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Exodus 28-29 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 28

The Priestly Vestments. Have your brother Aaron, and with him his sons, brought to you, from among the Israelites, that they may be my priests: Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. For the glorious adornment of your brother Aaron you shall have sacred vestments made. Therefore, tell the various artisans whom I have endowed with skill[a] to make vestments for Aaron to consecrate him as my priest. These are the vestments they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a brocade tunic, a turban, and a sash. In making these sacred vestments which your brother Aaron and his sons are to wear in serving as my priests, they shall use gold, violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen.

The Ephod and Breastpiece. The ephod[b] they shall make of gold thread and of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, embroidered on cloth of fine linen twined. It shall have a pair of shoulder straps joined to its two upper ends. The embroidered belt of the ephod shall extend out from it and, like it, be made of gold thread, of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen twined.

Get two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: 10 six of their names on one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a gem-cutter engraves a seal, so shall you have the two stones engraved with the names of the sons of Israel and then mounted in gold filigree work. 12 Set these two stones on the shoulder straps of the ephod as memorial stones of the sons of Israel. Thus Aaron shall bear their names on his shoulders as a reminder before the Lord. 13 Make filigree rosettes of gold, 14 as well as two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords, and fasten the cordlike chains to the filigree rosettes.

15 The breastpiece[c] of decision you shall also have made, embroidered like the ephod with gold thread and violet, purple, and scarlet yarn on cloth of fine linen twined. 16 It is to be square when folded double, a span high and a span wide. 17 [d]On it you shall mount four rows of precious stones: in the first row, a carnelian, a topaz, and an emerald; 18 in the second row, a garnet, a sapphire, and a beryl; 19 in the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 in the fourth row, a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. These stones are to be mounted in gold filigree work, 21 twelve of them to match the names of the sons of Israel, each stone engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.

22 When the chains of pure gold, twisted like cords, have been made for the breastpiece, 23 you shall then make two rings of gold for it and fasten them to the two upper ends of the breastpiece. 24 The gold cords are then to be fastened to the two rings at the upper ends of the breastpiece, 25 the other two ends of the cords being fastened in front to the two filigree rosettes which are attached to the shoulder straps of the ephod. 26 Make two other rings of gold and put them on the two lower ends of the breastpiece, on its edge that faces the ephod. 27 Then make two more rings of gold and fasten them to the bottom of the shoulder straps next to where they join the ephod in front, just above its embroidered belt. 28 Violet ribbons shall bind the rings of the breastpiece to the rings of the ephod, so that the breastpiece will stay right above the embroidered belt of the ephod and not swing loose from it.

29 Whenever Aaron enters the sanctuary, he will thus bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastpiece of decision over his heart as a constant reminder before the Lord. 30 In this breastpiece of decision you shall put the Urim and Thummim,[e] that they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus he shall always bear the decisions for the Israelites over his heart in the presence of the Lord.

Other Vestments. 31 The robe of the ephod you shall make entirely of violet material. 32 It shall have an opening for the head in the center, and around this opening there shall be a selvage, woven as at the opening of a shirt, to keep it from being torn. 33 At the hem at the bottom you shall make pomegranates, woven of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen twined, with gold bells between them; 34 a gold bell, a pomegranate, a gold bell, a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe. 35 Aaron shall wear it when ministering, that its sound may be heard as he enters and leaves the Lord’s presence in the sanctuary; else he will die.

36 You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, as on a seal engraving, “Sacred to the Lord.” 37 This plate is to be tied over the turban with a violet ribbon in such a way that it rests on the front of the turban, 38 over Aaron’s forehead. Since Aaron bears whatever guilt the Israelites may incur in consecrating any of their sacred gifts, this plate must always be over his forehead, so that they may find favor with the Lord.

39 The tunic of fine linen shall be brocaded. The turban shall be made of fine linen. The sash shall be of variegated work.

