Monday, June 25, 2012

The Practical Importance of The Tabernacle

One other point that I did not make in my articles on the "Importance of the Tabernacle" is the practical importance of the Tabernacle. 

For example, if you are an engineer or mathematician (such as myself) you would be very interested in the layout of the Tabernacle and in its structure. All cubits, measurements and positioning of the artifacts would be your thing as it is something that engineers and mathematicians study and do.

If you are a plumber, you would be interested in, say, copper artifacts of the Tabernacle. As, for example, the copper is used in modern plumbing systems to prevent bacterial infection.

If you are a tailor, the Priestly Garments would be your thing as in order to properly understand the description you have to have an experience in this field.

If you are carpenter, all wooden parts of the Tabernacle would be of interest to you as to properly understand the description you have to have experience and understanding of woodworking.

If you are a soldier, in the army, you would be interested in the Sin of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10), as that would teach you that it is not permissible to drink while on duty.

Either way, no matter who you are and what you do for a living, the Tabernacle offers you something from your field of expertise that you yourself can be an expert at. And this is the best and the easiest way to get in touch with the divine.

What I'm currently working on

I'm sorry that I have not been posting lately, but I'm busy on preparing the following materials:

1) A Review on the Tabernacle. I wanted to create new hi-res renderings of the Tabernacle with all of the changes and insights that I've discussed during the last year and a half. This includes remodeled Ark of the Covenant (the Cherubim - swords), the Coverings of the Tabernacle, the Altar of Burnt Offering and other minor little things. Also, I wanted to create a few images that show my Priestly Garments models together with the Tabernacle, particularly the images that show the Priests inside the Tabernacle Tent, as I think this is really important and very inspiring. 

Unfortunately, there one problem that prevents me from accomplishing that, namely:

2) The Tabernacle Layout.  I'm trying to rework the layout of the Tabernacle to put all of its elements together so that I can have an exact and complete picture of the structure. In fact, if anyone who reads this blog can help I would really appreciate it.

For example, let's take my latest layout:

As you can see from this layout, the Western Wall of the Tabernacle is located 25 cubits from the curtains of the Courtyard, just like the Southern and Northern walls. However, this would mean that the First Covering of the Tabernacle would be covering western part of the framework of the Tent completely (10 cubits) in order to allow the Inner Pillars of the Tent to be located at 10 cubits from the western wall. However, the First Covering of the Tent was covering only 9 cubits of the Northern and Southern walls of the Tent, so most likely it had to be covering only 9 cubits of the Western wall as well (due to symmetry), which in turn would mean that the Inner Pillars would be located 11 cubits from the western wall, destroying 10x10x10 arrangement of the Holy of Holies room. 

This problem needs to be resolved, in order to create complete and precise layout of the Tabernacle. And, like I said above, this is what I'm trying to figure out right now.

And once again, if you would like to help to solve this majestic riddle, I would be more than happy to hear your thoughts and solutions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review of the Altar of Burnt Offering - The Grate and The Ramp

In this post I would like to review the Altar of Burnt Offering (Mizbeach). Particularly I would like to review the Copper Grate of the Altar and the issue of the Ramp of the Altar.

Let's begin with the Ramp. Well, there was no Ramp. My research indicated with an absolute certainty that there was no such thing existing in the Tabernacle. The Ramp of the Altar of Burnt offering in the Tabernacle comes from the Jewish tradition of the late Second Temple period, which is foreign to the Hebrew tradition and has nothing to do with the actual Hebrew Tabernacle that I'm discussing in this blog. Therefore, this image of the Altar is ultimately incorrect:

Now, since there was no Ramp, it also means that the total height of the Altar of Burnt Offering (Grate+Altar) was not 5 cubits, but rather 3 cubits, just like the description of Exodus 27:1 says. This, in turn would make total height of the Grate of the Altar - 1.5 cubits as Exodus 27:5 tells us that the Grate was only reaching half way up the Altar. Therefore, the proper Grate of the Altar of Burnt Offering looked like so:

As you can see from the image above, the Grate is now 1.5 cubits in height, with the Rings for the Staves attached right by the top of the Grate at each of the 4 corners. Please see my previous posts on the Altar for comparison. But the shape of the Grate remained pretty much the same.

