Thursday, July 24, 2014

Exodus 28:31-35 The Robe of the Ephod

"Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth,
with an opening for the head in its center.
There shall be a woven edge like a collar around this opening,
so that it will not tear.

Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn
around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them.
The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate
around the hem of the robe.

Aaron must wear it when he ministers.
The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place
before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die."

Exodus 28:31-35 (NIV)

The design for the robe of the ephod was fairly straightforward:  made from blue cloth, with an opening in the center for the head, with a woven edge around the opening to prevent tearing.  The robe was decorated around the hem with alternating pomegranates and gold bells.

The NIV Study Bible says regarding these verses:

"According to Jewish tradition,
one end of a length of rope was tied to the high priest's ankle
and the other end remained outside the tabernacle.
If the bells on his robe stopped tinkling while he was in the Holy Place,
the assumption that he had died could be tested by pulling gently on the rope."

...because, I suppose, nobody wanted to be the one who had to enter the Holy Place and pull the unfortunate man's body out if he had somehow transgressed and paid for the sacrilege with his life.

Why, though, did God direct the priest to have the bells as part of his outfit in the first place?  The text above says that the sounds of the bells will be heard when the priest is entering or leaving the Holy Place, " that he will not die."  Obviously, God did not need to be warned that someone was entering or leaving the Holy Place, because He knows everything.  However, this explanation from the ESV Study Bible may provide some insight:

"Approaching God carelessly can lead to death (Exodus 19:21-25).
Every part of the tabernacle service involves intentional actions
 on the part of the priests and the people
 that are meant to teach Israel that the LORD is holy.
The LORD did not need to be alerted to Aaron's presence by the sound of bells,
but they served to greet God reverently when Aaron entered and left the tabernacle."

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