40 Likewise, for the glorious adornment of Aaron’s sons you shall have tunics and sashes and skullcaps made, for glorious splendor. 41 With these you shall clothe your brother Aaron and his sons. Anoint and install them,[f] consecrating them as my priests. 42 You must also make linen pants for them, to cover their naked flesh from their loins to their thighs. 43 Aaron and his sons shall wear them whenever they go into the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the sanctuary, lest they incur guilt and die. This shall be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants.

Chapter 29

Consecration of the Priests. This is the rite you shall perform in consecrating them as my priests. Procure a young bull and two unblemished rams. With bran flour make unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and put them in a basket. Take the basket of them along with the bull and the two rams. Aaron and his sons you shall also bring to the entrance of the tent of meeting, and there wash them with water. Take the vestments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself, and the breastpiece, fastening the embroidered belt of the ephod around him. Put the turban on his head, the sacred diadem on the turban. Then take the anointing oil and pour it on his head, and anoint him. Bring forward his sons also and clothe them with the tunics, gird them with the sashes, and tie the skullcaps on them. Thus shall the priesthood be theirs by a perpetual statute, and thus shall you install Aaron and his sons.

Installation Sacrifices. 10 Now bring forward the bull in front of the tent of meeting. There Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. 11 Then slaughter the bull before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 12 Take some of its blood and with your finger put it on the horns of the altar. All the rest of the blood you shall pour out at the base of the altar. 13 All the fat that covers its inner organs, as well as the lobe of its liver and its two kidneys, together with the fat that is on them, you shall take and burn on the altar. 14 But the meat and hide and dung of the bull you must burn up outside the camp, since this is a purification offering.

15 Then take one of the rams, and after Aaron and his sons have laid their hands on its head, 16 slaughter it. The blood you shall take and splash on all the sides of the altar. 17 Cut the ram into pieces; you shall wash its inner organs and shanks and put them with the pieces and with the head. 18 Then you shall burn the entire ram on the altar, since it is a burnt offering, a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord.

19 After this take the other ram, and when Aaron and his sons have laid their hands on its head, 20 slaughter it. Some of its blood you shall take and put on the tip of Aaron’s right ear and on the tips of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and the great toes of their right feet. Splash the rest of the blood on all the sides of the altar. 21 Then take some of the blood that is on the altar, together with some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle this on Aaron and his vestments, as well as on his sons and their vestments, that he and his sons and their vestments may be sacred.

22 Now, from this ram you shall take its fat: its fatty tail,[g] the fat that covers its inner organs, the lobe of its liver, its two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and its right thigh, since this is the ram for installation; 23 then, out of the basket of unleavened food that you have set before the Lord, you shall take one of the loaves of bread, one of the cakes made with oil, and one of the wafers. 24 All these things you shall put into the hands of Aaron and his sons, so that they may raise them as an elevated offering[h] before the Lord. 25 After you receive them back from their hands, you shall burn them on top of the burnt offering on the altar as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. 26 Finally, take the brisket of Aaron’s installation ram and raise it as an elevated offering before the Lord; this is to be your own portion.

27 [i]Thus shall you set aside the brisket of whatever elevated offering is raised, as well as the thigh of whatever contribution is raised up, whether this be the installation ram or anything else belonging to Aaron or to his sons. 28 Such things are due to Aaron and his sons from the Israelites by a perpetual statute as a contribution. From their communion offerings, too, the Israelites shall make a contribution, their contribution to the Lord.

29 The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed down to his sons after him, that in them they may be anointed and installed. 30 The son who succeeds him as priest and who is to enter the tent of meeting to minister in the sanctuary shall be clothed with them for seven days.

31 You shall take the installation ram and boil its meat in a holy place. 32 At the entrance of the tent of meeting Aaron and his sons shall eat the meat of the ram and the bread that is in the basket. 33 They themselves are to eat of these things by which atonement was made at their installation and consecration; but no unauthorized person may eat of them, since they are sacred. 34 If some of the meat of the installation sacrifice or some of the bread remains over on the next day, this remnant you must burn up; it is not to be eaten, since it is sacred.