Now, if we will place the Altar on this new Grate, you should be able to notice right away how proper the setup looks. Namely the total height of the Altar (now being 3 cubits) corresponds well with an average human height and allows very convenient access to the Altar - right at the chest level, just like this image below shows:

And because of the fact that the Copper Rings of the Grate (Exodus 27:4) now properly located at the edges of the Grate, once the Altar is being transported the weight of the Altar is being distributed evenly and symmetrically. Right through the horizontal center plane of the Altar. Like so:

To sum up: 
  1. There was no Ramp of any kind leading to the Altar of Burnt Offering of the Tabernacle
  2. The Copper Grate was 1.5 cubits tall, with the Copper Rings attached at the top of each of its 4 corners

I hope that now it is clear that it is extremely important to read the text of the Pentateuch without any bias whatsoever, as any traditional interpretations of the text will most certainly lead to mistakes like this one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

High Priest Garments - Final Review

Let's review all of the garments of the High Priest (Aaron) and his Sons. Let's begin with the High Priest garments:

And here is a diagram of all the garments that High Priest would wear. From left to right and from bottom to the top:

  1. Linen Breeches (or Trousers) - the undergarment.
  2. White Tunic
  3. Blue Robe with the embroidered Trees and the Golden Bells on its bottom half
  4. Ephod (The Vestment) with two "onyx" stones engraved with 12 names, embroidered in the golden fillings on its shoulders.
  5. Breastplate of Judgement with the 12 stones engraved with 12 names, Golden Rings, Golden Chains, Golden Mounts and Blue Laces
  6. Colored Embroidered Sash
  7. Golden Frontlet with the engraving (קדש ליהוה) and with the Blue Lace to mount it on the head.
  8. Linen Turban

Please note that traditional sources usually list 7 garments as these sources usually  join either Golden Frontlet with the Turban or the Breastplate of Judgement with the Ephod. 

Now, let's take a look at the garments of the Sons of the High Priest: 

From left to right, from bottom to top:

  1. Linen Breeches (or Trousers) - the undergarment.
  2. White Tunic
  3. Linen Sash
  4. Linen Cap

Monday, June 11, 2012

High Priest Garments - Sizing of the Ephod (Vestment)

Since we are now done with the description of all the garments of the High Priest and his Sons, it is no time to add finishing touches to the result. One important aspect of the High Priest garments that I have not covered yet is the size and shape of the Ephod (Vestment).

If you remember, the resulting Ephod so far looked like so:

But the verses of Exodus 28:33-35 state that the Blue Robe that was worn right under the Ephod had Golden Bells that were to serve as special warning sings for the Priest when he was going in/around the Tabernacle. Like so: 
Obviously, it is clear that the Ephod could not be covering these Bells as it would render them inoperable, muffling the sound or possibly even preventing them from making any. And since the Bells were located on the bottom portion of the Blue Robe, it is most logical that this part of the Robe was not covered by the Ephod at all. Like so:

Please also note that since the Ephod now would not be covering the bottom portion of the Blue Robe, it is also most likely that, for symmetry reasons, the Ephod also would not cover the parts of the High Priest hands (roughly from the elbow and to the end of each hand). Therefore, the Ephod most likely looked like a thick, woven T-Shirt, main purpose of which was to hold the Breastplate of Judgement and the two "onyx" stones. Also, the colored embroidered Sash was going over the Ephod but only because it would help to secure it upon the High Priest. Like so:

Please also note, that unlike the Sons of Aaron, the White Tunic that was worn under the Blue Robe was completely covered. At this point I do not see any reason why the White Tunic had to be visible at all, but as usual more research is needed to properly size each of these garments.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

