Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The "Urim" And The "Thummim"

Last, but very important detail of the High Priest Garments that I have not covered so far is the so-called the "Urim" and the "Thummim". This is one of the most complex and enigmatic verses of the description, and it is directly related to the terminology used to describe the Corner Boards of the Tent of the Tabernacle.

Let's take a look (Exodus 28:30):


‎30 ‏וְנָתַתָּ֞ אֶל־חֹ֣שֶׁן הַמִּשְׁפָּ֗ט אֶת־הָאוּרִים֙ וְאֶת־הַתֻּמִּ֔ים וְהָיוּ֙ עַל־לֵ֣ב אַהֲרֹ֔ן בְּבֹא֖וֹ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וְנָשָׂ֣א אַ֠הֲרֹן אֶת־מִשְׁפַּ֨ט בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל עַל־לִבּ֛וֹ לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה תָּמִֽיד׃ ס 
30 And 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.
You can always start with the Wikipedia article here. And see my NIP here. Then, you might want to check out the rest of the verses that speak about Urim and Thummim, namely Leviticus 8:8, Numbers 27:21, Deuteronomy 33:8.

Now, the first clue we can get from the verse of Exodus 26:24 (description of the corner boards). There is "תמים"(Thumim) instead of "התמים" (the Thumim). The word "Thumim" thus can be translated as perfect, flawless, twinned, coupled, perfect, complete, e.t.c. Still unclear, but at least we defined one word out of two.

The "Urim" however, is a more difficult matter, because it can mean both "the lights" and also figuratively "exaltion". I think the clue may lie in the verse of Ezra 2:63 or Nehemiah 7:65, where it implies that "Urim" and "Thummim" were, perhaps, a figurative attributes of the High Priest, namely "exaltation" and "perfection".

So, at this time, I would like to propose the following translation of the above verse of Exodus 28:30
"And you give to the breastplate of judgment the Exaltion and the Perfection; and they are 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."
What do you think? 


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