The Robe of the Ephod

Exodus 28:31‑32;Exodus 39:22‑23  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And 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."-Ex. 28:31,3231And 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. (Exodus 28:31‑32)
“And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend.” -Ex. 39 22, 23
This is the first occurrence of this word robe in the Bible. The Hebrew word is subsequently translated robe, 1 Sam. 26:44David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed. (1 Samuel 26:4) 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); Job 29:1414I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. (Job 29:14); Ezek. 26:1616Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at thee. (Ezekiel 26:16), in all which cases it specifies a garment worn by a king or prince. It is also translated mantle, 1 Sam. 15:2727And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. (1 Samuel 15:27); Ezra 9:3,53And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. (Ezra 9:3)
5And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, (Ezra 9:5)
; Job 1:2020Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, (Job 1:20), and 2:12; Psa. 109:2929Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle. (Psalm 109:29); and cloak, Isa. 59:1717For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. (Isaiah 59:17).
From all these uses of the word it may be inferred, that the robe of the ephod was a garment of special dignity; a robe of office; and which gave also a princely character to the high priest. No material is specified, but the color only, blue: and it was the work of a weaver.
It is remarkable, in Psa. 45, how the garments of the king are described as if made of sweet perfumes; as here the garment of the high priest is made only of color. In our version the word smell is in italics. " All thy garments of myrrh, aloes, and cassia," is the literal translation Thus color and sweet odor are the very materials of the priestly and kingly robes.
It was the work of a weaver; Bezaleel and Aholiab having been filled with wisdom of heart to execute this fabric. (Ex. 35:30, 3530And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; (Exodus 35:30)
35Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work. (Exodus 35:35)
.) This robe embodied the color of the heavens; it was all of blue. It seems to have typified the especial glory of the true High Priest, whose name is Prince of Peace; the Lord of Peace; and who wears His princely robes as King of Righteousness, and King of Peace, upon the ground of having made full, perfect, and eternal peace through the blood of His cross. God, known as love, is the God of peace: and He has brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. That title, " the Great Shepherd of the sheep," seems to sum up in one name the whole of the priesthood of Christ, as described in the Epistle to the Hebrews. He is the Great Shepherd; for He is King as well as Priest. He has royal power; a royal heart: royal glory; and His dominions are righteousness and peace; and He is the Shepherd, having proved His love and care for the sheep, in laying down His life for them; and all His priestly service on their behalf is conducted with the heart of a good Shepherd, who loves His own, and whose own the sheep are.
This is, therefore, a princely, priestly, shepherd robe. It displays the love of God as seen in the gift of His Son, and as manifested by the Son Himself, in laying down His life, and so making peace. It was a robe which covered the high priest from head to foot, and showed the great object of his priesthood, namely, to maintain, on the behalf of His own, that peace with God which He had procured at the cost of His own blood, and which the God of peace had settled and established, by raising Him from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant-a covenant, of which the main term is, " I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more:" a covenant which is ever new, and therefore cannot vanish away, but is everlasting; and of which the King of Righteousness and King of Peace is the Mediator.
This robe was all of one piece, woven from the top throughout: and a provision was made, by means of a binding of woven work round about the hole in the top of it, that it should not rend or be rent. And so strong was this band, that the hole is likened to the hole of an habergeon, or breastplate of armor. Is not this very significant of the unchanging love of Christ? and therefore of the firm and eternal peace obtained and maintained by Him for us; so that nothing can interfere to mar or disturb it. Strong, like a coat of mail, no power of evil can rend this princely robe. Christ Himself is our peace: and through His death God has made peace in His high places. And though our sins of ingratitude, failings, and wanderings here below are numberless, still unbroken peace is preserved above by our faithful High Priest.
This part of the high priest's dress is called " the robe or the ephod." We may consider the ephod as representing the names " Wonderful, Counselor:" for, it was curiously wrought; and it was the garment whereby God's counsel was ascertained and made known. So this robe marked out its wearer to be the " Prince of peace:" and the Lord Jesus as the Counselor, is especially Prince of Peace, because all the counsels and purposes of God have, as their object, perfect reconciliation and peace. He is "the God of peace, who shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly," by the power of Him whom He raised from the dead, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, to be the Great Shepherd of the sheep. And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, the counsel of the Father is, by Him to reconcile. all things unto Himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven, (Col. 1:2020And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:20).)
The Lord Jesus is a throned Priest, wearing robes of priesthood and royalty combined. He bears the glory; " He shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both," (Zech. 6:1313Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:13):) that is, the counsel of peace between the King and the Priest; so that He wields the kingly scepter of rule and judgment, with a priestly heart and purpose of mercy and peace. And this will be manifested in the future reign of the Prince of Peace, as it is already revealed to believers. There is a comforting and beautiful benediction (2 Thess. iii. 16.) " Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always, by all means. The Lord be with you all." The Lord of peace Himself-He who alone, as true King of Salem, King of peace, has the power of giving peace-has the rule of peace-Himself, that blessed word, which tells us of all the perfection and glory of His person-give you peace always, at all times, on all occasions, in all circumstances, in all scenes; by all means; making the very attacks of the enemy end in peace; making the very temptations, weaknesses, and worthlessness of the flesh tend to establish peace in the heart; making sorrows and trials which seem to be most adverse, yet to result in most perfect peace. Surely this is His princely power. This tells us how He is invested by the God of love and peace with all glory and strength, so as to confirm and fill our hearts with peace unto the end.
The first priestly word spoken by the Lord to His assembled disciples after His resurrection was, " Peace be with you." And his own peace, (" my peace,") He has given and left with us. And what must that peace be? The assurance of being that delight and joy of God; the perfect confidence that God is well pleased in all He has wrought; and the power to look forward to all the attacks of Satan, and yet to see them all ending in His own glory, and in the subjugation of all things to God. Such must be the peace which the Lord has, and which He has bestowed. Do we realize it? Do we believe that God delights in us as His children? Once enemies; now reconciled to Him by the death of Christ, and to be presented to Him holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight.
Have we such firm rest in the Lord, and in all that He has done, that we have joy and peace in believing, and are assured that God rests in us, because He rests in Christ? And can we look at Satan's power, and the world's opposition; can we contemplate even our own failure, and that of the Church of God all round us and yet with peace of soul, look forward to the final closing scene, when the Lord Himself shall come, and all things shall be found to have worked together for good, and to have accomplished the purposes of God?