High Priest Garments - The Linen Breeches (Trousers)

Verses of Exodus 28:42-43 discusses the last garments for both the High Priest (Aaron) and his Sons - the linen breeches (or trousers) that all priests who were serving in the Tabernacle had to wear. Let's take a look:

42 ‏וַעֲשֵׂ֤ה לָהֶם֙ מִכְנְסֵי־בָ֔ד לְכַסּ֖וֹת בְּשַׂ֣ר עֶרְוָ֑ה מִמָּתְנַ֥יִם וְעַד־יְרֵכַ֖יִם יִהְיֽוּ׃ 
‎43 ‏וְהָיוּ֩ עַל־אַהֲרֹ֨ן וְעַל־בָּנָ֜יו בְּבֹאָ֣ם׀ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֗ד א֣וֹ בְגִשְׁתָּ֤ם אֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֙חַ֙ לְשָׁרֵ֣ת בַּקֹּ֔דֶשׁ וְלֹא־יִשְׂא֥וּ עָוֹ֖ן וָמֵ֑תוּ חֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֛ם ל֖וֹ וּלְזַרְע֥וֹ אַחֲרָֽיו׃ ס
42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.
Let's begin with this semi-naked image of the Aaron and his sons:

As Exodus 28:42 describes, all of them were to wear identical Breeches (or trousers) that were to cover their private parts from waist to the ankles. These Breeches were to be made of white linen. Like so: 

And as the last verse of chapter 28 states, the High Priest and his Sons were to wear these Breeches so that during the service their nakedness would not be revealed and so that they would not die.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sons of Aaron Garments - The Tunics, Sashes and Caps

Verse of Exodus 28:40-41 describes most of the garments that Sons of Aaron, the High Priest, had to wear. Namely the linen Tunics, linen Sashes and linen Caps. Let's take a look:

‎40 ‏וְלִבְנֵ֤י אַהֲרֹן֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה כֻתֳּנֹ֔ת וְעָשִׂ֥יתָ לָהֶ֖ם אַבְנֵטִ֑ים וּמִגְבָּעוֹת֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה לָהֶ֔ם לְכָב֖וֹד וּלְתִפְאָֽרֶת׃  
‎41 ‏וְהִלְבַּשְׁתָּ֤ אֹתָם֙ אֶת־אַהֲרֹ֣ן אָחִ֔יךָ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֖יו אִתּ֑וֹ וּמָשַׁחְתָּ֨ אֹתָ֜ם וּמִלֵּאתָ֧ אֶת־יָדָ֛ם וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ֥ אֹתָ֖ם וְכִהֲנ֥וּ לִֽי׃  
40 And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. 
41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
First of all, on all images below I'm showing only two sons of Aaron (another) - Eleazar (strength-of-help) and Ithamar (island-erected). I'm not showing Nadab (liberal) and Abihu (father-of-him), as they died due to sin and throughout the wilderness journey only two younger sons of Aaron performed the Tabernacle service. 

Secondly, additional details about these garments are provided in the parallel verses of Exodus 39:27-29, so please read them as well. Please note that even though it is not clearly visible on the images below, as Exodus 28:41 states, Aaron also wore a linen Tunic under the Blue Robe and under the Ephod.

Here is the rendering of the first garment of the description - the linen Tunics for sons of Aaron. 

As you can see from this image, the next piece of clothing was the linen Sashes for the sons of Aaron. However Aaron himself wore a colored woven Sash.

And the last piece of clothing that these verses describe were the special linen Caps that sons of Aaron would wear. Please note that these Caps were different from the Turban of Aaron and were more, well, of a cap-like form. Also, sons of Aaron did not wear the Golden Plates on their foreheads as Aaron have.

And here is the comparative rendering of the Turban of Aaron vs. Caps of his sons, and the colored Sash of Aaron and the linen Sashes of his sons.

