Aaron and his sons are set apart for the priest's office, 1. Holy garments are appointed, 2-5. The ephod and girdle, 6-14. The breast-plate with twelve precious stones, 15-29. The Urim and Thummim, 30. The robe of the ephod with pomegranates and bells, 31-35. The plate of the miter, 36-38. The embroidered coat, 39. The garments for Aaron's sons, 40-43.
1 "And bring to you Aaron your brother and his sons with him from among the children of Israel so that he may minister to me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. 2 And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 3 And you shall speak to all who are wise in heart, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, so that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him so that he may minister to me in the priest's office. 4 And these are the garments which they shall make: a breast-plate, an ephod, a robe, an embroidered coat, a miter, and a girdle. And they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons so that he may minister to me in the priest's office. 5 And they shall take gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen.
6 "And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with skillful work. 7 It shall have the two shoulder-pieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof, and thus it shall be joined together. 8 And the skillfully woven girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to its work, even of gold, of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9 And you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the children of Israel: 10 Six of their names on one stone and the six names of the rest on the other stone according to their birth. 11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel. You shall make them to be set in settings of gold. 12 And you shall put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial to the children of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. 13 And you shall make settings of gold, 14 And two chains of pure gold at the ends. Of wreathed work you shall make them, and fasten the wreathed chains to the settings.
15 "And you shall make the breast-plate of judgment with skillful work. After the work of the ephod you shall make it. Of gold, of blue, of purple, of scarlet, and of fine twined linen you shall make it. 16 It shall be square, being doubled. A span shall be its length and a span shall be its breadth. 17 And you shall set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones. The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle, this shall be the first row. 18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 19 And the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst. 20 And the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold in their enclosings. 21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each with his name they shall be according to the twelve tribes. 22 And you shall make upon the breast-plate chains at the ends of wreathed work of pure gold. 23 And you shall make upon the breast-plate two rings of gold and shall put the two rings on the two ends of the breast-plate. 24 And you shall put the two wreathed chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breast-plate. 25 And the other two ends of the two wreathed chains you shall fasten in the two settings and put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod before it. 26 And you shall make two rings of gold, and you shall put them upon the two ends of the breast-plate in its border, which is in the side of the ephod inward. 27 And two other rings of gold you shall make and shall put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward its forepart, over against the other coupling thereof, above the skillfully woven girdle of the ephod. 28 And they shall bind the breast-plate by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue so that it may be above the skillfully woven girdle of the ephod and that the breast-plate does not come loose from the ephod. 29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breast-plate of judgment upon his heart when he enters into the holy place for a memorial before the LORD continually. 30 And you shall put in the breast-plate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be upon Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD. And Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.
31 "And you shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 And there shall be a hole in its top in the midst of it. It shall have a binding of woven work around its hole, as the hole of a habergeon, so that it is not rent. 33 And beneath, upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, of purple, and of scarlet around its hem and bells of gold between them around it: 34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe around it. 35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister. And his sound shall be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out so that he may not die.
36 "And you shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, 'HOLINESS TO THE LORD.' 37 And you shall put it on a blue lace so that it may be upon the miter. Upon the front of the miter it shall be. 38 And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead so that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts. And it shall always be upon his forehead so that they may be accepted before the LORD.
39 "And you shall embroider the coat of fine linen, you shall make the miter of fine linen, and you shall make the girdle of needle-work.
40 "And for Aaron's sons you shall make coats, and you shall make for them girdles and you shall make for them caps for glory and for beauty. 41 And you shall put them upon Aaron your brother and on his sons with him and shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them so that they may minister to me in the priest's office. 42 And you shall make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness. From the loins even to the thighs they shall reach. 43 And they shall be upon Aaron and upon his sons when they enter into the Tabernacle of the Congregation or when they come near to the altar to minister in the holy place so that they do not bear iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and to his seed after him."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 28[➚]
[v.1] - "the priest's office" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Before this time every master of a family was a priest, and might and did offer sacrifice, and all the Israelites were a kingdom of priests; and Moses, as Aben Ezra calls him, was 'a priest of priests'; but now it being enough for him to be the political ruler of the people, and the prophet of the Lord, the priestly office is bestowed on Aaron and his sons; nor might any afterward officiate in it but such as were of his family; and a great honor this was that was conferred on him, and to which he was called of God, as in (Hebrews 5:4), and it is greatly in the favor of Moses, and which shows him to be an upright and undesigning man, that sought not to aggrandize himself and his family; that though he had so much honor and power himself, he sought not to entail any upon his posterity. It is hinted in the latter part of the preceding chapter, that Aaron and his sons should minister in the sanctuary, and look after the candlestick, and its lamps; and here the design of God concerning them is more fully opened, which was, that they should be his peculiar ministers and servants in his house, to do all the business appertaining to it."
