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Reference: Ephod


An ornamental part of the dress worn by the Hebrew priests. It was worn above the tunic and the robe, was without sleeves, and open below the arms on each side, consisting of two pieces, one of which covered the front of the body and the other the back, joined together on the shoulders by golden buckles set with gems, and reaching down to the middle of the thigh. A girdle was inwoven with it, by which it was fastened around the body, Ex 28:6-12. There were two kinds of ephod: one plain, of linen, for the priests, 1Sa 22:18; another embroidered, for the high priest. Young Samuel wore an ephod, though only a Levite and a child, 1Sa 2:18. David, in transferring the ark to Jerusalem, was "girt with a linen ephod," 2Sa 6:14. The Jews had a peculiar superstitious regard for this garment, and employed it in connection with idolatrous worship. Gideon's ephod became a snare to Israel; and Micah made one, that his idol might be duly worshipped, Jg 8:27; 17:5; 18:17.

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something girt, a sacred vestment worn originally by the high priest (Ex 28:4), afterwards by the ordinary priest (1Sa 22:18), and characteristic of his office (1Sa 2:18,28; 14:3). It was worn by Samuel, and also by David (2Sa 6:14). It was made of fine linen, and consisted of two pieces, which hung from the neck, and covered both the back and front, above the tunic and outer garment (Ex 28:31). That of the high priest was embroidered with divers colours. The two pieces were joined together over the shoulders (hence in Latin called superhumerale) by clasps or buckles of gold or precious stones, and fastened round the waist by a "curious girdle of gold, blue, purple, and fine twined linen" (Ex 28:6-12).

The breastplate, with the Urim and Thummim, was attached to the ephod.

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1. The high priest's vestment, with the breast-plate and Urim and Thrumhim (some material objects in the bag of the breast-plate, used for consulting Jehovah by casting lots: Speaker's Commentary; but (See HIGH PRIEST) in it. This Abiathar carried off from the tabernacle at Nob, and David consulted (9'>1Sa 21:9; 23:6,9; 30:7). The breast-plate, with its twelve precious stones, gave an importance to the ephod which led to its adoption in the idolatries of Gideon and Micah (Jg 8:27; 17:5; 18:14).

The large amount of gold used by Gideon on his ephod was not the material of it, but the means wherewith he completed it; including the breast-plate (choshen), the 12 precious stones, and the two for the shoulders, the gold thread throughout, and gold braid, and gold twist chains fastening the breast-plate upon the ephod, and lastly the price of the labor (Ex 28:6-30). (See GIDEON.) His aim was by wearing it to have a vehicle for inquiring the will of Jehovah, through the Urim and Thummim, the holy lot, and breast-plate.

The ephod was also used, but without the breast-plate, by the ordinary priests, as their characteristic robe (1Sa 2:28; 14:3; 22:18; Ho 3:4). David's ephod, in bringing the ark to Jerusalem, differed from the priests' in being of ordinary linen (baad), whereas theirs was of fine linen (sheesh).

2. Father of Hanniel, head of Manasseh, assisted Joshua and Eleazar in apportioning Canaan (Nu 34:23).

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1. Father of Hanniel (Nu 34:23 Priestly Narrative). 2. See Dress,

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Ephod. E'phod

Father of Hanniel, of the tribe of Manasseh. Nu 34:23.


1. The ephod worn by the high priest. Minute instructions were given as to its construction. It was to be made of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. The gold was beaten into thin plates and then cut into wires, which were woven into the fabric. Its GIRDLE was also to be of the same materials with embroidered work. On the shoulders were fastened two stones, engraved with the names of the twelve tribes, six names on each stone; so that whenever Aaron wore the ephod the twelve tribes were represented. We read also of the ROBE OF THE EPHOD, which was all of blue, and along the bottom of which were pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, with bells of gold between them. The robe was doubtless much longer than the ephod, which is supposed not to have reached the knees, and which was worn over the robe, and the BREASTPLATE over the ephod. There was also a broidered coat of fine linen; this was worn under the robe. These with the mitre constituted Aaron's garments 'for glory and for beauty.' Ex 28:1-39. Apparently the ordinary priestly garments worn by Aaron's sons are also said to be 'for glory and for beauty.' Ex 28:40.

