Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Exodus 28:22-30 More About the Breastpiece

"For the breastpiece make braided chains of pure gold, like a rope.

Make two gold rings for it and fasten them to two corners of the breastpiece.
Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece,
and the other ends of the chains to the two settings,
attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front.

Make two gold rings and attach them to the other two corners
of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod.

Make two more gold rings and attach them
to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod,
close to the seam just above the waistband of the ephod.

The rings of the breastpiece are to be tied
to the rings of the ephod with blue cord,
connecting it to the waistband,
so that the breastpiece will not swing out from the ephod.

Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place,
he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart
on the breastpiece of decision
as a continuing memorial before the LORD.

Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, 
so they may be over Aaron's heart
whenever he enters the presence of the LORD.
Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions
for the Israelites
over his heart before the LORD."

Exodus 28:22-30 (NIV)

There are an awful lot of prepositions in this section, so I tried to put spaces between the various steps involved in the making of this breastpiece.  Otherwise you can get lost in the midst of the rings, chains, settings, corners and ephod!

I found that if I read this passage slowly, imagining what I would be doing at each point if I was actually making the breastpiece, the description made perfect sense.

Of course I also asked God for wisdom, as He instructs us to do in James 1:5 

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him." 

James 1:5 (NIV)

Now comes the really puzzling part.  What was this "breastpiece for making decisions" (Exodus 28:15) all about?

Also, what on earth are the Urim and Thummim?

Since over the years I never fully researched an answer to these two questions, and since this post is already long enough for one reading, I will deal with these questions in the next post.

I will say, though, that even as I just began to examine various passages which speak of the Urim and Thummim, God's Word itself began to make the matter clear.  This is what I love -- when the Word is interpreted by the Word itself, instead of by anyone's mere speculation.  We are not given exhaustive information about these matters, but enough to move on in confidence about the purpose of these items.  So I look forward to studying these matters more fully and sharing with you what I find.

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