Foote: The Ephod

                        Journal of Biblical Literature 21 (1902) 1-47.

                                                  Public Domain.




                           The Ephod.



                                       DR. THEODORE C. FOOTE.

                                                       JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY.


                                                1. INTRODUCTION.


            THE popular notion of the Hebrew ephodh is that of a long flow-

ing garment, and is drawn in part, no doubt, from the descrip-

tion in Ex. 28 and 39, but also very largely from pictorial Bibles,

representing a high priest in a long robe, and from sacred prints of

little Samuel in a neat white tunic not unlike the surplice of a modern

choir boy.

            Learned commentators have set forth many widely divergent views

concerning the ephod, which fall roughly into two classes. The first

class presents a view, based upon Ex. 28 and 39, that the ephod was

a garment, and never anything else.1 This is the opinion of all the

old commentators. St. Jerome, Ep. ad Marcellam, writes: “There

were two kinds of ephods: one, used solely by the high priest, which    

is the kind now generally referred to; the other, of linen, used by

minor priests and worn also by the Levites and even by laymen, when

engaged in a sacred rite.”

            The same view is emphatically stated by Thenius.2 The ephod

is nowhere (not even in Hos. 3:4) anything else than a shoulder gar-

ment, as is shown also by the fact that all the Versions, in all passages

where the word occurs (with the single exception of the unimportant   

Arabic translation of Jud. 8:27), either put the name itself, or garment

mantle and the like.  


            1 This view is advanced by ancient writers such as Josephus and Jerome, in

the Middle Ages by Rashi, and since then by Bertheau, Braunius, Cassell, Dill-

mann, Duff, Gesenius-Buhl, Keil, Kohler, Konig, Lotz, Maimonides, McClintock

and Strong, Meyer, Riehm, J. Robertson, Thenius, and Zeller.

            2 "Die Bucher Samuels" (in the Kgf. exeg. Handb.), 2d ed., Leipzig, 1864,

new ed. by Lohr.


2                      JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE.


            An English view to the same effect is given in a recent book3, by

Professor Robertson, of Glasgow; speaking of Gideon's ephod, he

says: "Whatever was made, was a thing of magnificence, and implied

costly surroundings; but it is not, by all this, proved that ephod

means an image. It may have been merely a coat of extraordinary

magnificence, so heavy that it could stand alone, as we say; it may

have been placed upon an image; but it was an ephod, and an

ephod, so far as the usage of the language tells us, was a coat or


            The second class of views concerning the ephod would make it

in some places an image and in others a garment.4 The citations

are given somewhat at length because they are the most authoritative

and recent critical opinions.

            Benzinger says5 that Yahweh was very commonly represented by a

bull, but almost more frequently the idol was what is called an ephod.

It appears as the proper object of worship in the celebrated sanctua-

ries of Dan (Jud. 1  and 18), Ophra (Jud. 8:27), Nob (1 Sa. 21:10; 23:6).

Of course it represented Yahweh. About its form we know nothing.

From the name ephod ‘covering, garment,’ it may be concluded that

it had a kernel of wood, clay, or cheap metal, and over it a mantle

of gold or silver, often of great value. Its special significance lies in

this, that it was inseparably connected with the sacred lot. The

management of the ephod was, therefore, the affair of the priest; at

any rate the ephod needed a servant and, as a rule, a house also. It

was the means whereby one inquired of God. It is remarkable that

the official garment of the priests is likewise called ephod--more

exactly ephodh badh, the ‘linen ephod,’ 1 Sa. 2:18 and elsewhere, to

distinguish it from the former. It is not a bad idea of Smend's that

perhaps the image was originally clothed in an ephodh badh; cf. the

custom among the old Arabs of putting on garments and swords

(Wellhausen, Skizzen, III. 99).6  The expression  nose ephodh, as the

name of the priest, which was afterwards referred to the linen coat,


            3 Early Religion of Israel, Edin. and London, 1892, p. 231.

            4 Variosly modified, this view is advanced by Alizon, Benzinger, Budde,

De Wette, Driver, Eichhorn, Gescnius, Gramberg, Hengstenberg, Kautzsch, Kittel,

Kuenen, Marti, Maybaum, J. D. Michaelis, Montefiore, Moore, Nowack, Reuss,

H. Schultz, Smend, W. R. Smith, Stade, Studer, Vatke, and Wellhausen. Duhm

thinks a 'mask,' Sellin a 'quiver'; cf. below, p. 4.