As you can see from the image above, the garments of Aaron were far more majestic and more glorious than  the garments of his sons. This is because Aaron was the High Priest and only he was most holy onto God. Not even his sons were deserving of his glory and abilities.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

High Priest Garments - The Tunic and The Sash

Exodus 28:39 deals with the one of the last pieces of the High Priest Garments - The White Tunic and The Embroidered Sash. Let's take a look:

39 ‏וְשִׁבַּצְתָּ֙ הַכְּתֹ֣נֶת שֵׁ֔שׁ וְעָשִׂ֖יתָ מִצְנֶ֣פֶת שֵׁ֑שׁ וְאַבְנֵ֥ט תַּעֲשֶׂ֖ה מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה רֹקֵֽם׃ 
39 And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.

This white tunic was actually first piece of clothing that the High Priest (Aaron) would put upon himself (save for the undergarment, of'course), and as the description says it was a plain white garment made of fine linen. Like so:

Next, the description discusses the Turban that I have already covered in my previous post - the one with the golden plate. The only thing that this verse clarifies is that the Turban was also made of fine linen.

Now, the description moves onto the so-called Embroidered Sash (or Belt). Verse of Exodus 28:39 does not provide any information about it, however the parallel verse of Exodus 39:29 explains that this Sash was to be made of "of corded cambric with blue, purple and double-dipped crimson, the handiwork of as embroiderer". Like so:

Please note that this was the Sash only for the High Priest. The other priest wore Sashes made out only of fine linen. Here is the rendering of the above Sash upon the High Priest:

And here is the complete rendering of the High Priest in all of the garments I have covered so far:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

High Priest Garments - The Turban and The Frontlet (Golden Plate)

Verses of Exodus 28:36-38 discusses two more pieces of the Garments of the High Priest- The Turban and a special engraved Golden Plate - The Frontlet. Let's take a look:

‎36 ‏וְעָשִׂ֥יתָ צִּ֖יץ זָהָ֣ב טָה֑וֹר וּפִתַּחְתָּ֤ עָלָיו֙ פִּתּוּחֵ֣י חֹתָ֔ם קֹ֖דֶשׁ לַֽיהוָֽה׃

‎37 ‏וְשַׂמְתָּ֤ אֹתוֹ֙ עַל־פְּתִ֣יל תְּכֵ֔לֶת וְהָיָ֖ה עַל־הַמִּצְנָ֑פֶת אֶל־מ֥וּל פְּנֵֽי־הַמִּצְנֶ֖פֶת יִהְיֶֽה׃

‎38 ‏וְהָיָה֮ עַל־מֵ֣צַח אַהֲרֹן֒ וְנָשָׂ֨א אַהֲרֹ֜ן אֶת־עֲוֹ֣ן הַקֳּדָשִׁ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֤ר יַקְדִּ֙ישׁוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְכָֽל־מַתְּנֹ֖ת קָדְשֵׁיהֶ֑ם וְהָיָ֤ה עַל־מִצְחוֹ֙ תָּמִ֔יד לְרָצ֥וֹן לָהֶ֖ם לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ 

36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. 
38 And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.
As the first verse of the description states, there were to be a special engraved golden frontlet for Aaron to bear upon his forehead. Upon this frontlet were to be engraved two words - קדש ליהוה (holiness to Yahveh). Like so:

As Exodus 28:37 states, this golden plate were to be mounted upon the forehead of Aaron (or any other High Priest) with the help of blue lace that was attached to the plate, and over the Turban of twined linen. Like so:

Here is another view of the Turban and the Plate:

And here is the resulting rendering of a Priest in the Turban and with this special frontlet:

UPDATE 11/11/2017

Here is the more accurate rendering of the High Priest Frontlet. The word literally says "a blossom":

