Old Testament

Exodus 28
The Priests and Their Vestments
281Bring Aaron your brother near to you from among the people of Israel, and his sons with him, so that he may minister to me in the priest's office. Bring Aaron and Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. 2You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother to give him honor and splendor. 3Speak to all the skilled craftsmen, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom,[] so that they make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, so that he may minister to me in the priest's office. 4These are the garments which they shall make: a chest pouch, a special vest, a robe, a specially woven tunic, a turban, and a sash.[] They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and for his sons, so that he may minister to me in the priest's office. 5The craftsmen shall use the gold, and the blue, purple, and scarlet material, and the fine linen.
The Special Vest
6They shall make the special vest[] of gold and of blue, purple, and scarlet material and of fine woven linen, the work of a skillful craftsman. 7It is to have two shoulder straps, one on each side, so that the vest can be fastened together. 8The decorated band, which is attached to the vest, is to be just like it: made of gold, and of blue, purple, and scarlet material and of fine woven linen. 9Take two onyx stones and engrave the names of the sons of Israel on them 10—six of their names on one stone and the names of the other six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11Engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel, in the same way that a gem cutter engraves a seal. Mount them in settings of gold. 12Put the two stones on the shoulder straps of the vest to be memorial stones for the people of Israel. Aaron shall bear their names on his two shoulders as a memorial before the Lord. 13Make settings of gold 14and two chains of pure gold. Make them like braided cords, and attach the braided chains to the settings.
The Chest Pouch
15You shall make a chest pouch to be used for making decisions, the work of a skillful craftsman. You shall make it with the same workmanship as the vest. Make it from gold and from blue, purple, and scarlet material and from fine woven linen. 16It is to be square when it is folded, nine inches by nine inches. 17You shall arrange settings for precious stones on it, four rows of stones: The first row is to be carnelian, diamond, and jacinth; 18the second row agate, sapphire,[] and emerald; 19the third row beryl, jasper, and ruby; 20and the fourth row topaz, onyx, and turquoise.[] They are to be mounted in gold settings. 21There are to be twelve stones corresponding to the names of the sons of Israel. Each one shall be like an engraved seal, each with the name of one of the twelve tribes.
22You shall make braided chains of pure gold as cords for the pouch. 23Make two gold rings for the pouch, and attach the two rings to the top corners of the pouch. 24Put the two braided chains of gold into the two rings at the top corners of the pouch. 25Attach the other ends of the two braided chains to the two settings, and then attach them to the shoulder straps on the front of the vest. 26Make two rings of gold, and put them on the two lower corners of the pouch, on its inside edge, which is toward the vest. 27Make two more gold rings, and attach them to the two shoulder straps of the vest in the front, close to the bottom where it is joined to the band of the vest. 28Tie the rings on the pouch to the rings on the vest with a blue cord, so that the pouch is right next to the band of the vest, so that the pouch does not swing out from the vest. 29Whenever he goes into the Holy Place, Aaron shall wear the pouch for making decisions, which bears the names of the sons of Israel, over his heart as a constant memorial before the Lord. 30You shall put the Urim and the Thummim[] into the pouch for making decisions, and they shall be over Aaron's heart whenever he goes before the Lord. Aaron shall bear the means of making decisions for the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord continually.
The Robe Worn With the Vest
31You shall make the robe that is to be worn under the vest. It is to be all blue. 32It is to have an opening in the middle of the top of it for the head. It is to have a woven binding around the opening, like the opening of a collar,[] to prevent it from tearing. 33To be placed around its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet material. Alternate them with gold bells 34(a gold bell, then a pomegranate, a gold bell, then a pomegranate), all around the hem of the robe. 35The robe shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord and when he comes out, so that he will not die.
The Gold Medallion
36You shall make a medallion of pure gold and engrave on it (like the engravings on a seal): HOLY TO THE Lord. 37You shall attach it to a blue cord to fasten it to the turban. It is to be placed on the front of the turban. 38It shall be on Aaron's forehead, and Aaron will bear any guilt in regard to the holy things, which the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. The medallion shall always be on his forehead, so that the offerings may be accepted in the presence of the Lord.
Tunic, Turban, Sash
39You shall weave the tunic of fine linen, and you shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash, the work of an embroiderer.
The Tunics and Pants for the Other Priests
40You shall make tunics for Aaron's sons, and you shall make sashes for them, and you shall make small pointed turbans for them, to give them honor and splendor. 41Put them on your brother Aaron and on his sons along with him, anoint them, and ordain them for their work[] and consecrate them, so that they may minister to me in the priest's office. 42Make linen pants for them to cover their naked flesh. The pants shall reach from the waist to the thighs. 43They are to be worn by Aaron and his sons whenever they go into the Tent of Meeting, or whenever they come near the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they do not incur guilt and die. This shall be a permanent regulation for him and for his descendants after him.


  • 28:3 Wisdom in this context refers to practical artistic skill.
  • 28:4 These terms are difficult to translate. The piece of clothing to be worn on the chest (hoshen) was a folded pouch. The ephod was a vest-like garment. Some sources say that a robe (me'il) is a long outer garment and a tunic (ketonet) is a shorter, knee-length undergarment. But it is clear that in this case the robe, which was worn directly under the vest, was shorter, and the tunic, which was worn against the skin, would hang down below the robe. The term translated specially woven is of uncertain meaning. It may refer to a special pattern. The headdress is called a turban because the Hebrew verb used to describe putting it on means wrap.
  • 28:6 The Hebrew is ephod, which we are translating special vest. Some think it was more like an apron.
  • 28:18 Perhaps lapis lazuli
  • 28:20 The specific identification of these gems is uncertain, and translations vary widely. This translation uses names of recognizable modern gemstones even if they might not have the same mineral makeup as the ancient gemstones. The Jewish commentator Ibn Ezra writes, “We have no way to identify what they are, having no tradition to rely on.”
  • 28:30 The meanings of Urim and Thummim are uncertain, perhaps Lights and Perfections. Others suggest Cursed and Blameless. Whatever the objects were, they seem to have been used to obtain “yes” or “no” answers from the Lord.
  • 28:32 The meaning of this word is uncertain. Traditionally a coat of mail
  • 28:41 Literally fill their hands, that is, entrust their responsibility to them