            5 Hebraische Archaologie, 1894, p. 382 f.

            6 Wellhausen, l.c., says it is not necessary to suppose that garments and

swords were put on images; they may have been put on stones or trees.


                                    FOOTS: THE EPHOD.                                                         3


meant originally nothing else than the bearer of the image (I Sa. 14:3, LXX).7

            Professor Moore of Harvard in his Commentary on Judges, New

York, 1895, p. 379, has the following: "Gideon's ephod . . . was

clearly an idol of some kind," adding in a footnote, "It would be

more exact to say, an agalma; in using the word idol here and below,

I do not wish to be understood to assume that it was iconic.  All that

can with certainty be gathered from then, [the passages where ephod

occurs in judges and Samuel] is that it was a portable object which       

was employed or manipulated by the priest in consulting the oracle.

In the Priests' Law-book, the ephod is a part of the ceremonial dress   

of the high priest, to which the oracle-pouch containing Urim and

Thummim is attached; but, while it is probable that the oracle of

the high priest is a survival of the ancient priestly oracle by the

ephod, it is impossible to explain the references to the ephod in Judges

and Samuel by the descriptions in P." More recently,8 Moore sug-


            7 It may be as well to introduce here some consideration of the ephod badh

which, in the above extract, is supposed to mean ‘linen ephod.' The word db,

‘linen,’ has no etymology, although it has been proposed to regard it as an error

for dk, connected with kad the Sumerian prototype of the Assyrian kitu, which

may have meant ‘linen.’ The most serious objection to the rendering ‘linen’

however, is found in Ex. 39:28 (see below, p. 11) where it is stated that the ysenk;mi

db, supposed to mean ‘linen breeches,’ were made of ww, a material which may

mean ‘muslin’ or ‘linen.’  The LXX omits db, though Theodotion, restores it

transliterated, thus showing that the word was not understood.  The Targum

rendering is the same as that of our English versions.  It seems clear that db did

not mean the material of the garment, and was misunderstood by the time the

Versions were made. Professor Haupt has suggested that the db dvpx is equiva-

lent to peri<zwman mori<ou, subligaculum membri; db, a ‘member’ of the body,

as in Job 18:13b, is identical with db, a ‘part,’ cf. pars (virilis).  In Ex. 25:13ff.

1 Ki. 8:7; Num. 4;6, MyDiBa means ‘poles’ (Latin asser) just as fallo<j may be

connected with palus.  The fallo<j was originally a piece of fig or olive wood.

The expression in Ex. 28:42, db ysnkm, rendered ‘linen breeches,’ is probably to

be understood as a ‘covering of the nakedness,’ i.e. ‘kilts’ (see Note A).  The

two phrases which follow, viz.:  hvr;f, rWb tys.kal ‘to cover the flesh of naked-

ness, and vyhy Myikarey dfv MyntmAm ‘they shall reach from the loins even to the

thighs,' seem to be explanatory glosses.  Josephus, Antiquities, iii. 7. l, calls it

the dia<zwma peri> ta> ai]doi?a, and Philo peri<zwma ei]j ai]doi<wn skephn. The

mikhnese badh, if this interpretation of db be correct, will not be ‘breeches’ (cf.

Pesh. xmyvrp= peri<zwma), but like the Sotch kilt, a very shirt skirt such as is

seen in representations on Egyptian and Babylonian monuments. (For an

extended examination of the passages with db, see Note D.)  We must then       

understand ephodh badh to be ephodh partis (virilis).

