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:

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