Exodus 28:4
And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
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(4). These are the garments.—The garments peculiar to the high priest are taken first, and described with great elaboration in thirty-six verses (4-39). The most conspicuous was the breastplate, described in Exodus 28:13-30, and here mentioned first of all. Next to this came the peculiar vestment called the “ephod,” a sort of jerkin or waistcoat, upon which the breastplate was worn (described in Exodus 28:6-12). Under the ephod was the long robe of blue, called “the robe of the ephod,” which may be considered as the main garment, and which is described in Exodus 28:31-35. Upon his head the high priest wore a “mitre” or turban (described in Exodus 28:36-38); and inside his “robe” he wore a linen shirt or tunic, secured by a girdle (Exodus 28:39). Underneath the tunic he wore linen drawers (Exodus 28:42-43). Nothing is said as to any covering for his feet; but it is probable that they were protected by sandals.

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.

An ephod was a short upper garment, made without sleeves, which was girt about the body. And it was twofold; the one made of fine linen, which was common not only to all the priests, as 1 Samuel 2:18 22:18; but to some others also upon solemn and sacred occasions, as 2 Samuel 6:14: the other made of divers stuffs and colours, peculiar to the high priest; the parts whereof were not sewed, but tied together.

A robe; an upper garment like a surplice.

A broidered coat; an under coat curiously wrought with circular works like eyes, as the word notes, and richly adorned with gems and other things.

A mitre; a kind of bonnet or cap for the covering of the head, supposed to be something like a Turkish turban for the form of it. A

girdle, to enclose and fasten all the other garments, which were loose in themselves, that he might be more expeditious in his work.

And these are the garments which they shall make,.... Some for Aaron and some for his sons, some peculiar to the high priest, and others in common to him and other priests:

a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle; of each of which, with others, there is a more particular account in this chapter, and will be observed in their order:

and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons: as those before mentioned, with some others not mentioned; some for Aaron only, and others that were to be worn by his sons also:

that he may minister unto me in the priest's office; these were absolutely necessary to the execution of the priestly office, and an essential qualification for it, and without which it was not lawful to serve in it.

And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an {c} ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

(c) A short an straight coat without sleeves, put on top of his garments to keep them close to him.

4. The vestments to be made: a pouch (v. 15 ff.), an ephod (v. 6ff.), a robe (v. 31 ff.), a tunic (v. 39), a turban, and a sash (ib.).

Verse 4. - These are the garments. The enumeration does not follow the same order exactly as the description. The two agree, however, in giving the precedence to the same three articles of apparel out of the six - viz., the breast-plate, the ephod, and the robe. His sons - i.e., his successors in the office of high priest, The materials of the priestly garments. Exodus 28:4(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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