            8 Cheyne-Black's Encyclopaedia Biblica, vol. ii., New York, 1901, under


            4          JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE.


gests that the ephod may have been a loincloth; but adheres to his

former distinction between the ephod garment and ephod-idol.

            Professor Marti, of Berne, after discussing the Teraphim, says:9

"Not with the same certainty can the origin of the ephod be deter-

mined. It is certain, however, that it also signifies an image of a

god. But where we now find it in the O.T. in this sense, it must

be taken as an image of Yahweh (in Ophra, where Gideon sets it up,

Jud. 8:26, 27, in Dan, Jud. 18:18ff, also before in 17:5ff and in Nob,

1 Sa. 21:10; 23:6ff).  It could, therefore, owe its origin only to a subse-

quent period. This, however, is not probable. Here also it is

much easier to assume that the old custom of making images of

gods, as the Teraphim at any rate testifies to, was transferred to

Yahweh. Therefore we have to discuss here the sacred object called

the ephod.

            “The name ephod points to the fact that, earlier, these images had

an overlaying of silver or gold (cf. Jud. 8:21; 17:4f), and that even

molten images were found (cf. Ex. 32,  I Ki. 12:28).”

            Professor Sellin, of Vienna,10 speaking of arrows used in giving the

torah, says:  “Perhaps they were bound together in a bundle (cf.

1 Sa. 25:29), at any rate carried in or at the ephod. This must have

been either a covering over the arrows, just as the bow and arrows

of a warrior were put in a covering (Hab. 3:9; Zech. 9:13), or more

probably a girdle or band on which was carried the quiver with the

arrows (cf. rOzxe), and in the course of time the name of the band

came to signify the entire oracle instrument. dvpx never signifies an

image of a god, no matter how much this is maintained as certain;

not even Jud. 8:26f. (cf. Konig, Hauptprobleme, p. 62). Rather is

this signification excluded by Jud. 17:4f; 18:14, 20; Hos. 3:4 (cf. also

Ez. 21:27; molten image, ephod, and teraphim are three separate

things. Nor is that meaning possible in 1 Sa. 14:18, for one man did

not carry the image before his people; more likely a wagon was

used. On the other hand, the word in these passages, and also in

1 Sa. 23:6; 30:7 can as little signify the simple priestly garment, which,

precisely to distinguish it from that ephod, was called ephodh badh

(1 Sa. 2:18; 22:18; 2 Sa. 6:14).  Now ephodh is certainly a covering of

metal or with metal woven into it (Is. 30:22; Ex. 28:8; 39:5). It seems

to me to follow as a certainty from 1 Sa. 14:3, 18, 41 of LXX, 30:7, that


   9 Die Geschichte der israslitischen Religion, Strassburg, 1897, pp. 29 and


 10 Beitrage zur israzlitischen und judischen Religionsgeschichte, Leipzig, 1897,

II., p. 115 ff.

                                    FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                             5


ephodh has this meaning, and was, therefore, either a covering over

the Urim, or, better, a band on which the priest carried it."11

            Professor Kautzsch12 explains ephod as 'covering,' especially the

linen shoulder garment of the priest. In the Textbibel it is always

retained wherever it signifies an image of Yahweh used for oracular

purposes, overlaid with precious metal or perhaps more correctly a

shoulder garment.

            Professor Budde says:13  “It is true that ephod signifies also a

priestly garment, but only with the addition badh (1 Sa. 2:18; 2 Sa. 6:14

1 Chr. 15:27). Both significations are later combined in the ephod of

the high priest in the source P, the shoulder garment into which the

oracle of the Urim and Thummim was inserted. The old ephod of

our passage and those referred to, must somehow have represented

the Deity, and also have been at a later time repudiated. The

gold formed the covering of a kernel of another material; but

whether the word ephod is to be derived from a root signifying to

draw over, cover, according to Is. 30:22, remains very questionable."

