This post is all about the ephod in the bible
The ephod is a garment of great significance. It is mentioned throughout the Bible and has been worn by some of the most well-known figures in Christianity.
This blog post will discuss 12 fascinating facts about the ephod. I will start by explaining what an ephod is, who was allowed to wear it, and what it looked like. I will also explore some of the most famous stories involving the ephod, such as Gideon and David. Finally, I will take a look at the significance of the ephod today and how it can be applied to our lives.
Ready? Let’s go
Why I’m writing this blog post…
Well, I recently wrote a blog post on breakthrough and touched on David. This sparked an interest in re-reading the story of David and his conquests. In particular, I was interested in the conquest where David defeated the Amalekites. He (David) has an infamous line – “Bring me the ephod.”
Curiosity got the best of me to research about the ephod…Hence, after much research, this super detailed blog post was birthed.
Feel free to use the table of contents to see what topics I’ll cover. However, I know if you are super interested, you will likely move along the post in a systematic fashion…❤️
What is an ephod?
The ephod was a sacred garment in the Old Testament. Only certain people were allowed to wear the ephod. More specifically, it was worn only by the high priest—the head of the Aaronic priesthood.
What did the priestly garments look like?
In order to understand the ephod, let’s try to get a picture of what the priestly garments are comprised of since they were a unit (See Per Exodus 28:4):
- Breastpiece or “breastplate of judgment.”
- an ephod,
- a robe,
- a woven tunic,
- a turban
- and a sash
Let’s touch on a few essential pieces of the priestly garments:
It was made of linen, and it had two shoulder straps attached to it. These straps were attached to the ephod at the two upper corners. The ephod also had a waistband, which was made of gold and was also attached to the ephod at the two upper corners (Exodus 28:27-28).
The high priest also wore a plate of pure gold on his forehead. This plate was inscribed with the words “HOLY TO THE LORD.” The high priest was to wear this plate whenever he went into the Holy of Holies, the most sacred room in the tabernacle or temple (Exodus 28:36-38).
12 stones on the breastplate
The ephod had twelve different stones set in it. The stones represented the twelve tribes of Israel, and they were arranged in four rows of three stones each.
Here is a super detailed video that explains the priestly garments with a very good visual:
Urim and Thummim
Exodus 28:30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.
Urim and Thummim are two stones that were set in the ephod and were used to inquire of the Lord about specific matters.
When a priest would inquire of the Lord about a specific matter, he would put his hand on the appropriate stone. The Lord would then answer the question through the stone.
Urim and Thummim were used to ask questions about war, judgment, and guidance from God.
The Bible mentions Urim and Thummim many times.
Let’s look at three instances:
- In Exodus 28, we see that Urim and Thummim were to be placed in the ephod, a garment worn by the high priest.
- In Numbers 27, Urim and Thummim are used to help settle a dispute.
- And in Deuteronomy 33, Urim and Thummim are used to help find guidance from God.
Urim and Thummim’s significance for Christians today
As previously stated,Urim and Thummim were an important part of the ephod and were used to inquire of the Lord about specific matters. Although there is some mystery around it, it appears that the stones were a way for the Israelites to hear from God directly.
Today, we don’t have Urim and Thummim, but here is what we can learn from their use in the Old Testament:
- They show us that we can consult God on all of our decisions. When we are trying to make a decision, we can ask God for guidance, and He will show us what to do. This doesn’t always mean that he will give us an immediate answer, but if we trust him and follow his leading, he will never lead us astray. We don’t need an ephod or any special objects in order to do this; all we need is the Holy Spirit.
- If you are unsure of what to do, don’t be afraid to ask God for guidance. He is our ever-present help (See Psalm 46:1) and will always give you the best advice. Trust him, and you will never go wrong.
12 Fascinating Facts About the Ephod in the Bible
- From my earlier description, it appears that the ephod was a very beautiful and intricate garment.
- The ephod was a garment that was to be worn by the High Priest. The high priest was the one who represented the people before God.
- The ephod was also a symbol of the unity of the people. The twelve stones on the breastplate represented the twelve tribes of Israel. They were all united under one High Priest.
- The high priest wore it when he went into the Holy of Holies to intercede with God on behalf of the people. It was also a symbol of his office. He was the one who would offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.
- Anyone who dared to wear it without being authorized by God Himself would be judged harshly.
- The ephod also symbolized the high priest’s authority over the people.
- The ephod also symbolized the importance of obedience to God’s laws. The high priest was to wear the ephod as a reminder that he must obey all of God’s laws.
- The ephod symbolized the authority that God had given to the Aaronic priesthood.
- The tribe of Levi was set apart by God to be His holy ministers. From the tribe of Levi, the family of Aaron was chosen to serve as priests. (Numbers 18:23)
- The descendants of Aaron were responsible for offering sacrifices and keeping the tabernacle—or, later, the temple—clean and orderly. The other Levites were tasked with helping the priests in these duties (Numbers 18:1-7)
- Today, the ephod is not worn by the High Priest. However, it is still a very important part of Jewish tradition and culture. It is often used in ceremonial dress, and it is also used in religious artwork.
