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.

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