Ephod

Exodus 28:1-39; Exodus 28:40; 1 Samuel 21:9; Exodus 28:28; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65; Exodus 29:5; Exodus 35:9,27; Exodus 39:2-22; Leviticus 8:7; 1 Samuel 2:28; 1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 22:18; 1 Samuel 23:6,9; 1 Samuel 30:7; Hosea 3:4; 2 Samuel 6:14; 1 Chronicles 15:27; 1 Samuel 2:18; Judges 8:27; Judges 17:5; Judges 18:14-20
1. The ephod worn by the high priest. Minute instructions were given as to its construction. It was to be made of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. The gold was beaten into thin plates and then cut into wires, which were woven into the fabric. Its GIRDLE was also to be of the same materials with embroidered work. On the shoulders were fastened two stones, engraved with the names of the twelve tribes, six names on each stone; so that whenever Aaron wore the ephod the twelve tribes were represented. We read also of the ROBE OF THE EPHOD, which was all of blue, and along the bottom of which were pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, with bells of gold between them. The robe was doubtless much longer than the ephod, which is supposed not to have reached the knees, and which was worn over the robe, and the BREASTPLATE over the ephod. There was also a broidered coat of fine linen; this was worn under the robe. These with the miter constituted Aaron’s garments “for glory and for beauty” (Ex. 28:1-391And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. 2And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. 3And 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. 4And 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. 5And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. 6And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. 7It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together. 8And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: 10Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth. 11With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. 12And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial. 13And thou shalt make ouches of gold; 14And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches. 15And thou shalt make the breastplate of 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. 16Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. 17And thou shalt 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. 18And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 19And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 20And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. 21And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. 22And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold. 23And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. 24And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate. 25And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. 26And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. 27And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 28And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. 29And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. 30And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. 31And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. 33And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: 34A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. 35And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not. 36And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 37And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. 38And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, 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 be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. 39And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework. (Exodus 28:1‑39)). Apparently the ordinary priestly garments worn by Aaron’s sons are also said to be “for glory and for beauty” (Ex. 28:4040And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. (Exodus 28:40)).
In the various textures of the ephod there are typified divine righteousness, heavenliness, royalty, dignity, and the graces of the Spirit: the virtues that characterized the Lord Jesus. Inseparably attached to the ephod was the breastplate, in which were the Urim and Thummim; thus in wearing the ephod the judgment of the children of Israel was borne before the Lord, according to His lights and perfections. Though not worn on ordinary occasions, it was required when directions were sought from God (compare 1 Sam. 21:99And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me. (1 Samuel 21:9)). Thus receiving answers from God is also associated with the Urim and Thummim, which were placed in the breastplate (Ex. 28:2828And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. (Exodus 28:28): Compare Num. 27:2121And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. (Numbers 27:21); 1 Sam. 28:66And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. (1 Samuel 28:6); Ezra 2:6363And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim. (Ezra 2:63); Neh. 7:6565And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim. (Nehemiah 7:65)). The word “Ephod” is the same in the Hebrew, and is from “to bind round or gird,” so that its meaning does not seem to go beyond “a priestly garment” (Ex. 29:55And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: (Exodus 29:5); Ex. 35:9, 279And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate. (Exodus 35:9)
27And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; (Exodus 35:27)
; Ex. 39:2-222And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 3And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with cunning work. 4They made shoulderpieces for it, to couple it together: by the two edges was it coupled together. 5And the curious girdle of his ephod, that was upon it, was of the same, according to the work thereof; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; as the Lord commanded Moses. 6And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches of gold, graven, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel. 7And he put them on the shoulders of the ephod, that they should be stones for a memorial to the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses. 8And he made the breastplate of cunning work, like the work of the ephod; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9It was foursquare; they made the breastplate double: a span was the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof, being doubled. 10And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row. 11And the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 12And the third row, a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 13And the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper: they were inclosed in ouches of gold in their inclosings. 14And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, every one with his name, according to the twelve tribes. 15And they made upon the breastplate chains at the ends, of wreathen work of pure gold. 16And they made two ouches of gold, and two gold rings; and put the two rings in the two ends of the breastplate. 17And they put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings on the ends of the breastplate. 18And the two ends of the two wreathen chains they fastened in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod, before it. 19And they made two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, upon the border of it, which was on the side of the ephod inward. 20And they made two other golden rings, and put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart of it, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 21And they did bind the breastplate by his rings unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it might be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate might not be loosed from the ephod; as the Lord commanded Moses. 22And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue. (Exodus 39:2‑22); Lev. 8:77And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. (Leviticus 8:7); 1 Sam. 2:2828And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? (1 Samuel 2:28)).
2. Besides the above, which may be called the ephod, there were others which the priests wore, but which are not described (1 Sam. 14:33And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, I-chabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone. (1 Samuel 14:3); 1 Sam. 22:1818And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. (1 Samuel 22:18); 1 Sam. 23:6,96And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. (1 Samuel 23:6)
9And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. (1 Samuel 23:9)
; 1 Sam. 30:77And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. (1 Samuel 30:7); Hos. 3:44For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: (Hosea 3:4)). David, on the occasion of bringing up the ark, wore a linen ephod (2 Sam. 6:1414And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. (2 Samuel 6:14); 1 Chron. 15:2727And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. (1 Chronicles 15:27)). Samuel also, when only a child, wore a linen ephod (1 Sam. 2:1818But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. (1 Samuel 2:18)). In all the above passages the ephod bears the character of a priestly garment, though David was not of the tribe of Aaron. Type of the kingly Priest of the order of Melchisedec.
3. A strange deviation from the above was the ephod which Gideon made of the gold, the ornaments, and the purple raiment taken from the Midianites, after which all Israel went astray, and which became a snare to Gideon and his house (Judg. 8:2727And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house. (Judges 8:27)). Still worse was the case of Micah who, having a house of gods, made an ephod, and consecrated one of his sons to be priest. A Levite coming to the house fell in with the whole arrangement, and pretended to inquire of God by the ephod. When the gods were stolen by the children of Dan, the Levite was glad to accompany the idols and the ephod, and to be a priest to this tribe. Thus was the priestly garment that should have been restricted to the service of Jehovah associated with idolatry (Judg. 17:55And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. (Judges 17:5); Judg. 18:14-2014Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. 15And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him. 16And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate. 17And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war. 18And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye? 19And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? 20And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. (Judges 18:14‑20)).