- The Ephod is a beautiful reminder of the history of the Jewish people and their faith.
Stories about the ephod in the bible
The ephod played an important role in the lives of both Gideon and David. Let’s take a look:
1. Gideon’s ephod becomes a snare
Judges 8:27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
Gideon was a judge in Israel and led the Israelites to victory against the Midianites. After his victory, Gideon made an ephod out of the gold that he had captured from the Midianites.
Let’s take a closer look at why this act of making an ephod became a snare…
(a) Source of idol worship for the Israelites.
The Bible tells us that we are not to worship anything but God. When Gideon made the ephod, he made it an object of worship for the Israelites. Gideon’s ephod became a snare because it was an object of worship. The people of Israel worshipped the ephod as if it were a god. They sacrificed to it and made offerings to it. This led to idolatry and spiritual adultery.
(b) Led to division among the Israelites.
In Judges, we see that there was already a lot of division among the Israelites. Gideon’s ephod just added to this division. People started arguing over who should wear the ephod and who shouldn’t. This led to even more division among the Israelites.
(c) No authority behind it
The ephod didn’t have the Aaronic priesthood or Levites behind it to give it authority. For an object to be considered an object of worship, it must have the approval of the Aaronic priesthood and Levites.
What we can learn about this snare today?
Just like how the ephod easily became a snare based on the three points provided, we can draw some lessons that we can apply today. Here goes:
Modern-day society can replace Jesus Christ with various things. We can replace Jesus Christ with money, power, status, or possessions. We can also replace Jesus Christ with our own self-righteousness. When we do this, we make an idol out of something that is not God. We set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment.
We will ultimately be let down when we put our trust in anything other than Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship and devotion. He is the only one who can truly meet our needs. He is the only one who can give us true peace and satisfaction. Only he can save us from our sins and give us eternal life. Only he is worthy of our worship and devotion.
2. “Bring me the Ephod”- David
When David and his men returned to Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had raided the city and burned it down. The Amalekites also took captive all the women and children.
It is at this time that David said to the priest, “Bring me the ephod.” (See 1 Samuel 30:7)
Per my previous explanations, the Ephod was a garment that was only to be worn by the high priest. It symbolized authority and power and signified the wearer’s status as a mediator between God and man.
Why did David request the ephod knowing he wasn’t the High Priest? Well…
- When David asked for the Ephod, he was asking for a symbol of God’s presence and favor. He wanted to wear it to signify that God was with him and would help him defeat his enemies.
- Although David was not a priest, he was a man of God who sought to follow His will in all things. Wearing the Ephod demonstrated his humility and faith.
Jesus is our high priest
Hebrews 4:14-15 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
The ephod was a symbol of the authority of the high priest. In Jesus, we have someone who has even more authority. He is our high priest, and he represents us before God. We don’t need an ephod anymore, because Jesus fulfilled its purpose. The spiritual significance of the ephod is that it points to Jesus as our high priest. When we understand this, we can see how important it is to have a relationship with him. Jesus is the one who can help us find forgiveness and eternal life. We don’t need anything else when we have him.
What is the spiritual meaning of the ephod today? (significance and symbolism)
1. Reminder to us of our need for a Savior
Just as the high priest went into the Holy of Holies to commune with God on behalf of the people, we need a Savior to go into the presence of God on our behalf. We are sinners in need of a Savior. But praise be to God, we have a Savior! His name is Jesus Christ, and He is our great High Priest. He has gone into the presence of God on our behalf and has made intercession for us. Because of His sacrifice, we can have eternal life.
2. Reminder to “wear Jesus Christ”
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes about the importance of clothing ourselves with Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:27).
So, just as the ephod was a reminder of God’s power for the Israelites, so too can our relationship with Jesus be a source of strength and comfort for us. When we wear Jesus Christ, we are clothed in his righteousness and are forgiven of our sins. We are also given the Holy Spirit, who helps us to grow in our relationship with God.
3. Important biblical symbol
The ephod is a very important symbol in the Bible. It reminds us of our need to obey God’s laws and of His authority over us. It also points to Jesus Christ, the ultimate High Priest, who sacrificed Himself for our sins.
4. We need God!
The ephod is also a reminder of our need for God. We cannot do anything without Him. We are dependent on Him for everything. The ephod reminds us that we need to seek His face and ask for His help in everything we do.
5. Reminder that we are set apart
The ephod reminds us that we are set apart. We are also called to be holy people, set apart for His (God’s) purposes.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
6. Represents the authority and power that God has given to His people
Although the significance of the ephod has changed over time, it still represents the authority and power that God has given to His people. It reminds us that we are His chosen people and have been given authority over the enemy.
And that’s it, folks, the ephod in the bible
As stated earlier, there is a part of the ephod called “the breastplate of judgment.” However, now- through Jesus, we have the breastplate of righteousness. Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I break this down.
I hope this post shows you the depth of the word of God and how the Lord Jesus came to fulfill the law. 🙏🏽
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.“
May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised forever and ever!
P.S Here is the YouTube video that relates to this blog post: