Thursday, May 31, 2012

High Priest Garments - The Ephod (Vestment) - Part 2

Verses of Exodus 28:9-12 provide us with the description of the special two stones that were to be mounted in the mountings of the Ephod (Vestment) that I have discussed in my previous post. Let's take a look at these verses first:

Exodus 28:9-12

9 ‏וְלָ֣קַחְתָּ֔ אֶת־שְׁתֵּ֖י אַבְנֵי־שֹׁ֑הַם וּפִתַּחְתָּ֣ עֲלֵיהֶ֔ם שְׁמ֖וֹת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

‎10 ‏שִׁשָּׁה֙ מִשְּׁמֹתָ֔ם עַ֖ל הָאֶ֣בֶן הָאֶחָ֑ת וְאֶת־שְׁמ֞וֹת הַשִּׁשָּׁ֧ה הַנּוֹתָרִ֛ים עַל־הָאֶ֥בֶן הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית כְּתוֹלְדֹתָֽם׃

‎11 ‏מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה חָרַשׁ֮ אֶבֶן֒ פִּתּוּחֵ֣י חֹתָ֗ם תְּפַתַּח֙ אֶת־שְׁתֵּ֣י הָאֲבָנִ֔ים עַל־שְׁמֹ֖ת בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל מֻסַבֹּ֛ת מִשְׁבְּצ֥וֹת זָהָ֖ב תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתָֽם׃

‎12 ‏וְשַׂמְתָּ֞ אֶת־שְׁתֵּ֣י הָאֲבָנִ֗ים עַ֚ל כִּתְפֹ֣ת הָֽאֵפֹ֔ד אַבְנֵ֥י זִכָּרֹ֖ן לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְנָשָׂא֩ אַהֲרֹ֨ן אֶת־שְׁמוֹתָ֜ם לִפְנֵ֧י יְהוָ֛ה עַל־שְׁתֵּ֥י כְתֵפָ֖יו לְזִכָּרֹֽן׃
9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
10 Six of their names on one stone, and the other 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, 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.
12 And 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.
If you remember, the stones were to be setup in special golden mountings that were interwoven into the Ephod. Here is a separate rendering of these two golden mountings:

Please note special handles on each of these mountings as this is a very important part of the design that will be important to the other parts of the Ephod which I will discuss in my next posts. 

Now, Exodus 28:9 tells us that the stones to be mounted were the Onyx stones. Unfortunately this is an arbitrary translation of the word שהם, as its literal translation means "flock" or "flocklings". See my NIP for more details.  However, since there is no research available on the subject as usual, so I will just go ahead with this traditional translation and will assume for now that these were the green onyx stones. Like so:

Exodus 28:10 is where the description gets interesting. According to this verse, on these stones there were to be engraved the names of the Children of Israel according to their birth. At the first glance this order does not seem to pose any problems as the book of Genesis seem to provide us with all the information we may need (see Genesis 29:31-30:24, Genesis 35:16-18 and Genesis 41:50-52). However, a closer look reveals a little hidden problem. To make this problem clear, the table below provides a comparative look at the original order of births listed in the book of Genesis and the correct order of what was actually written on the aforementioned stones:

# Name Mother Father # Name Stone

1 Reuben
1 Reuben (ראובן) Right 

2 Simeon
2 Simeon (שמעון) Right 

3 Levi

4 Judah
3 Judah

5 Dan
4 Dan

6 Naphtali
5 Naphtali (נפתלי) Right 

7 Gad
6 Gad

8 Asher
7 Asher

9 Issachar
8 Issachar (יששכר) Left

10 Zebulun
9 Zebulun (זבלון) Left


11 Joseph (he-shall-add) Rachel

12 Benjamin
10 Benjamin (בנימין) Left

13 Manasseh
11 Manasseh (מנשה) Left

14 Ephraim (fruitfulnesses) Asenath
Joseph (he-shall-add) 12 Ephraim (אפרים) Left

As you can see from the above table, the original order of births given in the book of Genesis lists 12 sons, 1 daughter and 2 grandchildren, to the total count of 15. However, the description of the stones assumes only 12 spaces for the names, 6 on each stone. So how do we fit 15 names into 12 slots on the stones?

Obviously, we can immediately exclude the daughter Dinah (justice), as the description states that only the sons (males) of Israel to be included. This leaves us with 14 names to be fitted into 12 slots on the stones.

Now, one can assume that the grandchildren born to Joseph (he-shall-add) in Egypt (suffering) can also be excluded as they were not technically the sons of Israel (Jacob) but rather his grandchildren (sons of Joseph). This theory would allow to end up with 12 names for 12 slots on the stones. 