            For convenience of reference the description of the ephod as

found in the Priests' Code is here given, being condensed from

Ex. 28 and 39.

            Ex. 39:2: “Moses made the ephod14 of gold Blue, and purple, and

scarlet, and fine twined linen. They beat the gold into thin sheets

and cut it into wires, to work it: in the blue, in the purple, in the

scarlet and in the fine twined linen the work of the skilled weaver.

They made shoulder pieces for the ephod; joining together: the ephod

was jointed together at the two ends. The skilfully woven piece that

was upon it, to gird it on with, was of the same piece and similar

workmanship.  And he made the ornament (breastplate), the work

of the skilled weaver, like the work of the ephod. The ornament was

square and double, being a span in length and breadth. They bound

the ornament by its rings, to the rings of the ephod with a lacing of

blue to keep it in place on the skilfully woven piece of the ephod that

it might not be loosed front the ephod." Ex. 28:30: "Thou shall put

in the ornament of judgment the Urim and Thmmim that they may

be upon Aaron's heart." Ex. 39:22 "Moses made the robe of the


            11 Dr. Sellin's view does not exactly fit either of the two classes.

            12 Textbibel des Alten und Neuen Testaments. Erklarung der Fremdworter,

s.v. " Ephod."

            13 Richter, Freiburg, 1897, p. 68.

            14 The italicized parts, read consecutively, will give as clear an idea of this

ephod as can be gotten from such a confusing description.

6                      JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE.


ephod of woven work, all of blue, and the hole of the robe in the

middle of it. They made upon the skirts of the robe pomegranates

of blue, etc."

            It must not be forgotten that the above account, taken from the

book of Exodus, is several centuries later than the latest pre-exilic

mention of the ephod; and to attempt to make it a starting-point

in an investigation of the ancient ephod, would be like trying to

understand Gutenberg's first attempt at printing by starting with an

intricate description of the latest cylinder press. If one is con-

strained to question the later composition of the Priests' Code, the

following investigation may help him to see that this is not an arbi-

trary, but rather art unavoidable, conclusion.

            The graphic account which follows presents the ephod in quite as

interesting if not so picturesque an aspect, and leads one to inquire

what the ephod actually was.

            In 2 Sa. 6:14ff is the story15 of the bringing up of the Ark from the

house of Obed-Edom, to the tent16 made for it at Jerusalem. David

had not only succeeded Saul on the throne of Israel, but had also

married his daughter Michal, 1 Sa. 18:27, who held a prominent posi-

tion among his many wives. The procession in which the Ark was

borne, moved along with pomp and ceremony. David danced before

the sacred palladium with great enthusiasm, being girded with an

ephod. All the Israelitish nation assisted in bringing up the Ark of

Yahweh with shouting and the sound of trumpets. As the Ark

entered the city the women lined the way. David danced with great

spirit, and Michal, looking out from the palace, saw him and became

exceedingly angry.

            The Ark was at length placed in the tent, and David, thoroughly

exhausted by the long festivity, returned to his palace to greet his

family. So far overcome by her feelings that she forgot all other


    15 Taken from the document J, probably not later than 850 B.C.

    16 The distinctive name for the Tabernacle is NKAw;mi, ‘dwelling,’ though it was

very commonly described as dfvm lhxo, ‘Tent of Meeting.’  David evidently

knew nothing of the Tabernacle of the Priests' Code, Ex. 26 and 35, but impro-

vises a tent for the reception of the Ark. A comparison of 2 Chr. 1:4 with 1:13

shows that the ‘Tent of Meeting,’ dfvm lhxo was at Gibeon, according to the

Chronicler, but it is inconceivable that David could have known of such a

divinely ordained and venerable Tent, made especially for the Ark, and then

have improvised another. The consciousness of its unfitness leads David to plan

the building of a temple. It may be noted, also, in connection with the above

narrative, that, if our explanation of ephod be correct, David could not have

known of Ex. 20:25, forbidding indecent exposure during sacred rites.

