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Righteousness: Or, as some of the Latin Translators have thought fit to render them, Learning, and Truth.
It is plain they were superadded to the Breast-plate, after the twelve Stones were set therein; and were to be put in it by Moses himself: the rest being ordered to be done by skilful Workmen. Whatever they were, it looks as if Direction was given for the Breast-plate to be doubled, on purpose to receive them between the Folding: For we do not find this enumerated among the other Parts of the Garments of the High-Priest, in that Place, which gives a particular Account of them, after they were finish'd; but, at the Consecration of him, when we are told that Moses put on the rest of his • Robes; it is said; And he put the breastplate upon him; also, he put, in the breastplate, the Urim and Thummim.
Now, as God has not thought fit to explain the Meaning of these Words in any Part of the holy Scripture, our safeA Way will be to conclude that he intended it should be conceal'd from ut Though we may, without being absurd
or presumptuous, believe, there was something mysteriously sacred in them, whereby the High-Priest should be enabled to give proper Answers, when he was consulted upon extraordinary Emergencies: And that even Moses himself might receive an Order from God, among the other Directions upon the Mount, for inserting these Words in the Breast-plate of the High-Priest, without being made acquainted with the Grammatical Import of them.
This Design of their being put there, is another Reason, and perhaps the very best, why it was call'd, tbt Breast-plate of Judgment. Thus, when the Lord orders Moses, a little before his Death, to constitute Joshua to be his Successor, for conducting the Israelites into the Land of Canaan, among other Directions given about it, there is this; And he pall stand tfumb. before Eleazar the Priest', -who shall «*»*«•«. counsel for him, aster the judgment of Urim, before the Lord; at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him.
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Whatever therefore the Use of the Ifcummim was, the Urim plainly appears to have been in the Nature of an Oracle. So when Saul was reprobate and rejected by God for his Insolence and Disobedience, \ Sai?: , it is said j And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by Prophets.
We don't find the Jews pretended to be in Possefljon of these Mysteries after the Captivity. For, though we meet with the Ez» ii. Words, both in Ezra and Nehemiah, upon Neh. vii. the fame Occasion; yet they come out of the P5; Mouth of the Tirjhatha, the King of Persta's Commissary; who tells the Levites,. That they Jhould not eat of the most holy things, 'till there stood up a 'Priest with Urim and Thummim: By which, probably, he meant no more, than a Higih Priest; regularly consecrated and habited.
The upper Side of this Breast-plate was fasten'd by Chains of Gold, to that Part of the Ephod which was on the Shoulders; and the lower Side of it, by blue Laces, to the Girdle of the Ephod; for which Purpose it had four Rings of Gold, at the
four Corners; and the Ephod likewise had
two on that Part where the Girdle went;
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that, so, being all fitly join'd together, it might appear like one intire Garment; and accordingly, the whole was sometimes Hos. iii.4. call'd and understood by the single Word, Ephod. They did bind the breast-plate by his Ex°drings, unto the rings of the Ephod, with a 2I. lace of blue, that it might be above the curious girdle of the Ephod, and that the breast-plate might not be loosed from theEphod.
Further Directions about the Robe of the Ephod, as it is call'd; being joyn'd to, and a Part of it, or rather the Groundwork and Plat-form of the whole, are these; And thoujhalt make the robe of the Ephod,ib- xxvik'« all of blue. And there Jhall be an hole on the31' top of it, in the midst thereof: it jhall have a binding of -woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. This Hole was the Collar of it, and to enclose the High-Priest's
Neck. And beneath, upon the hem of it, thou shalt make pomegranates (Tassels) of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet round a-> R ^ bw% bout the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about.
Whether the Girdle of the Ephod (for so we must call * the whole Robe) which was to be curious, and of the fame rich Materials with the rest, were connected with it, to bind it close to the Body; or were a separate Thing, to be superinduc'd upon and encircle the midst of it, is somewhat uncertain. Though it is probable it was the latter; because there is a distinct Precept for the making of it, given, after that, concerning the Plate of Gold, which was to be upon the Mitre-, and the under Coat or Cassock, of fine Linnenr embroidered': And Exod. thou Jhalt make the girdle of needlework.
* // is the peculiar Name for the upper Garment which the Priest wore, when he officiated, or was consulted; as well in private Houses, as in the Tabernacle or Temple, (Judges viii, 27. xvii. 5.) Anda Garment, caWd by that Name, was worn sometimes by those who,striclly speaking, were not Priests; as by Samuel, when he was a Child; (1 Sam. ii. 18.) and by David when he danc'd before the Ark (z Sam. vi. 14J But, as both these were holy Occasions, ft it is probable the Ephod was properly an holy Robe; and never worn by any, but those whoserv'd in some holy gmplgnunt. J J J