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1. The coat and its girdle. This was the undermost garment worn by the high priest. The particular form of it is not described, but it is supposed to have had sleeves, reaching down to the wrists. It was made of fine linen, very curiously embroidered, and fastened to the body by a girdle made of fine twined linen, with needle work of blue, and purple, and scarlet.
2. Next above this was the robe of the Ephod. This was entirely of blue. It had an opening at the top, through which the high priest passed his head, made secure by a binding of woven work that it might not be rent in putting on. On the bottom hem, which is supposed to have reached to the ankles, were alternately a golden bell and an artificial pomegranate made of blue, purple, and scarlet. The bells were placed here that their sound might give notice when the high priest went into the holy place before the Lord, and when he came out.
3. We come next to a more particular part of the high priest's dress. This was the Ephod, or outer garment. It was a short
coat without sleeves, of very rich workmanship made of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, embroidered with curious work and much gold. It was kept on by means of two shoulder straps attached to it, and by a girdle made of the same materials, and embroidered after the same manner. On each shoulder-piece of the Ephod was placed an onyx stone set in an ouch of gold, and on these stones were engraven the names of the twelve children of Israel, six on one stone, and six on the other. The reason of this is thus assigned," And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial," to remind himself that he was officiating on behalf of the people, and to remind the Lord of the gracious promises which he had been pleased to make to them.
4. To the Ephod was attached the most curious and the most important part of the high priest's dress. This was what is called the breast-plate of judgment. It was a square piece of linen double, embroidered with the same richness and after the same manner as
the Ephod. There were set in it twelve precious stones, four rows of three each, every stone having engraven on it the name of one of the twelve children of Jacob. These were placed there for the same purpose as those on the onyx stones on the shoulders, as we read in the twenty-ninth verse of the twenty-eighth chapter of Exodus. The breast-plate was the breast-plate of judgment, because by means of it the high priest received the judgment of God on any matters concerning which he consulted the Lord. It was kept on the breast by two wreathen chains of pure gold, passing from two rings of gold on its upper part to the ouches of gold in which the onyx stones were set on the top of each shoulder, and by a lace of blue passing through two other rings of gold on its lower corners, and through two similar rings placed on the Ephod. In the breast-plate were put what are called the Urim and Thummin. What these were, of what materials, or of what form, we have no information. The meaning of the words is Lights and Perfections. The use of them however, so long as they were in use,
is clear. They were the means by which the high priest enquired of the Lord in all matters in which it was necessary to have recourse to him for instruction and direction. In some way or other God gave him power to make a perfect declaration of his will, whenever he was thus duly consulted on any important matters that concerned the public welfare or duty. There is little said of this mode of enquiring of the Lord after the building of Solomon's temple, and it is clear from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, that the Urim and Thummim were at that time lost. But while they were possessed they formed a wonderful privilege enjoyed by the nation, and on more occasions than one were the means by which they obtained directions what they should do in some critical emergency.
5. The last thing which we have to notice in the dress of the high priest was his mitre. This was made of fine linen, rolled up something in the manner of a turban, and worn upon his head. A plate of pure gold was tied upon it by a blue lace, on which was
engraved in conspicuous letters the sentence, Holiness to the Lord," and placed exactly upon his forehead. The use of it is thus given, "And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts, and it shall be always upon his forehead that they may be accepted before the Lord."
Such were the garments of Aaron, when he was consecrated the high priest of the children of Israel.
wear whenever he
These he was always to
officiated publicly in his high and holy office. The dresses of his sons, the ordinary priests, were coats and girdles similar to those of their father.
were only of plain white linen.
They had no robe of the ephod, nor breast-plate, and instead of the mitre with its golden plate, they had bonnets on their heads, of which the form and material are not mentioned.
III. The third ceremony in the consecration of Aaron and his sons was the anointing them with holy oil. This was made of the most precious spices according to express