However, if we were to exclude Manasseh and Ephraim, we would still have a problem as further in the text we can find that there were no such thing as the tribe of Joseph, and the tribe of Levi was explicitly excluded from the rest of the tribes.

Therefore, the only solution to this problem is to exclude two names from the stones - namely Levi and Joseph. This would leave us with the 12 names for 12 slots on the stones in the order as follows:

  1. Right Stone: Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Dan Naphtali, Gad
  2. Left Stone: Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim
Exodus 28:11 also mentions that the names stones were to be engraved (or cut into the stones), thus meaning that the text would have somewhat whitish appearance and would be clearly visible. And of'course this verse repeats that the stones were to be set into aforementioned golden mountings (or fillings).

Like so:

Another minor problem is with the positioning of the stones on the priest shoulders. At this point I think that the stones were positioned right stone to the right shoulder and left stone to the left shoulder of the priest. This is because the priest could see these stones both on his shoulders and in the reflection of the walls of the Tabernacle. Also, the text gives preference to the right side so the first 6 names (the firstborn) would have to be on the right side of the priest since this would be most logical and rational solution. 

However, anyone who would see the priest head on would see the reverse positioning of the stones - right stone would appear to be on the priest's left and the left stone would appear to be on the priest's right. As usual, more thorough research is needed to definitively answer this question and solve this problem.

For now I would go with the right-to-right and left-to-left positioning of the stones on the priest's shoulders and, consequently, on the Ephod. Like so:

And like so:

And thus here is the final rendering of the priest (Aaron) in the Ephod (Vestment) with both engraved "onyx" stones on his shoulders, as description of Exodus 28:9-12 states.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

High Priest Garments - The Ephod (Vestment) - Part 1

Let's take a look at the first priestly garment of the description in Exodus 28, namely - the so called "ephod", which is literally translated as "the vestment" or even more literally  - some kind of "ransoming" garment (in a way as the Lid of the Ark of the Covenant was called - the shelters). Perhaps the proper way to translate the word Ephod (האפד) would be as "ransomer", as in the garment that is used for ransoming whatever the Priest is trying to atone for.

Exodus 28:6-8 (see my NIP for more details)

‎6 ‏וְעָשׂ֖וּ אֶת־הָאֵפֹ֑ד זָ֠הָב תְּכֵ֨לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֜ן תּוֹלַ֧עַת שָׁנִ֛י וְשֵׁ֥שׁ מָשְׁזָ֖ר מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵֽׁב׃

‎8 ‏וְחֵ֤שֶׁב אֲפֻדָּתוֹ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָלָ֔יו כְּמַעֲשֵׂ֖הוּ מִמֶּ֣נּוּ יִהְיֶ֑ה זָהָ֗ב תְּכֵ֧לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֛ן וְתוֹלַ֥עַת שָׁנִ֖י וְשֵׁ֥שׁ מָשְׁזָֽר׃ 

‎7 ‏שְׁתֵּ֧י כְתֵפֹ֣ת חֹֽבְרֹ֗ת יִֽהְיֶה־לּ֛וֹ אֶל־שְׁנֵ֥י קְצוֹתָ֖יו וְחֻבָּֽר׃
6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. 
7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together. 
8 And 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. 
Let's begin with semi-naked model of an arbitrary Aaron:

Please note that this model above was created to match an average anthropomorphic characteristics of a normal male. I used this article as an arbitrary data source and I used an arbitrary value of a cubit as 45cm. Of'course the actual Aaron could have been taller, shorter, fatter, e.t.c, but for all purposes in this rendering I will be using this particular model.

So, as the description states the first garment - the Ephod (or ransoming vestment) was made out of blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen. The vestment was to be of cunning work. At this point, the description does not state what shape or type of garment it was, so for now let's assume it was in a form of a full body robe. Like so:

Before I proceed further, I just wanted to cover one little detail that is omitted in the text - namely the foot wear. It is pretty obvious that all priest wore some kind, as the desert environment is not the best place to walk barefoot, so for the logical and artistic purposes I've added these nice little leather shoes to our model:

And here is a close-up view of the resulting vestment. One detail I would like to direct your attention to. Even though the description of Exodus 28:6 and 28:8 states that Ephod included one extra material - gold - in the making of this vestment, the verses of Exodus 28 do not provide much details on how it was used. However, in Exodus 39:3, we are provided with the detailed explanation that it were flat golden wires that were interwoven into the garment. This is a rare and important detail that one need to cherish, as the text is usually very reserved when it comes to providing such minuscule yet important details of the parts of the Tabernacle. 

