37:3; Genesis 41:42; Leviticus 8:7-9; Leviticus 16:4; Numbers 15:38, &c.). Garments intended “for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2) required artistic power in those who were to make them; and artistic power, like all other intellectual excellence, is the gift of God.

To consecrate him.—Investiture in the holy garments was a part of the ceremony of consecration. (See Leviticus 8:7-9; Leviticus 8:13.)

28:1-5 Hitherto the heads of families were the priests, and offered sacrifices; but now this office was confined to the family of Aaron only; and so continued till the gospel dispensation. The holy garments not only distinguished the priests from the people, but were emblems of that holy conduct which should ever be the glory and beauty, the mark of the ministers of religion, without which their persons and ministrations will be had in contempt. They also typified the glory of the Divine majesty, and the beauty of complete holiness, which rendered Jesus Christ the great High Priest. But our adorning under the gospel, is not to be of gold and costly array, but the garments of salvation, the robe of righteousness.The spirit of wisdom - See Exodus 31:3 note. What may be especially noticed in this place is, that the spirit of wisdom given by the Lord is spoken of as conferring practical skill in the most general sense.

Garments to consecrate him - A solemn recognition of the significance of an appointed official dress. It expresses that the office is not created or defined by the man himself Hebrews 5:4, but that he is invested with it according to prescribed institution. The rite of anointing was essentially connected with investiture in the holy garments Exodus 29:29-30; Exodus 40:12-15. The history of all nations shows the importance of these forms.

2-5. holy garments—No inherent holiness belonged either to the material or the workmanship. But they are called "holy" simply because they were not worn on ordinary occasions, but assumed in the discharge of the sacred functions (Eze 44:19).

for glory and for beauty—It was a grand and sumptuous attire. In material, elaborate embroidery, and color, it had an imposing splendor. The tabernacle being adapted to the infantine aid of the church, it was right and necessary that the priests' garments should be of such superb and dazzling appearance, that the people might be inspired with a due respect for the ministers as well as the rites of religion. But they had also a further meaning; for being all made of linen, they were symbolical of the truth, purity, and other qualities in Christ that rendered Him such a high priest as became us.

All that are wise-hearted, i.e. skilful artists. The Hebrews make the heart, not the brain, the seat of wisdom See Job 9:4.

Whom I have filled; either,

1. By my ordinary providence and assistance, giving them both ability and opportunity to learn the arts; or rather,

2. By extraordinary inspiration, which was necessary for the Israelites, whose base and laborious drudgery took off their minds and hands from all ingenious studies and arts. To consecrate him, i.e. to be an outward sign of my calling and consecration of him to my holy service. A metonymical expression.

And thou shall speak unto all that are wise hearted,.... That have knowledge and understanding in mechanic arts, particularly in making garments; and it required men of more than ordinary skill to be employed in making these, because they were uncommon ones, and required a good deal of thought and judgment, and care and application, to make them exactly as they should be:

whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom; for besides a common understanding of things, these required a peculiar gift from God, which some men, as Bezaleel and Aholiab had:

that they may make Aaron's garments, to consecrate him to put upon him at the time of his consecration; and indeed this was one way, by which, as well as by sacrifices, that he was consecrated, see Exodus 29:1,

that he may minister unto me in the priest's office for the priests, without having these garments on, might not minister in their office; for when these garments were off, as they were when they were out of their service, they were as other men, as laymen; see Gill on Ezekiel 42:14.

And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to {b} consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

(b) Which is to separate him from the rest.

3. And thou] the pron. is emphatic.

wise … wisdom] of artistic cleverness or skill: cf. Exodus 31:3; Exodus 31:6, Exodus 35:10; Exodus 35:25-26; Exodus 35:31, Exodus 36:1-2; Exodus 36:4; Exodus 36:8; Jeremiah 10:9 (‘cunning’: Heb. wise). The heart is with the Hebrews the seat not of feeling, as with us, but of understanding: Jeremiah 5:21 RVm., Hosea 4:11 RVm., Job 12:24, &c.

the spirit of wisdom] i.e. an impulse and activity, instinct with wisdom (i.e., here, artistic skill): cf. Deuteronomy 34:9 (P), Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 28:6; and (in a bad sense) Isaiah 19:14; Isaiah 29:10, Hosea 4:12. Comp. on Exodus 31:3.

to sanctify him] the investiture is a part of the consecration, Exodus 29:5 ff.

Verse 3. - Wise-hearted. In modern parlance the heart is made the seat of the affections and emotions, the brain of the intellect. But the Hebrew idiom was different. There the heart was constantly spoken of as the seat of wisdom. (See below, Exodus 31:6; Exodus 35:10, 25; Exodus 36:1, 2; Job 9:4; Proverbs 11:29, etc.) The spirit of wisdom might seem to be scarcely necessary for the work of constructing a set of priestly garments; but where "glory and beauty" are required, high artistic power is needed; and this power is regarded by the sacred writers, as indeed it is by most of those who have written on the human understanding - notably Plato and Aristotle - as a very important part of the intellect. Techne, says Aristotle, involves theoria, as well as aesthesis and genesis, requires, i.e., a knowledge of high abstract truths, as well as the perceptive faculty which we commonly call "taste," and the constructive one known as "power of execution." (See Eth. Nic. 6:4, § 4.) It is, with him, one of the five chief intellectual excellences. To consecrate him. Investiture in the holy garments was made a part of the ceremony of consecration (Exodus 29:5-9; Leviticus 8:7-9, 13), as it is in the English Ordinal in the consecration of a bishop. Exodus 28:3(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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