35 Carry out all these commands in regard to Aaron and his sons just as I have given them to you. Seven days you shall spend installing them, 36 sacrificing a bull each day as a purification offering, to make atonement. Thus you shall purify the altar[j] by purging it, and you shall anoint it in order to consecrate it. 37 Seven days you shall spend in purging the altar and in consecrating it. Then the altar will be most sacred, and whatever touches it will become sacred.

38 [k]Now, this is what you shall regularly offer on the altar: two yearling lambs as the sacrifice established for each day; 39 one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at the evening twilight. 40 With the first lamb there shall be a tenth of an ephah of bran flour mixed with a fourth of a hin[l] of oil of crushed olives and, as its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine. 41 The other lamb you shall offer at the evening twilight, with the same grain offering and libation as in the morning. You shall offer this as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. 42 Throughout your generations this regular burnt offering shall be made before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, where I will meet you and speak to you.

43 There, at the altar, I will meet the Israelites; hence, it will be made sacred by my glory. 44 Thus I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar, just as I also consecrate Aaron and his sons to be my priests. 45 I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites and will be their God. 46 They shall know that I, the Lord, am their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, so that I, the Lord, their God, might dwell among them.

Footnotes:

  1. 28:3 Artisans…endowed with skill: lit., “wise of heart,” and “filled with a spirit of wisdom.” In Hebrew wisdom includes practical skills. Cf. 35:35; 36:1–2.
  2. 28:6 Ephod: this Hebrew word is retained in the translation because it is the technical term for a peculiar piece of the priestly vestments, the exact nature of which is uncertain. It seems to have been a sort of apron that hung from the shoulders of the priest by shoulder straps (v. 7) and was tied around his waist by the loose ends of the attached belt (v. 8).
  3. 28:15–30 Breastpiece: an approximately nine-inch square, pocketlike receptacle for holding the Urim and Thummim (v. 30). It formed an integral part of the ephod, to which it was attached by an elaborate system of rings and chains. Both the ephod and its breastpiece were made of brocaded linen. Span: Heb. zeret, the distance between the top of the little finger and the thumb; one half a cubit, approximately nine inches.
  4. 28:17–20 The translation of the Hebrew names of some of these gems is quite conjectural.
  5. 28:30 Urim and Thummim: both the meaning of these Hebrew words and the exact nature of the objects so designated are uncertain. They were apparently lots of some kind which were drawn or cast by the priest to ascertain God’s decision on particular questions. Hence, the pocket in which they were kept was called “the breastpiece of decision.”
  6. 28:41 Install them: lit., “fill their hands,” a technical expression used for the installation of priests.
  7. 29:22 Fatty tail: the thick layer of fat surrounding the tails of sheep and rams bred in the Middle East. It is regarded as a choice food. Cf. Lv 3:9.
  8. 29:24–26 Elevated offering: the portions of a communion offering, brisket and right thigh, which the officiating priest raised in the presence of the Lord. They were reserved for Aaron and his sons.
  9. 29:27–30 These verses are a parenthetical interruption of the installation ritual; v. 31 belongs logically immediately after v. 26.
  10. 29:36–37 Purify the altar: the purpose of the purification offering here is to cleanse, or purify, the newly constructed altar of any defilement resulting from presumably minor and inadvertent sins, but the text is not explicit about what the offenses were or who committed them. So various theories have been proposed to explain the cause of the altar’s contamination. Note, however, that the offering appears to be demanded of Aaron and his sons; they are the ones who lay hands upon it (v. 10).
  11. 29:38–42 A parenthesis inserted into the rubrics for consecrating the altar; v. 43 belongs directly after v. 37.
  12. 29:40 Hin: see note on Ez 45:24.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Wisdom 18:24 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

24 For on his full-length robe was the whole world,
    and ancestral glories were carved on the four rows of stones,
    and your grandeur[a] was on the crown upon his head.

Footnotes:

  1. 18:24 Glories…grandeur: the name of God and the names of the tribes were inscribed on the high priest’s apparel.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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