                            FOOTS: THE EPHOD.                                 7


considerations, Michal went out to Meet her royal spouse and said,

“How glorious was the king of Israel to-day, who uncovered himself

to-day in the sight of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the

shameless fellows!”  David said to Michal, “I will dance17 before          

Yahweh! Blessed be Yahweh, who chose me in preference to thy

father and all his kin, to appoint me prince over the people of

Yahweh!  Therefore I shall play before Yahweh.  And even if I

should uncover myself still more and be contemptible in thine eyes,

I am sure that the girls you allude to will respect my royal dignity'."18

The story closes with the statement: "And Michal the daughter of

Saul never had another child." Orthodox commentators attribute

the curse of barrenness to divine retribution.  It is more natural,

however, to suppose that David was so disgusted with Michal that

he ceased visiting her, which was social death to the member of

harem. Michal's jealousy would evidently not have been aroused

if the ephod had been, as is commonly supposed, a long flowing

garment. It is more likely that David was divested of his clothing,

as was, on certain occasions (e.g. 1 Sa. 19:24) customary among

Semitic peoples [see Note B], and was gilded with the ephod, as if

an apron, or as Professor Haupt has suggested, a loincloth.

            RESUME.--The principal views regarding the ephod are as follows:

(I) It was always a garment worn by a priest; (2) it was always a

garment, whether on priest or idol; (3) it was a garment and also

an idol; (I) it was a garment and a quiver or quiver belt. The only

description given in the O.T. shows that the ephod was something

depending front the shoulders to the waist, and put on over a long

robe. But this entirely fails to satisfy the narrative in 2 Sa. 6.


            17 The Received Test is evidently corrupt. After the words hvhy ynpl, the

LXX has hvhy jvrbv dq.erxE.  The phrase lxrWy lf seems like an explanatory

gloss.  For ytl.oqan;y,  ‘I will be vile,’ the LXX  reads kai> a]pokalufqh<somai=

ytylegnv, ‘I will uncover myself,’ thus making clear an otherwise confused state-

ment. The Masoretic text shows signs of having been tampered with

is an indefinite expression not corresponding to txzm dvf.  The LXX reading

jyinayfb, ‘in thine eyes,’ for 'in my eyes,' brings out the antithesis which lies

between Michal's feeling and that of the handmaids. Driver strangely neglects

the LXX on this passage; cf. Notes on the Hebrew Text of Samuel, Oxford, 1890

p. 210. The Hebrew text restored would then read:  jUrbv dq.eraxE hvhy ynpl

[ LxrWy lf ] hvhy Mf lf dygn ytx tyocal vtyb lKmv j`ybxmE yb rHb rwx hvhy

rwx tvhmAxEh Mfv j`yinayfb lpw ytyyhv txzm dvf ytylegnv :hvhy ynpl yTqFWv

:hdbeKAxi Mm.f T;rmx

            18 Literally: "And I shall play before Yahweh. And I shall uncover myself

more than this and I shall become contemptible in thine eyes. but with the

handmaids which you spoke of, with them, let me be honored."

8                      JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE.


                                    2. WHAT WAS THE EPHOD?

            The ephod is mentioned in seventeen different passages in the

Old Testament, and the word, with slight variation in form, occurs

fifty times. In studying the different passages, we must not overlook

the fact that the O.T. is not a homogeneous whole. If, therefore,

we wish to ascertain the original idea of the ephod, we must treat

the passages in chronological order. They cover a period of about

400 years, approximately from 800 B.C. to 400 B.C., while the actual

time between Gideon's ephod, Jud. 8:27, and the latest mention of

the ephod may have been well on to 1000 years. There was time

for development; and it is possible that the post-exilic ephod was

quite different from that of ancient Israel.