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

High Priest Garments - The Blue Robe

Verses of Exodus 28:31-35 discuss another Priestly Garment - The Blue Robe. It was worn by Aaron right under the Ephod (The Vestment) and thus this garment was only partially visible, however, in this post for illustrative purposes I will show only the Robe (w/o other garments). Let's take a look:
31 ‏וְעָשִׂ֛יתָ אֶת־מְעִ֥יל הָאֵפ֖וֹד כְּלִ֥יל תְּכֵֽלֶת׃
‎32 ‏וְהָיָ֥ה פִֽי־רֹאשׁ֖וֹ בְּתוֹכ֑וֹ שָׂפָ֡ה יִֽהְיֶה֩ לְפִ֨יו סָבִ֜יב מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה אֹרֵ֗ג כְּפִ֥י תַחְרָ֛א יִֽהְיֶה־לּ֖וֹ לֹ֥א יִקָּרֵֽעַ׃

33 ‏וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ עַל־שׁוּלָ֗יו רִמֹּנֵי֙ תְּכֵ֤לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן֙ וְתוֹלַ֣עַת שָׁנִ֔י עַל־שׁוּלָ֖יו סָבִ֑יב וּפַעֲמֹנֵ֥י זָהָ֛ב בְּתוֹכָ֖ם סָבִֽיב׃

‎34 ‏פַּעֲמֹ֤ן זָהָב֙ וְרִמּ֔וֹן פַּֽעֲמֹ֥ן זָהָ֖ב וְרִמּ֑וֹן עַל־שׁוּלֵ֥י הַמְּעִ֖יל סָבִֽיב׃

‎35 ‏וְהָיָ֥ה עַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לְשָׁרֵ֑ת וְנִשְׁמַ֣ע ק֠וֹלוֹ בְּבֹא֨וֹ אֶל־הַקֹּ֜דֶשׁ לִפְנֵ֧י יְהוָ֛ה וּבְצֵאת֖וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָמֽוּת׃ ס
31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 
32 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. 
33 And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: 
34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. 
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
Just like I mentioned above, the Blue Robe was worn by Aaron right under the Ephod. Here is the rendering of the Ephod:

And here is the rendering of the Blue Robe of the description. Please note that for illustrative purposes I'm showing only the Blue Robe without the Ephod and the Breastplate and other garments.

As Exodus 28:32 says, the top of the robe, the hole for the head, was to be reinforced by a woven collar. The purpose of this collar is obvious - to prevent the Robe from tearing (if someone tries to grab it, e.t.c). This probably also indicates that the Robe was far more delicate then the Ephod, as only thin fabrics require such reinforcements. Like so:

The next verse of the description, Exodus 28:33, tells us that on the bottom portion of the robe there were to be "trees" (רמני) and golden bells (פעמני זהב). Like so:

Since this is very important distinction that I'm providing you with, let's take a look at the INCORRECT understanding of this verse as most traditional sources indicate (by placing actual "pomegranates" and bells right on the bottom edge of the blue robe). Like so:
The reason why there were no "pomegranates" and why the "trees" were located on the Robe itself (instead of being located on the edge) is very simply because the text says so. 

First of all, the word רמני (rimmōnê) can be translated both as the "fruits" (traditionally of pomegranate) and as the actual "trees" (of pomegranate - traditionally). However in this case, the description implies the actual trees, mostly because for the second reason below.

Secondly, traditional interpretations of this verse imply that these "pomegranates" and bells were to be located on the edge of the Robe. However, nowhere in the text such positioning can be found or even implied. This is because the text says על שוליו (al-šûlāyw) (on skirts of him), instead of say על שפת (on hems/lips) or על קצה (on end/edge) which would be more appropriate to satisfy such traditional interpretation. 

This is why there were actual "fruit trees" on the bottom of the Robe, made out of blue, purple and scarlet (and as Samaritan Pentateuch also implies - see my NIP) of twined linen, with the golden bells in the midst of these trees. Like so: 

Thus, the complete Blue Robe upon the Priest would look like so:

And as the last verse of the description implies (Exodus 28:35) this Robe with the bells were to be upon Aaron at all times while he was performing the service in the Tabernacle so that he could be heard when he is approaching the sanctuary and so he does not die (perhaps from sudden encounter with God). 