In the various textures of the ephod there are typified divine righteousness, heavenliness, royalty, dignity, and the graces of the Spirit: the virtues that characterised the Lord Jesus. Inseparably attached to the ephod was the breastplate, in which were the Urim and Thummim; thus in wearing the ephod the judgement of the children of Israel was borne before the Lord, according to His lights and perfections. Though not worn on ordinary occasions, it was required when directions were sought from God: cf. 1Sa 21:9. Thus receiving answers from God is also associated with the Urim and Thummim, which were placed in the breastplate. Ex 28:28: cf. Nu 27:21; 1Sa 28:6; Ezr 2:63; Ne 7:65. The word 'Ephod' is the same in the Hebrew, and is from 'to bind round or gird,' so that its meaning does not seem to go beyond 'a priestly garment.' Ex 29:5; 35:9,27; 39:2-22; Le 8:7; 1Sa 2:28.

2. Besides the above, which may be called the ephod, there were others which the priests wore, but which are not described. 1Sa 14:3; 22:18; 23:6,9; 30:7; Ho 3:4. David, on the occasion of bringing up the ark, wore a linen ephod. 2Sa 6:14; 1Ch 15:27. Samuel also, when only a child, wore a linen ephod. 1Sa 2:18. In all the above passages the ephod bears the character of a priestly garment, though David was not of the tribe of Aaron. Type of the kingly Priest of the order of Melchisedec.

3. A strange deviation from the above was the ephod which Gideon made of the gold, the ornaments, and the purple raiment taken from the Midianites, after which all Israel went astray, and which became a snare to Gideon and his house. Jg 8:27. Still worse was the case of Micah who, having a house of gods, made an ephod, and consecrated one of his sons to be priest. A Levite coming to the house fell in with the whole arrangement, and pretended to inquire of God by the ephod. When the gods were stolen by the children of Dan, the Levite was glad to accompany the idols and the ephod, and to be a priest to this tribe. Thus was the priestly garment that should have been restricted to the service of Jehovah associated with idolatry. Jg 17:5; 18:14-20.

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(image), father of Hanniel of the tribe of Manesseh.

Nu 34:23

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EPHOD, ????. This article of dress was worn by laymen as well as by the high priest. The sacred ephod, the one made for the high priest, differed from the others, in being fabricated of cotton, which was coloured with crimson, purple, and blue, and in being ornamented with gold. In the time of Josephus, it was a cubit of the larger size in length, and was furnished with sleeves. The high priest's ephod had a very rich button upon each shoulder, made of a large onyx stone set in gold. This stone was so large, that the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were engraven, six on each stone, Ex 28:9-12. The word shoham, which we render onyx, is translated, by the Septuagint, smaragdos, an emerald; but as we have no certain knowledge either of this, or of any of the twelve stones of the breastplate, we may as well be satisfied with our translation as with any other. To the ephod belonged a curious girdle, of the same rich fabric as the ephod itself. This girdle is said to be upon the ephod, Ex 28:8; that is, woven with the ephod, as Maimonides understands; and, coming out from the ephod on each side, it was brought under the arms like a sash, and tied upon the breast. Samuel, though Levite only, and a child, wore a linen ephod, 1Sa 2:18. And David, in the ceremony of removing the ark from the house of Obed-edom to Jerusalem, was girt with a linen ephod, 2Sa 6:14. The Levites were not generally allowed to wear the ephod; but in the time of Agrippa, as we are told by Josephus, a little before the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans, they obtained of that prince permission to wear the linen stole, as well as the priests. Spencer and Cunaeus are of opinion, that the Jewish kings had a right to wear the ephod, because David, coming to Ziklag, and finding that the Amalekites had plundered the city, and carried away his and the people's wives, ordered Abiathar, the high priest, to bring him the ephod, which being done, David inquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I pursue after this troop?" 1Sa 30:8. Whence they infer, that David consulted God by urim and thummim, and consequently put on the ephod. But it is probable the text only means that he ordered the priest to do what he is himself said to have done. The ephod of Gideon is remarkable for having become the occasion of a new kind of idolatry to the Israelites, Jg 8:27. What this consisted in, is matter of dispute among the learned. Some authors are of opinion that this ephod, as it is called, was an idol; others, that it was only a trophy in memory of the signal victory obtained by Gideon, and that the Israelites paid a kind of divine worship to it; so that Gideon was the innocent cause of their idolatry, in like manner as Moses had been in making the brazen serpent, which was afterward worshipped.

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