            More than half of all the places where the word ephod occurs

belong to the priestly sections of Exodus and Leviticus, which are

known to be not older, in their present shape, than 500 B.C. The

historical books are not the work of a single writer, but are com-

posed of several strata. The oldest stratum, or what is called the

Judaic document, was compiled not later than 800 B.C., and to this

document we must assign most of the passages from Judges and

Samuel in which the ephod is mentioned. For convenience of

reference, the pre-exilic passages are here given.


(1) Jud. 8:27  lk vnzyv (D) hrp;fAb vryfb vtvx gcee.yv dvpxel Nvfd;gi vtvx Wfyv (J)

   Mw vyrHx lxrWy "Gideon, made an ephod of it [the gold and raiment],

     and put it in his city Ophra, and all Israel went astray after it there."

     LXX, ei]j efwd.  Alia exempl. efoud.  Procopius in Catena Niceph. T. II.,

     p. 180:  Efoud, mantei?on h@ ei@dwlon.  ]A, e]pe<nduma.  V, Fecitque ex eo

    Gedeon ephod.  Pesh.,  xrpvf dbfv.

(2) Jud. 17:5, Myprtv dvqx Wfyv Myhlx tyb vl hkym wyxhv (J), "Micah had

   a private chapel, and he made an ephod and teraphim." LXX, efwd  kai>  

   qerafin. Syro-Hex., et alia exempl., efoud; 'A, e]pwmi<da; S, e@nduma

   i[eratiko<n;   ]A, morfw<mata; S, ei@dwla. V, Qui aediculam quoyue in ea

   Deo separavit, et fecit ephod et teraphim, id est, vestem sacerdotalem, et

   idola (O.L. et penates). Pesh., xsyrp tdp dbfv.

(3) Jud. 18:14: Myprtv dvpx hlxh MyTbAb wy yk Mtfdyh, (J), "Do you know

   that there are, in these houses, an ephod and teraphim?" LXX, efwd

   (al. ex. efoud) kai> qefrafin. V, Nostis quod in domibus istis sit ephod, et

   teraphim? Pesh., xsyrpv xtdpv.

(4) Jud. 18:17, Myprtho txv dvqxeh txv, "And the ephod and the teraphim."

   Perhaps a later addition, cf. Moore's Judges, Internat. Com., p. 397, and

   SBOT., Judges, p. 621.

                              FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 9

(5) Jud. 18:18, Myprth txv dvpxeh lsp tx vhqyv (J), "They took the image,

   the ephod, and the teraphim." LXX, kai> e@labon to> glupto>n kai> to>19

   efwd [alia, efoud] kai> to> qerafin. V, Tulerunt igitur qui intra rerant,

   sculptile, ephod, et idola.

(6) Jud. 18:20 lsph txv Myprth txv dvqxeh tx Hqyv (J),  "He took the

   ephod, the teraphim, and the graven image." LXX, to> efwd [alia,

   efoud] kai> to> qerafin kai> to> glupto<n. V, et tulit ephod et idola, ac


(7) 1 Sa. 2:18, db dvpxe rUgH rfn hvhy ynep tx trewm lxvmwv (E2), "Samuel

   ministered before Yahweh, a child, girded with an ephodh badh." LXX,

   kai> Samouhl h#n leitourgw?n e]nw<pion Kuri<ou paida<rion periezwsme<non efoud

   bad [alia exempt., bar 2)].  ‘A,  e]pe<nduma e]cai<reton. S, efoud linou?n.

   q, efwd bar.  V, puer, accinctus ephod lineo. Pesh., xcvbd xtdp.

(8) i Sa. 2:28, ynApl dvpxe txWl (RD), 'To bear an ephod before Me." LXX,

    kai> ai@ren efoud [alia, e]nw<pion e]mou?]. V, portabat ephod.

(9) 1 Sa. 14:3,   dvpxe xWen . . . hy.HixE  (J) “Ahijah bearing an ephod." LXX,

    ai@rwn efoud.   ]A, fe<rwn e]pedu<thn.  V, portabat ephod.

