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Exodus 28:36-39

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Exodus 28:36
  • Exodus 28:37
  • Exodus 28:38
  • Exodus 28:39

The LORD describes the golden plate. It was to adorn the turban and be worn on the High Priest’s head. The account of the making of the golden plate is in Exodus 39:30 – 31.

The next item discussed was a plate which was made of pure gold (signifying its exceeding value and importance). This plate was more like a name plate than an eating plate. The Hebrew word for plate is “tsiz,” which is translated “flowers” or “blossoms” in several places, such as in Isaiah 40:6 – 8. This might mean that the plate was to be a medallion resembling a flower. The craftsmen were to engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ The high priest wore a turban with this engraved plate on the front of the turban.

The main idea of holy is to be “set apart.” The plate would make it clear that the high priest was completely dedicated to serving the LORD and representing the people before Him.

They were to fasten the plate using a blue cord, which in turn was to be placed on the turban, specifically on the front of the turban. So, it was to be on Aaron’s forehead. This made clear the high priest’s high station before God. Aaron was to take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts. The phrase take away the iniquity of the holy things, with regard to all their holy gifts probably means that the high priest, who represents the LORD’s holiness, could remove any impurities of the sacrifices and offerings given by the Israelites by virtue of his high station.

This gave great meaning to the plate’s message “holy to the Lord,” as Aaron is actually granted the authority to consecrate the holy gifts of the people. It seems however that the priest’s authority was dependent upon wearing the golden plate engraved with “holy to the Lord.” The final instruction concerning the plate was that it shall always be on his forehead so that this ministry of purification would be constantly available so that they (the offerings of the people) may be accepted before the Lord. This requirement could be to reduce the temptation for a priest to accumulate power to himself, or in the name of another deity.

In the Messianic Kingdom the phrase “holy to the Lord” will be common. Even the bells on the horses will say “Holy to the Lord” as it is written in Zechariah 14:20, “On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar.”

The skilled workmen were to weave a tunic for the high priest. The tunic was a long garment that was worn under the robe of the ephod (Leviticus 8:7). It was to be made of checkered work of fine linen. The phrase checkered work is rendered by most translations “needlework” or a form of “embroidery.”

The turban for the high priest was to be made of the same fine linen as the tunic. On this turban was placed the gold plate engraved with “holy to the Lord” (Exodus 28:36f).

The sash was a wide woven belt (the work of a weaver) that was to go around the waist of the priest.

Biblical Text:

36 “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ 37 You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38 It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. 39 “You shall weave the tunic of checkered work of fine linen, and shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash, the work of a weaver.