EPHOD

An ephod was a short sleeveless linen garment, something like a long shirt or coat. It was a common piece of Hebrew clothing (1 Sam 2:18; 2 Sam 6:14), but in most cases where the Bible mentions an ephod the reference is to an article of the high priest’s dress (Exod 28:4-30; 29:5). The high priest’s ephod was made of multi-coloured embroidered linen similar to the curtains of the tabernacle, but with gold thread woven into the cloth (Exod 39:2-3; cf. 26:31). It was held in place by two shoulder straps and bound at the waist by a sash (Exod 28:7-8). (For further details and an illustration of the high priest’s dress see PRIEST.) Since the ephod was the most distinctive article of the high priest’s dress, people often referred to priests as those who ‘wore the ephod’ (1 Sam 2:28; 14:3; 22:18; Hosea 3:4). Sometimes a priest was asked to ‘bring the ephod’. This was because within the flat pouch, or breastpiece, on the front of the ephod were two objects, the Urim and the Thummim, which the priest used to find out God’s will (1 Sam 23:9-12; 30:7-8; Ezra 2:63; see URIM AND THUMMIM). During the time of Israel’s unfaithfulness in the period of the judges, Gideon made a golden ephod that soon became an object of idolatrous worship (Judg 8:26-27). On another occasion idolatrous priests, who were not even legally entitled to be priests, wore the traditional priestly ephod (Judg 17:5-6; 18:14- 20).

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