Now, the verse of Exodus 28:7 speaks of two shoulder-pieces that were interwoven into this garment on both of its shoulders, on both of its sides. Like so: 

These shoulder-pieces, or rather - mountings, were basically a special sockets for the special stones (which I will cover in my next posts) that were also to be on the garments. In other words, these were a sort of golden mountings (or fillings) for the stones that helped to adorn the garment. Please also notice a small handle on the front facing side of each of these mountings. It served as a mounting point for the Breastplate of Judgement that I will also cover in my next posts.

Thus, here is the full resulting rendering of all description provided in the verses of Exodus 28:6-8:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The High Priest Garments (Exodus 28 and Exodus 39)

I've decided to go ahead with the presentation of my High Priest Garments models, so let's start with the chapter 28 of the book of Exodus, namely Exodus 28:1-4

1 ‏וְאַתָּ֡ה הַקְרֵ֣ב אֵלֶיךָ֩ אֶת־אַהֲרֹ֨ן אָחִ֜יךָ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו אִתּ֔וֹ מִתּ֛וֹךְ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִ֑י אַהֲרֹ֕ן נָדָ֧ב וַאֲבִיה֛וּא אֶלְעָזָ֥ר וְאִיתָמָ֖ר בְּנֵ֥י אַהֲרֹֽן׃

‎2 ‏וְעָשִׂ֥יתָ בִגְדֵי־קֹ֖דֶשׁ לְאַהֲרֹ֣ן אָחִ֑יךָ לְכָב֖וֹד וּלְתִפְאָֽרֶת׃

‎3 ‏וְאַתָּ֗ה תְּדַבֵּר֙ אֶל־כָּל־חַכְמֵי־לֵ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִלֵּאתִ֖יו ר֣וּחַ חָכְמָ֑ה וְעָשׂ֞וּ אֶת־בִּגְדֵ֧י אַהֲרֹ֛ן לְקַדְּשׁ֖וֹ לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִֽי׃

‎4 ‏וְאֵ֨לֶּה הַבְּגָדִ֜ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר יַעֲשׂ֗וּ חֹ֤שֶׁן וְאֵפוֹד֙ וּמְעִ֔יל וּכְתֹ֥נֶת תַּשְׁבֵּ֖ץ מִצְנֶ֣פֶת וְאַבְנֵ֑ט וְעָשׂ֨וּ בִגְדֵי־קֹ֜דֶשׁ לְאַהֲרֹ֥ן אָחִ֛יךָ וּלְבָנָ֖יו לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִֽי׃  

1 And 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.

2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.

3 And 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.

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.

First of all, Exodus 28 speaks of 4 sons of Aaron (the Another) - Nadab (liberal), Abihu (father of him), Elazar(strength of help) and Ithamar (island erected) because the narrative takes place before the sin of Korah (frost). Thus Nadab and Abihu are also mentioned, even though their priesthood in the Tabernacle was only brief before their death.

Secondly, just like with the Tabernacle, the description provides us with the reason why the the special garments were necessary (Exodus 28:2) - namely for glory and for beauty. This was because the Aaron in his priesthood represented the living messenger of God.

Just like the Tabernacle, creation of these special garments required collaboration of all able Children of Israel (Exodus 28:3), as the garments were extremely complex in design due to their role as a consecration item of the holy priesthood.

Now, let's take a look at Exodus 28:4, Exodus 28:40, Exodus 28:42, and see what garments were to be made for whom:

  1. Breastplate (חשן)
  2. Vestment (aka Ephod) (אפוד)
  3. Robe (מעיל)
  4. Tunic (one) (כתנת)
  5. Turban (one) (צנפת)
  6. Belt (אבנט)
  7. Underpants (מכנסי)

Aaron's sons (for each one):
  1. Tunic (one) (כתנת)
  2. Belt (one) (אבנטים)
  3. Cap (one; instead of Turban) (מגבעות)
  4. Underpants (מכנסי)

So, as you can see, Aaron was dressed in far more luscious garments compared to his sons, as the Pentateuch assumes only one person who were to have the ultimate authority as the High Priest.

In my next post, we will begin by exploring the first garment specified by the description - the Vestment (aka Ephod) and what it might have looked liked.

