This decorative piece is first mentioned in Exod. 25:7, then 28:4, but described in detail in Exod. 28:15-30 and repeated in Exod. 39:8-21.

It functioned as a symbol of the preciousness of the twelve tribes to God. Their names were on the precious stones of the Breastplate, located over Aaron's heart, Exod. 28:29. It is called "the breastplate of judgment" (BDB 365 construct BDB 1048) in Exod. 28:15,29,30. This probably referred to the Urim and Thummim, as a way to discern God's will.

In design

1. same colors as ephod, Exod. 28:15

2. it folded into a double square – span (space from little finger tip to thumb tip with palm outstretched) by span, Exod. 28:16

3. four rows of three stones with the name of a tribe engraved on each, Exod. 28:17-21

4. had two gold chains that connected it to the shoulder stones of the High Priest's vest, Exod. 28:22-28

5. a pouch containing the Urim and Thummim was behind the breastplate and over the High Priest's heart, Exod. 28:30

One good example of this is the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), where he and he alone entered the Holy of Holies on behalf of corporate Israel's sin.


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