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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 39

 

 

Verses 1-31

The Making of the Priestly Garments (Exodus 39:1-31).

Exodus 39:1

‘And of the bluey-violet, and purpley-red, and scarlet, they made finely wrought garments, for ministering in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron, as Yahweh commanded Moses.’

We now move on to the making of the priestly garments to be used by the priests for ministering in the Holy Place, and those made especially for the use of ‘the Priest’. All was done ‘as Yahweh commanded Moses’ (a constant refrain).

The Ephod.

Exodus 39:2-5

'And he made the ephod of gold, bluey-violet, and purpley-red, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. And they beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it into the bluey-violet, and into the purpley-red, and into the scarlet, and into the fine linen, the work of the skilful workman. They made shoulder-pieces for it, joined together; it was joined together at the two ends. And the skilfully woven band, that was on it, with which to gird it on, was of the same piece and like its work. It was of gold, of bluey-violet, and purpley-red, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, as Yahweh commanded Moses.’

For further details of these see on Exodus 28:6-8. Note the explanation of how the gold was interwoven with the cloth which is only mentioned here. Possibly Moses had watched them at work.

As Yahweh commanded Moses.” This refrain will appear throughout the chapter. It was important that Yahweh’s instructions were seen to be carried out.

The Shoulder Stones For The Ephod

Exodus 39:6-7

‘And they wrought the onyx stones, enclosed in settings of gold, graven with the engravings of a signet, according to the names of the children of Israel. And he put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, to be stones of memorial for the children of Israel; as Yahweh commanded Moses.’

The actual making of the stones engraved with the names of the children of Israel, to be borne on the shoulder of the ephod, to keep them ever before Yahweh, is described here. See on Exodus 28:9-12.

The Breastpouch.

Exodus 39:8-14

‘And he made the breastpouch, the work of the skilful workman, like the work of the ephod; of gold, of bluey-violet, and purpley-red, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. It was foursquare. They made the breastpouch double: a span was its length, and a span its breadth, being double. And they set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, chrysolite, and beryl was the first row; and the second row, a garnet, a lapis lazuli, and an onyx; and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row, a turquoise, a sardonyx, and a jaspar: they were enclosed in enclosures of gold in their settings. And the stones were in accordance with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names; like the engravings of a signet, every one according to his name, for the twelve tribes.’

Here we have the description of the making of the breastpouch to contain the Urim and Thummim, together with its twelve stones engraved to represent the tribes of Israel. See for further details on Exodus 28:13-21.

Exodus 39:15-21

‘And they made on the breastpouch chains like cords, of interwoven work of pure gold. And they made two settings of gold, and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpouch. And they put the two intertwined chains of gold in the two rings at the ends of the breastpouch. And the other two ends of the two interwoven chains they put on the two settings, and put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, in its forepart. And they made two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastpouch, on its the edge, which was towards the side of the ephod inward. And they made two rings of gold, and put them on the two shoulder-pieces of the ephod underneath, in its forepart, close by its coupling, above the skilfully woven band of the ephod. And they bound the breastpouch by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it might be on the skilfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpouch might not be loosed from the ephod; as Yahweh commanded Moses.’

The making of the means by which the breastpouch was connected with the ephod is described in detail. See on Exodus 28:22-28. Both the breastpouch and its connections were ‘as Yahweh commanded Moses’.

The Priestly Robe Under the Ephod.

Exodus 39:22-26

‘And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue. And the hole of the robe in its middle, as the hole of a coat of mail, with a binding round about the hole of it, that it should not be torn. And they made on the skirts of the robe pomegranates of bluey/violet, and purpley-red, and scarlet, and twined linen. And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates on the skirts of the robe round about, between the pomegranates; a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, on the skirts of the robe round about, to minister in; as Yahweh commanded Moses.’

The making of the bluey-violet robe to be worn directly under the ephod is described, a kind of long, flowing tunic made to be slipped over the head, with the hole for the head having strong binding round it so that it would not tear, and thus introduce defect into the Holy Place, and decorated at the bottom of the skirt with pomegranates and bells in sequence, acting as an announcement to God that he was coming (as every servant had to be announced), and letting those outside know that he was still alive. They may also be seen as making a joyful noise to Yahweh. See for all this on Exodus 28:31-35.

The Basic Robes, Head Gear and Breeches.

Exodus 39:27-29

‘And they made the robes of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons, and the turban of fine linen, and the goodly head-caps of fine linen, and the linen breeches of fine twined linen, and the girdle of fine twined linen, and bluey-violet, and purpley-red, and scarlet, the work of the embroiderer; as Yahweh commanded Moses.’

Then is described the making of the fine linen, woven robes. For Aaron this was the under-robe worn beneath the robe of the ephod. For his sons it was their basic robe, all of woven work. Also made was Aaron’s turban, the caps for the sons, the breeches, and the girdle of multi-coloured materials. It will be noted that here the breeches are mentioned along with the other garments, and not deliberately separated off as they were previously, but this is describing what was done, not initially introducing them. For all these see on Exodus 28:39-43. They were all made exactly as Yahweh had commanded Moses.

The Golden Head-plate.

Exodus 39:30

‘ And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it a text, like the engravings of a signet, HOLY TO YAHWEH. And they tied to it a lace of blue, to fasten it on over the turban; as Yahweh commanded Moses.’

And finally they made the golden head-plate to be worn over the turban, with its declaration that ‘the Priest’ was holy to Yahweh. See for details on Exodus 28:36-38. This too was made as Yahweh had commanded Moses.


Verses 32-43

The Final Summation.

Exodus 39:32

‘Thus was finished all the work of the Dwellingplace of the Tent of Meeting: and the children of Israel did in accordance with all that Yahweh commanded Moses; so did they.’

In final summation the fact that all the work was done exactly as Yahweh commanded is again stressed. All was done according to His will. Would that we could all say the same, that we could say, ‘I have done all as Yahweh has commanded me’.

Note the equation of the Dwellingplace with the Tent of Meeting. The old Tent of Meeting has been replaced by it.

All That Has Been Made Is Brought To Moses (Exodus 39:33-43).

Exodus 39:33

‘And they brought the Dwellingplace to Moses: the Tent, and all its furniture, its clasps, its boards, its bars, and its pillars, and its sockets; and the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of dolphin skins, and the veil of the screen; the ark of the testimony, and its staves, and the mercy-seat; the table, all its vessels, and the showbread; the pure lampstand, its lamps, even the lamps to be set in order, and all its vessels, and the oil for the lamp; and the golden altar, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the screen for the door of the Tent; the brazen altar, and its grating of bronze, its staves, and all its vessels, the laver and its base; the hangings of the court, its pillars, and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court, its cords, and its pegs, and all the instruments of the service of the tabernacle, for the Tent of Meeting; the finely wrought garments for ministering in the Holy Place, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office. In accordance with all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work. And Moses saw all the work, and, behold, they had done it; as Yahweh had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.’

Finally all has been brought to Moses. It will be noted that the goatskin covering is clearly seen as part of ‘the Tent’, although they were not part of ‘the inner Sanctuary’, whereas the final protective skins were neither. The first showbread has also been made and that too has been brought. And it is observed that after his inspection all the work was declared as being in accordance with the pattern that had been shown to him in the Mount. That was of crucial importance. And so Moses not only approved all but gave them the divine blessing.

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Exodus 39:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/exodus-39.html. 2013.

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