Exodus Chapter 28  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Exodus 28
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Exo 28:28

“does not swing out from the ephod.” The breastplate of the High Priest, which held the Urim and Thummim, was to be securely fastened to the ephod, the garment he was wearing, so that it would not bounce in and out on his chest.

Exo 28:29(top)
Exo 28:30

“the Urim and Thummim.” The “Urim” and “Thummim” were two stones that were in the breastplate of the High Priest and he would draw one or the other out of the breastplate to find the decision of God on a matter. The two stones apparently felt the same to human touch, so the High Priest could not tell by touch which stone was which and thus cheat to get his own way, and that gave the people confidence that the decision made by the Urim and Thummim was made by God. Proverbs16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but each of its judgments is from Yahweh.” When a decision was made by the Urim and Thummin, it was considered a decision by “lot.” Many issues were settled by lot, that is, by drawing a stone out of the breastplate and seeing what the decision of Yahweh was.

For example, the land areas for the tribes of Israel were assigned areas by “lot,” that is, by the stones—the Urim and Thummim—that were in the breastplate of the High Priest (Josh. 14:2). The High Priest would draw out a stone which would indicate the decision of Yahweh (cp. Exod. 28:30; Lev. 8:8; Num. 27:21; Deut. 33:8; Josh. 21:4; 1 Sam. 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65). The exact process, which was well known at the time and thus was not described any detail in the Bible, is not well understood today. In Joshua 21:4, the “lot,” i.e., the stone, “came out,” that is, came out of the pocket on the front of the breastplate of the High Priest and indicted that the Kohathites were to be the first to be assigned cities in the Promised Land.

In Joshua 7:14-19, we see a good example of how the Urim and Thummin were used to discover the will of God. Yahweh “captured” (“took”) by lot using the Urim and Thummin the man, Achan, who stole things from Jericho and caused the defeat at the city of Ai (see commentary on Joshua 7:14). The same process was used to decide who the first king of Israel would be, and Saul “was taken,” that is, was taken by lot (1 Sam. 10:20-21).

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