One thing I would like to say though: I'm not a tailor nor I have any experience in the textile industry so all of my Priestly Garments models will be, at best, a good guess based on the research that I have completed. Just like with the Tabernacle there seems to be an extreme lack of research and research articles on the subject that are written by professionals in the respective fields (and thus unbiased and untouched by either traditional, religious or academic line of thought). Therefore, if you happen to work with clothes and at the same time study Pentateuch the same way I do, I could really appreciate your input on this and the following posts.

A Personal Touch

For the past three years I've been posting pretty much anonymously, but I think it is time now to give my blog a little personal touch by putting face to the blog (so to speak) and by briefly introducing myself. 

Please visit About Me page if you would like to meet the person behind the scenes of this blog.

Thank you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Few Artistic Renderings of the Priestly Garments

I just wanted to add several pictures from the Sickle of Truth website that I have mentioned in my previous posts. These images, even though not 100% accurate and Christian in nature, still provide by far the best artistic rendering of the Priestly Garments that are available on the Internet.

In particular, the most interesting are these two diagrams:
And this digram is of the folding and mounting  of the Breastplate of Judgement. In my opinion it is not correct but it does provide a good example of one of many possible interpretations of the text.
I highly recommend to visit this website for more images, but keep in mind that it is a Christian website and therefore it follows somewhat biased interpretation of the text.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What was the purpose of the 50 loops and clasps (taches) in Exodus 26

This is rather interesting question and the answer to it is twofold. 

The main purpose of the 50 loops and 50 clasps for each of the two main coverings of the Tabernacle was to join both pieces of each of the coverings together. I know, this is obvious, but this is as close to the precise answer that I can get.

On the other hand, there is more to this question than meets the eye. Let's take a look:

As you can see from the image above there were two kinds of clasps - the Golden ones and the Copper ones. The Golden Clasps connected two halves of the First Covering of the Tabernacle - the Sword (cherub) woven covering.  Like so:

And the Copper Clasps were connecting the two halves of the Second Covering (goat's hair) covering of the  Tabernacle. Like so:

I've already discussed all details of these connections in my previous posts, so now I will concentrate on the correlations that can be drawn from the number of these clasps and loops.

First and foremost, it is very important to remember that the text always assumes some kind of connection between each part of the Tabernacle. In this case it means that the answer to the number of Golden claps and loops of the First Covering lies somewhere inside the Tabernacle as the gold is only used there, whereas the answer of the number of Copper clasps and loops of the Second covering lies somewhere outside of the Tabernacle as the copper is only used there.

There were total of 100 clasps (50+50), thus making total number of loops 200 (50+50+50+50). Or 50 clasps and 100 loops respectively for each of the coverings.

The total (100 clasps and 200 loops) does not seem to yield any connection. But individual number of loops and claps of each covering seem to be connected. 

For example, there were total of 50 gold-plated boards that comprised the Tabernacle frame: 20 on the north+20 on the south+6 on the west + 2*2 corner boards. This may very well correspond to these 50 golden clasps.

Same goes for the copper clasps of the Second Covering. Perhaps they are connected with the Courtyard of the Tabernacle. I.e there were 20 sheets on the north side of the Courtyard, 20 on the south and 10 on the west. If we do not count the Gate(eastern side) of the Courtyard, we will arrive at the number 50.

Unfortunately, this is all can see in these numbers for now (as far as Tabernacle goes)

Besides the Tabernacle, the number 50 is mentioned:

  1. In the story of Abraham and God discussing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:24). 
  2. 50 was the number of days of the counting of omer (Leviticus 23:15-16) 
  3. 50 was the number of the Sabbatical cycle of years. This is perhaps a significant astronomical event.(Leviticus 25:10-11). 
  4. 50 (shekels) was the value of the homer of barley (Leviticus 27:16)
  5. 50 (years) was the limit for the Levites in the service of the Tabernacle (Numbers 8:25). 
  6. 50 (shekels) was a fine for the rape of the virgin (Deuteronomy 22:29)
So as you can see, the number of clasps and loops can be connected to any of the above mentioned things. This is why more research is needed to definitively answer this question.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Status Update

I very sorry that I have not posted anything as I promised. I've had death in the family and this really disrupted my work on the blog. At this time I don't know when I will be able to present my Priestly Garments models and updates my my Tabernacle Explorer 3D software.

I sincerely appologize to those who wanted to see these materials and I hope that you will still continue follow my blog. I will still post new posts, but they will be related to the topics already covered. I hope you can understand.

Also, I would like to ask for your help in supporting this blog. I've created small Donation button on the right that you can use to contribute small ammount of money if you feel that this blog was of any interest to you.

Thank you very much.

Popular Posts

Blog Archive