I will explain this last verse in more details in my next posts. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

High Priest Garments - Mounting of The Breastplate of Judgement

Verses of Exodus 28:23-30 discuss the mounting hardware and procedure of the Breastplate of Judgement to the Ephod (the Vestment). Let's take a look:

‎23 ‏וְעָשִׂ֙יתָ֙ עַל־הַחֹ֔שֶׁן שְׁתֵּ֖י טַבְּע֣וֹת זָהָ֑ב וְנָתַתָּ֗ אֶת־שְׁתֵּי֙ הַטַּבָּע֔וֹת עַל־שְׁנֵ֖י קְצ֥וֹת הַחֹֽשֶׁן׃

‎24 ‏וְנָתַתָּ֗ה אֶת־שְׁתֵּי֙ עֲבֹתֹ֣ת הַזָּהָ֔ב עַל־שְׁתֵּ֖י הַטַּבָּעֹ֑ת אֶל־קְצ֖וֹת הַחֹֽשֶׁן׃

‎25 ‏וְאֵ֨ת שְׁתֵּ֤י קְצוֹת֙ שְׁתֵּ֣י הָעֲבֹתֹ֔ת תִּתֵּ֖ן עַל־שְׁתֵּ֣י הַֽמִּשְׁבְּצ֑וֹת וְנָתַתָּ֛ה עַל־כִּתְפ֥וֹת הָאֵפֹ֖ד אֶל־מ֥וּל פָּנָֽיו׃

‎26 ‏וְעָשִׂ֗יתָ שְׁתֵּי֙ טַבְּע֣וֹת זָהָ֔ב וְשַׂמְתָּ֣ אֹתָ֔ם עַל־שְׁנֵ֖י קְצ֣וֹת הַחֹ֑שֶׁן עַל־שְׂפָת֕וֹ אֲשֶׁ֛ר אֶל־עֵ֥בֶר הָאֵפֹ֖ד בָּֽיְתָה׃

‎27 ‏וְעָשִׂיתָ֮ שְׁתֵּ֣י טַבְּע֣וֹת זָהָב֒ וְנָתַתָּ֣ה אֹתָ֡ם עַל־שְׁתֵּי֩ כִתְפ֨וֹת הָאֵפ֤וֹד מִלְּמַ֙טָּה֙ מִמּ֣וּל פָּנָ֔יו לְעֻמַּ֖ת מֶחְבַּרְתּ֑וֹ מִמַּ֕עַל לְחֵ֖שֶׁב הָאֵפֽוֹד׃

‎28 ‏וְיִרְכְּס֣וּ אֶת־הַ֠חֹשֶׁן  מִֽטַּבְּעֹתָ֞יו אֶל־טַבְּעֹ֤ת הָאֵפֹד֙ בִּפְתִ֣יל תְּכֵ֔לֶת לִֽהְי֖וֹת עַל־חֵ֣שֶׁב הָאֵפ֑וֹד וְלֹֽא־יִזַּ֣ח הַחֹ֔שֶׁן מֵעַ֖ל הָאֵפֽוֹד׃

‎29 ‏וְנָשָׂ֣א אַ֠הֲרֹן אֶת־שְׁמ֨וֹת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל בְּחֹ֧שֶׁן הַמִּשְׁפָּ֛ט עַל־לִבּ֖וֹ בְּבֹא֣וֹ אֶל־הַקֹּ֑דֶשׁ לְזִכָּרֹ֥ן לִפְנֵֽי־יְהוָ֖ה תָּמִֽיד׃

‎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
23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.  
24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
25 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. 
26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. 
27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 
28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. 
29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. 
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.

