Exodus 39

The Word Made Fresh

1Finally, seven sets of clothing were made of blue, purple and crimson yarn for those who would serve in the sanctuary, and another set of ritual clothes for Aaron, according to the LORD’s instructions.

2Aaron’s apron was made of gold, set in blue, purple, and crimson yarns woven into fine linen. 3The gold was hammered and threads drawn out to skillfully work into the yarn and the linen. 4Then shoulder straps were attached to the edges of the apron, 5decorated straps of the same material and design as the apron, just as the LORD had described to Moses.

6The onyx stones were prepared and set in gold and engraved with the names of the sons of Israel. 7They were affixed to the shoulder straps as a remembrance for the sons of Israel as the LORD had told Moses.

8Bezalel then had the vest made by those who had the skills to do so. It was made of the same material and of the same design as the apron, 9doubled over into a square nine inches on each side. 10The twelve precious stones were then attached to it in four rows with three stones to a row; ruby, topaz, and beryl in the first row; 11turquoise, sapphire, and emerald in the second; 12jacinth, agate, and amethyst in the third, 13and chrysolite, onyx, and jasper in the fourth, all in gold settings. 14The twelve stones had the names of the twelve tribes of Israel etched into them. 15Twisted gold chains were attached to the vest, 16and two gold settings with gold rings were fixed to the edges of the vest 17with the gold chains attached to them. 18The ends of the chains were affixed to the shoulder straps of the apron. 19Two more rings of gold were added to the ends of the vest next to the apron. 20Two additional gold rings were fashioned and fastened to the lower ends of the shoulder straps just above where it was joined to the apron. 21The vest was bound to the apron with blue cords through the rings so that it was held close to the apron and could not swing loose from it. This is what the LORD commanded.

22Bezalel also had the lower skirt of the apron woven in blue yarn. 23Its opening in the middle was like the opening in a coat of armor, bound on its edges to keep it from tearing. 24On the lower hem was sewn pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarn woven into the fine linen. 25They made gold bells attached between the pomegranates all around the lower hem 26so that bells and pomegranates alternated around the whole length of the hem, just as the LORD had instructed Moses.

27Bezalel had the gowns made of fine linen for Aaron and his sons, 28and the turban, the headdresses, and undergarments, all of fine linen. 29There was also the belt of linen twisted with blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and decorated with needlework as the LORD commanded Moses.

30They made the circle of the sacred crown of pure gold. They engraved it with this inscription: “Set apart to the LORD.” 31They tied it to the turban with a blue cord, as the LORD had described.

32This is how all the work was finished for the sanctuary and the meeting tent. The Israelites had done everything according to the plans the LORD had given Moses. 33They brought everything to Moses: the tent; the tools; the hooks; the frames; the bars; the posts; the bases; 34the rams’ skin and leather coverings; the curtain for the screen; 35the chest containing the law with its carrying poles and special cover; 36the table and its tools; the special bread signifying the LORD’s presence; 37the lampstand with its lamps and tools and oil for the light; 38the small altar of gold; the oil for anointing and the sweet-smelling incense; the screen at the entrance of the tent; 39the large bronze plated altar and its grating, along with its carrying poles and tools and the basin with its stand; 40the panels for the courtyard with the poles and bases, and the screen for the entrance with its ropes and pegs; and all the tools for the upkeep of the sanctuary and the meeting tent. 41They also brought all the clothing to be used by those who served in the holy place of the sanctuary and the sacred garments for Aaron and for his sons to wear when they went about their priestly duties.

42The Israelites had done everything just as the LORD had instructed Moses. 43When Moses saw that they had completed everything as instructed, he praised them to the LORD.


1: Now Bezalel and his craftsmen turn to the tailoring of all the vestments to be worn by Aaron and his sons. Verses 1-31 follow the instructions given Moses on Mt. Sinai as recorded in 28:4-43.

2-5: The ephod of blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine twisted linen interwoven with gold threads is made first.

6-7: Onyx stones are engraved with the names of the 12 sons of Jacob and fastened to the ephod in gold encasements.

8-21: The breast piece is described next. It is an intricate garment to which is attached 12 gems inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes.

22-26: Aaron’s robe of fine linen is fabricated with a fringe of bells and pomegranates.

27-29: The tunics, turbans, and headdresses are tailored next for Aaron and his sons, along with the sashes.

30-31: The rosette with the inscription “Set apart to the LORD” (“Holy to the Lord”) is made and fastened to Aaron’s turban.

32-43: All the items are tallied and grouped together. Then they bring all the stuff they have made and stack it up in front of Moses, and Moses blesses them.


The tedious preparations for the priesthood are clues that faith will be a central element in the life of the people of Israel. It seems a bit extravagant to us, but then what is too much when it comes to the expression of our faith in the God who made us?