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Exodus 28:32-34 New English Translation (NET Bible)

32 There is to be an opening[a] in its top[b] in the center of it, with an edge all around the opening, the work of a weaver,[c] like the opening of a collar,[d] so that it cannot be torn.[e] 33 You are to make pomegranates[f] of blue, purple, and scarlet all around its hem[g] and bells of gold between them all around. 34 The pattern is to be[h] a gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe.


  1. Exodus 28:32 tn Heb “mouth” or “opening” (פִּי, pi; in construct).
  2. Exodus 28:32 tn The “mouth of its head” probably means its neck; it may be rendered “the opening for the head,” except the pronominal suffix would have to refer to Aaron, and that is not immediately within the context.
  3. Exodus 28:32 tn Or “woven work” (KJV, ASV, NASB), that is, “the work of a weaver.” The expression suggests that the weaving was from the fabric edges itself and not something woven and then added to the robe. It was obviously intended to keep the opening from fraying.
  4. Exodus 28:32 tn The expression כְּפִי תַחְרָא (kefi takhraʾ) is difficult. It was early rendered “like the opening of a coat of mail.” It occurs only here and in the parallel 39:23. Tg. Onq. has “coat of mail.” S. R. Driver suggests “a linen corselet,” after the Greek (Exodus, 308). See J. Cohen, “A Samaritan Authentication of the Rabbinic Interpretation of kephi tahraʾ,” VT 24 (1974): 361-66.
  5. Exodus 28:32 tn The verb is the Niphal imperfect, here given the nuance of potential imperfect. Here it serves in a final clause (purpose/result), introduced only by the negative (see GKC 503-4 §165.a).
  6. Exodus 28:33 sn This must mean round balls of yarn that looked like pomegranates. The fruit was very common in the land, but there is no indication of the reason for its choice here. Pomegranates are found in decorative schemes in Ugarit, probably as signs of fertility. It may be that here they represent the blessing of God on Israel in the land. The bells that are between them possibly have the intent of drawing God’s attention as the priest moves and the bells jingle (anthropomorphic, to be sure), or that the people would know that the priest was still alive and moving inside. Some have suggested that the pomegranate may have recalled the forbidden fruit eaten in the garden (the gems already have referred to the garden), the reason for the priest entering for atonement, and the bells would divert the eye (of God) to remind him of the need. This is possible but far from supportable, since nothing is said of the reason, nor is the fruit in the garden identified.
  7. Exodus 28:33 tn The text repeats the idea: “you will make for its hem…all around its hem.”
  8. Exodus 28:34 tn The words “the pattern is to be” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.
New English Translation (NET)

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