Let's begin with our unmounted Breastplate of Judgement: 

As Exodus 28:23 states, there were to be two rings of gold made at the top corners of the Breastplate, like so: 

Exodus 28:24 states that to those two golden rings were to be attached two golden chains (as I have discussed in this post). Like so:

Exodus 28:25 states that on the other ends of these golden chains were to be attached special "mountings" or rather a sort of "hooks" that would allow to attach the Breastplate to the stones of the Ephod. Here are those mountings:

And here is the rendering of how these mountings and chains would be attached to the two "onyx" stones of the Ephod:

Exodus 28:26 states that there were to be made two more golden rings that would be attached to the bottom corners of the Breastplate. Like so:

Exodus 28:27 tells us that there were to be two more golden rings that would be attached to the actual Ephod (not the Breastplate) and those rings would be located right underneath the points where the golden mountings with chains would be attached to the stones of the Ephod. This is rather important detail, as it means that the mounting points of the Breastplate were located symmetrically so that the Breastplate would fit tightly onto the chest of the priest and would not move. Here is the rendering of those two Ephod rings from the top (Ephod is not shown for the illustration purposes):

Exodus 28:28 states that two bottom golden rings of the Breastplate were to be attached to the corresponding golden rings of the Ephod via two blue laces. Like so:

Thus, as Exodus 28:29 states, the priest (Aaron) would be able to bear the Breastplate on his chest without having to worry that it would move off or fall off, once the Breastplate was secured to the Ephod according to all the description above. Like so:

Last verse of the description (Exodus 28:30) describes the so-called "Urim" and the "Thummim" that were to be given to the Breastplate. I'm not sure what exactly does this mean as these two words can be translated in a different ways. 

Here is the translation of this verse from my Normalized Interlinear Pentateuch
Exodus 28:30: and_you-give to breastplate the_sentence with the_lights and_with the_perfections and_they-became over heart another in_coming_him to_faces_me yahweh and_lift another with sentence created_me prevailing-strength over heart_him to_faces_me yahweh continually.
So most likely, this verse means that by creating and mounting the Breastplate according to all specifications listed in the description, the Breastplate would become filled with "lights" (Urim) and "perfections" (Thummim). Meaning that it would become Holy and start to posses necessary qualities that were needed for the service of the Tabernacle. This is of'course is just my best guess at the moment, because further research is needed to resolve this question. 

And here is final rendering of the mounted Breastplate of Judgement upon the Ephod (The Vestment) of the Priest:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

High Priest Garments - The Breastplate of Judgement

Verses of Exodus 28:15-22 describe yet another part of the Priestly Garments - the so-called Breastplate of Judgement. Let's take a look:

15 ‏וְעָשִׂ֜יתָ חֹ֤שֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט֙ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה חֹשֵׁ֔ב כְּמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה אֵפֹ֖ד תַּעֲשֶׂ֑נּוּ זָ֠הָב תְּכֵ֨לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֜ן וְתוֹלַ֧עַת שָׁנִ֛י וְשֵׁ֥שׁ מָשְׁזָ֖ר תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ׃

‎16 ‏רָב֥וּעַ יִֽהְיֶ֖ה כָּפ֑וּל זֶ֥רֶת אָרְכּ֖וֹ וְזֶ֥רֶת רָחְבּֽוֹ׃
17 ‏וּמִלֵּאתָ֥ בוֹ֙ מִלֻּ֣אַת אֶ֔בֶן אַרְבָּעָ֖ה טוּרִ֣ים אָ֑בֶן ט֗וּר אֹ֤דֶם פִּטְדָה֙ וּבָרֶ֔קֶת הַטּ֖וּר הָאֶחָֽד׃

‎18 ‏וְהַטּ֖וּר הַשֵּׁנִ֑י נֹ֥פֶךְ סַפִּ֖יר וְיָהֲלֹֽם׃

‎19 ‏וְהַטּ֖וּר הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֑י לֶ֥שֶׁם שְׁב֖וֹ וְאַחְלָֽמָה׃

