Speaking of Exodus...

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JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been learning quite a bit about parts of Exodus from this thread: https://www.puritanboard.com/thread...s-on-the-return-to-egypt.100350/#post-1225434

So, I thought I’d start a new thread to ask about this passage, Exodus 28:33-35.

I have heard all sorts of explanations, from the outlandish to the possible. the problem is, I have no idea what to make of it.
I would love to glean some insight from the members of this board. What do you think is the significance of Aaron/high priest having bells around his hem? I know it isn’t to alert the Lord that the high priest is there (as I also have heard), but why?

Here is the passage:
Exodus 28:33–35 (NAS): You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around:
34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe.
35 “It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the Lord, so that he will not die.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
There are many things in Exodus that have to be done in order for the priests not to die, such as washing. The most basic level is that God's commands were to be followed scrupulously, and any carelessness towards them could result in death.

The reason for the bells is not quite as apparent. It is clearly related to the sound that they make. The other important thing we know about them is that they were interspersed with the pomegranates. If those clearly imply fruitfulness, the bells would seem to imply beauty. In other words, the high priest approaches God clothed in garments that are splendid with holiness in multiple dimensions. God's justifying grace makes his people fruitful and beautiful.
 

JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you very much, Reuben. That’s one of the most plausible answers I’ve heard so far.
I definitely agree that the bells are related to the melody they make. Maybe like combining music with the sacrifices?
Or maybe I am way off there?

There are many things in Exodus that have to be done in order for the priests not to die, such as washing. The most basic level is that God's commands were to be followed scrupulously, and any carelessness towards them could result in death.

The reason for the bells is not quite as apparent. It is clearly related to the sound that they make. The other important thing we know about them is that they were interspersed with the pomegranates. If those clearly imply fruitfulness, the bells would seem to imply beauty. In other words, the high priest approaches God clothed in garments that are splendid with holiness in multiple dimensions. God's justifying grace makes his people fruitful and beautiful.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
V35 indicates that the sound of his movement was about the most important thing.

Commentators Keil&Delitzsch connect this passage with Num.15:38-39, which reads:

“Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.”
A portion of the relevant comments goes as follows,

"Every Israelite is directed to make a fringe in the border of his garment, of dark-blue purple thread, and when he looks at the fringe to remember the commandments of God and do them....

"Through the robe, with this pendant attached, Aaron was represented as the recipient and medium of the word and testimony which came down from heaven; and this was the reason why he was not to appear before the Lord without that sound, lest he should forfeit his life. It was not because he would simply have appeared as a private person if he had gone without it, for he would always have the holy dress of a priest upon him, even when he was not clothed in the official decorations of the high priest; but because no mere priest was allowed to enter the immediate presence of the Lord. This privilege was restricted to the representative of the whole congregation, viz., the high priest; and even he could only do so when wearing the robe of the word of God, as the bearer of the divine testimony, upon which the covenant fellowship with the Lord was founded."​

So, first they note that there were other "fringe" or "hem" adornments commanded to Israel. The bells&pomegranates were not unique in that sense. Then, they observe the specific directions that are associated with the more common adornments. They key in upon the fact that they serve as signs to the Israelite pointing him to the commandments, to the word of the covenant LORD and the man's duty to believe the word and obey.

Then they argue from the lesser to the greater: i.e. if this, then most likely even more that. In this case, the "more" is on account of the increased sanctity and the truly unique, one-of-a-kind dress of the high priest--even more set apart than ordinary priests.

Under this interpretation, the robe not only points visually to the word; there is an actual aural quality to it. It is a "beautiful" or "pleasant" sound. God delights in his own word, particularly as it is repeated back to him in worship. And here is the grand representative of and for Israel, clothed in the garment of word of God literally from head to toe (consider the rest of the passage), a veritable word-incarnate.

Remind you of anyone?
 

JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
Wow, that is beautiful! Thank you, Reverend.



V35 indicates that the sound of his movement was about the most important thing.

Commentators Keil&Delitzsch connect this passage with Num.15:38-39, which reads:

“Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.”
A portion of the relevant comments goes as follows,

"Every Israelite is directed to make a fringe in the border of his garment, of dark-blue purple thread, and when he looks at the fringe to remember the commandments of God and do them....

"Through the robe, with this pendant attached, Aaron was represented as the recipient and medium of the word and testimony which came down from heaven; and this was the reason why he was not to appear before the Lord without that sound, lest he should forfeit his life. It was not because he would simply have appeared as a private person if he had gone without it, for he would always have the holy dress of a priest upon him, even when he was not clothed in the official decorations of the high priest; but because no mere priest was allowed to enter the immediate presence of the Lord. This privilege was restricted to the representative of the whole congregation, viz., the high priest; and even he could only do so when wearing the robe of the word of God, as the bearer of the divine testimony, upon which the covenant fellowship with the Lord was founded."​

So, first they note that there were other "fringe" or "hem" adornments commanded to Israel. The bells&pomegranates were not unique in that sense. Then, they observe the specific directions that are associated with the more common adornments. They key in upon the fact that they serve as signs to the Israelite pointing him to the commandments, to the word of the covenant LORD and the man's duty to believe the word and obey.

Then they argue from the lesser to the greater: i.e. if this, then most likely even more that. In this case, the "more" is on account of the increased sanctity and the truly unique, one-of-a-kind dress of the high priest--even more set apart than ordinary priests.

Under this interpretation, the robe not only points visually to the word; there is an actual aural quality to it. It is a "beautiful" or "pleasant" sound. God delights in his own word, particularly as it is repeated back to him in worship. And here is the grand representative of and for Israel, clothed in the garment of word of God literally from head to toe (consider the rest of the passage), a veritable word-incarnate.

Remind you of anyone?
 
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