Skip to main content

QQC--Weighty Clothes

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 28:6-29 

Aaron, and all the high priests after him, wore special clothes, different and more elaborate than those worn by the ordinary priests.  Part of that were the ephod and breastplate.  Both were made of specially woven fabric containing threads of gold but there was more to them than just cloth. 

The ephod was underneath the breastpiece and provided its support—held in place by a waistband and shoulder straps, kind of like the top of a full apron.  On each shoulder was a stone mounted in gold filigree settings with braided chains of gold attached.  Each stone had to be large enough to have the names of six of Jacobs sons engraved on it:

The stones of the breastpiece and the names in Hebrew of the twelve tribes.

I’ve had my name engraved on the front of a Bible or two and even with today’s technology, it takes a fair bit of space.  I’m thinking that the stones on Aaron’s shoulders would have had to have been fairly big and thus heavy, to accommodate all that engraving—never mind the weight of the attached gold.

The breastpiece was square and had mounted on it twelve stones, one for each tribe and each in a gold filigree setting.  Each stone had written on it the name of the tribe it represented so again, the stones weren’t too small.  In addition, each corner of the breastpiece had a gold ring sewn to it, with a gold chain at the two top corners to attach them to the shoulder settings and blue cord between the rings on the bottom corners and tied to two more gold rings on the ephod’s waistband.

All this was a considerable amount of weight.  How did the high priest manage to wear this day after day after day?

Previous | Next


Harmony said…
Reminds me of the fire fighter's outfits. Jacket alone is 50 pounds.

Perhaps this weighty garment served as a reminder of the responsibility they had to direct and lead God's people.

You have the most thought provoking posts Debbie.
Thank you! I hadn't thought about the weight of the garment being a reminder of the weight of the high priest's responsibility but that makes very good sense. By the way, there was more weight than what I described. At the bottom of his robe, the high priest had little bells and pomegranates--I think of gold, which would add considerable weight.

Konrad said…
That's one way to stay fit!
Anonymous said…
I find it interesting that you estimate the size of the breastplate to be large, when the size is given as a "span long and a span wide- and folded double." Ex 28:16 A span is approx 8" and I have never seen a rendering of the Breastplate folded double.
Hi Stephen, welcome to my blog!

Actually, I said the STONES on the breastpiece had to be large--large enough to have words engraved on them and, as I pointed out, engraving takes space; the stones had to be large enough to accomodate the engraving. As I think of it I realise that when I referred to the stones being large, I wasn't even talking about the stones on the breastpiece itself but on the stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod. There were six names carved into each of those stones of onyx. I said nothing about the actual size of the breastpiece and was focusing on the weight of it; large stones means "heavy."

Popular posts from this blog

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.

My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

About the Author


I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

What Is Separating me from the Promise?

This is the question Andy Wood asked us each to consider this morning at the end of his sermon and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Imagine the Jordan River on the eve of the Israelites crossing it into the Promised Land.  The river was at flood stage, so it was moving quickly (even the Red River here in Winnipeg moves quickly during flood season) but this particular stretch of the river near Jericho is narrower than the rest so that as the rushing flood waters reached the point where the people were waiting--all two million of them--it became even more turbulent.  Anyone who's witnessed a flood knows that it doesn't just carry water; there is debris like fallen trees, parts of sheds and houses and perhaps even animals unable to escape the river's grab.

Back in the days of Abraham, God had promised the land of Canaan to him and his descendants but during the days of Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph, the whole family had moved out of the Promised Land to Egypt because of f…