‎20 ‏וְהַטּוּר֙ הָרְבִיעִ֔י תַּרְשִׁ֥ישׁ וְשֹׁ֖הַם וְיָשְׁפֵ֑ה מְשֻׁבָּצִ֥ים זָהָ֛ב יִהְי֖וּ בְּמִלּוּאֹתָֽם׃

‎21 ‏וְ֠הָאֲבָנִים תִּֽהְיֶ֜יןָ עַל־שְׁמֹ֧ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל שְׁתֵּ֥ים עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה עַל־שְׁמֹתָ֑ם פִּתּוּחֵ֤י חוֹתָם֙ אִ֣ישׁ עַל־שְׁמ֔וֹ תִּֽהְיֶ֕יןָ לִשְׁנֵ֥י עָשָׂ֖ר שָֽׁבֶט׃

‎22 ‏וְעָשִׂ֧יתָ עַל־הַחֹ֛שֶׁן שַֽׁרְשֹׁ֥ת גַּבְלֻ֖ת מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה עֲבֹ֑ת זָהָ֖ב טָהֽוֹר׃ 
15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.

As Exodus 28:15 states, the Breastplate of Judgement was similar to Ephod (Vestment) and was basically a piece of fabric made out of golden wires, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen. Like so:

As the next verse of Exodus 28:16 states, this piece of fabric were to be a "span" in lengths and a "span" in width, meaning that the Breastplate was a square, but only once it was doubled (or folded in half). This means that the actual size of the Breastplate was 1 span x 2 spans - a rectangle, but once it was folded in half along the length the resulting size of the Breastplate would be 1 span x 1 span - a square. Like so: 

One thing I'm not sure about yet is how much was the "span" (זרת). Traditional sources indicate that it was about the size of the spread hand (spread of the fingers), which is by my calculations is about 20cm or 8 inches or 0.45 cubits. At this point I will go with these dimensions as I'm not sure. 

Next, in Exodus 28:17-20 it states that the Breastplate was decorated with 12 stones, set in 4 rows, 3 stones per each row. This information also helps to identify the shape of the stones - rectangular, as in order to fit 4x3 set of stones onto the square base the stones have to be of somewhat rectangular shape. Please also note that the colors of the stones shown on the images below is arbitrary as there is no research available to definitively say what stones were used on the Breastplate. Only a talented geologist who also studies the Pentateuch can solve this problem. So for now I will go with the traditional translation of the stones and with an arbitrary colors that this translation assumes.

Exodus 28:20 provides us with yet another piece of information, namely that each of twelve stones was to be set in a golden filling. This was done not only to help decorate the stones and the Breastplate but also to help secure the stones to the Breastplate. Like so:

Exodus 28:21 says that each of 12 stones were to bear a name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The names that were to be engraved on these stones were exactly the same as on the two "onyx" stones of the Ephod (and as I have discussed in this post). 

The table below shows the names of the tribes with the respective stones and normalized translation from Hebrew of each tribe and of each stone, along with the traditional translations. Of'course this is just an arbitrary alignment, as there is also no research available to definitively match the stones with the tribes names. At this point I'm simply assuming that the order of the stones listed in the verses of the description exactly matches the calculated order of the names of the tribes. I also assume that the stones were to be counted and positioned from right to left from top to bottom. Like so:





And here is the rendering of the above table:

As Exodus 28:22 states, the edges of the Breastplate were to be embroidered with gold, sort of like a border. This helped to solidify and secure the fabric of the Breastplate so it did not come apart. Like so: 

And here is a comparative rendering of the Breastplate if you were to unfold it, with the golden borders surrounding the Breastplate along its perimeter and at the fold. Like so:

This concludes the description of the Breastplate. In my next post I will discuss the mounting of the Breastplate upon the Ephod (Vestment).

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