[v.2a] - "holy garments" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Called so, because in these he was to minister in the holy place, and perform holy service; and because typical of the holy human nature of Christ our great High Priest, and of his spotless righteousness, and of the garments of sanctification, both outward and inward, that all believers in him, who are made priests to God, are arrayed with [them]."
[v.2b] - "for glory and for beauty" - From John Gill's Exposition: "That is, with glorious and beautiful ones, and which would make his priests look so: and this was done, partly to point out the dignity of their office to themselves, that they might take care to behave suitable to it, and keep up the honor and credit of it; and partly to make them respectable to men, and be honored by them, none being clothed as they were, as Aben Ezra observes; but chiefly because they were typical of the glory and beauty of Christ's human nature, which was as a garment put on, and put off, and on again, and in which he officiated as a priest, and still does; and which is now very glorious, and in which he is fairer than any of the children of men; and of the garments of salvation, and robe of righteousness, in which all his people, his priests, appear exceeding glorious and beautiful, even in a perfection of beauty."
[v.4] - Reference, Psalm 132:9-16; Isaiah 61:10.
[v.5-8] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "In the priests putting off their own clothes and putting on these robes of splendor, was it not meant to show how the Lord Jesus laid aside his glory, when he clothed himself in our nature; and when he who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him? 2nd Corinthians 5:21. And was it not meant to show also, how sinners by the Holy Spirit are stripped of that clothing which is theirs by nature, and are clothed in the garments of grace. Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 3:3-4; Ephesians 4:22-24."
[v.9-11] - Reference, Song of Solomon 8:6; Ephesians 1:13, 4:30; 2nd Timothy 2:19.
[v.12] - Reference, Isaiah 9:6.
[v.15-20] - Reference, Malachi 3:17; Revelation 21:19-21.
[v.21] - Reference, Isaiah 49:16.
[v.29] - From John Gill's Exposition: "Their names being engraven on the stones, and the stones put into the breastplate of judgment, and this breastplate hanging down upon the breast and heart of Aaron, he was a representative of the twelve tribes of Israel, as Christ his antitype is the representative of the whole Israel of God; and who lie near the heart of Christ, are set as a seal upon it, are engraved on the palms of his hands, and carried in his bosom, and whom he always presents to his divine Father, and are accepted in him: he represented them in eternity, and in time; in his sufferings and death, in his burial and resurrection from the dead, when they were crucified, buried, and raised with him; and he represents them now in heaven, where they sit together in heavenly places in him."
[v.30] - "the Urim and the Thummim" - LXX: "the Manifestation and the Truth." From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Concerning this Urim and Thummim, which mean lights and perfections, no one alive can give any certain account. All that is said of them in scriptures leads to this conclusion, that when the high priest wore them, it was by way of testifying, that the people through him waited for the Lord's directions... But was not the whole a symbolic reference to the person and offices of the Lord Jesus? Are not all revelations made in and by him? Is he not the gracious medium by whom prayers go up, and answers come down to all his people?"
[v.31] - "the robe" - From John Gill's Exposition: "This was a different garment from the ephod, was longer than that, and was under it, and of different materials... in Exodus 39:22, it is said to be of woven work; it was woven from top to bottom, and had no seam in it... and such was the seamless coat our Lord Jesus Christ wore, literally understood (John 19:23), and both were an emblem of his perfect righteousness, which has nothing of the works of men joined to it, to justify them before God, and make them acceptable to him: for this robe signifies the robe of Christ's righteousness, the best robe; it has its name from a word which signifies prevarication of sin, because it covers the sins of God's people; the matter of it was linen, and so fitly points at the fine linen, that is the righteousness of the saints, and being blue or sky coloured may denote heaven and happiness, which that entitles to (see Matthew 5:20), the Septuagint version calls it a garment down to the feet, using the same word as in Revelation 1:13 and fitly agrees with that righteousness with which all Christ's members are covered and justified (Isaiah 45:24-25; Romans 3:22-23)."
[v.36] - From John Gill's Exposition: "In this the high priest was a type of Christ, who is holy in himself, in his person, in both his natures, divine and human, in his offices of prophet, priest, and King; and he is holiness itself, the most holy, essentially, infinitely, and perfectly so, as angels and men are not, and the source and spring of holiness to others: and he is holiness to the Lord for his people; he is so representatively; as their covenant head he has all grace in his hands for them, and they have it in him; this is sanctification in Christ, and is by virtue of union to him, and is complete and perfect, and the cause of holiness in his people; and he is so by imputation. The holiness of his human nature was not a mere qualification for his office, or only exemplary to us, but is with his obedience and sufferings imputed to us for justification. Moreover, Christ has by his blood sanctified his people, or made atonement for them, and procured the cleansing of them from their sins, or the expiation of them; and he is also the efficient cause of their internal holiness by his Spirit, without which there is no seeing God (1st Corinthians 6:11)."
[v.42-43] - Reference, Revelation 16:15.