(10) 1 Sa. 14:18f  Jsx w rmxyv  . .(dvpxe), hwyGha hy.HixEl lvxw rmxyv21 (J)

    jdy, Saul said to Ahijah, Bring hither the ephod, for he bore the ephod

   at that time among the Israelites. . . . And Saul said, Withdraw thy

   hands." LXX, prosa<gage to> efoud;  o!ti au]to>j h#ren to> efoud  [alia

   exempl, o!ti h#n h[ kibwto>j tou? qeou?] e]n t^? h[me<r% e]kei<n^ e]nw<pion Israhl .    

   . . .  kai> ei#pe Saoul pro>j to>n i[ere<a, Suna<gage ta>j xei?ra<j sou.  V, Applica

   arcam Dei ... et ait Saul ad sacerdotem:  Contrahe manum tuam.


 19 kai> to> efwd probably indicates that dvpxeh lsp, which means the image of

the ephod, is a copyist's error, representing an original text dvpxh txv lsph.

This text is given in Field's Hexapla, with vHqlA for vHqyv.

  20 Hieronymi Opp., T. vi., p. 903: Et vestitus, inquit, erat Samuel EPHOD BAD,

id est, indumento lineo; bad enim linum appellatur, uncle et BADDIM lina di-

cuntur. Pro quo Hebraico Latinoque sermone male quidam legunt EI'HOD BAR;

siquidem BAR aut filius appellatur aut frumenti manipulus, aut electus, aut ou#loj id est, crispus.

  21 The Received Text reads: hyh yk Myhlxh NvrxE hwyGha hy.HxEl lvxw rmxyv

:lxrWy ynbv xvhh Mvyb Myhlxh NvrxE..  For “xh NvrxE hwyGha must be read, with

LXX, dvpxeh hwyGh not only because the Ark was at Kirjath Jearim at the time,

but because the instrument of divination was not the Ark, but the ephod, which

v. 3 takes pains to tell us Ahijah had with him. hwyGha is the regular expression

used with the ephod (cf. 23:9; 30:7). As to lxrWy ynbv . . . Myhlxh NvrxE hyh yk

Driver remarks (cf. Notes on Samuel, 1890, p. 84): lxrWy ynbv is untranslatable,

v never having the force of a preposition such as Mf, so as to be capable of being

a predicate with hyh.  We must read, with LXX, xvhh Mvyb dvpxeh xWen xvh yk

lxrWy ynpl.  It is certainly better to suppose ynbv to be corrupted from ynpl

than that ynpl has fallen out, leaving ynbv. Driver (loc. cit.) objects that ynpl

lxrWy alone at the end of a clause is bald, and against the usage of Heb. prose.

It is true that in Joshua and Chronicles lxrWy ynb is more common, but cf. ynpl

lxrWy in Josh. 11:6; 2 Sa. 10:15, 19; 1 Chr. 19:16, 19, also lxrWy ynpm in 2 Sa. 10:18, and

lxrWy ynplm in 1 Chr. 19:18. In two of the places cited lxrWy ynpl ends the first half

of the verse, and lxrWy-lf stands repeatedly at the end of the verse.



(11) 1 Sa. 21:10, dvpxeh yrHx hlmWb hFvl xyh hnh . . . tyl;GA brH (E1), "The

    sword of Goliath . . . there it is, wrapped in a mantle, behind the ephod."

   LXX, e]neilhme<nh h#n e]n i[mati<&, q adds, o]pi<sw th?j e]pwmi<doj.22 S, efoud.

   ‘A. e]pendu<matoj.  V, est involutus pallio post ephod.

(12) I Sa. 22:18, db dvpxe xWen wyx hwmHv Mynmw xvhh Mvyb tm,yAv (J),  “He

    killed that day eighty-five men bearing an ephodh badh.” LXX, pa<ntaj

    ai@rontaj efoud [Alex. li<non]. 'A, fe<rontaj e]pe<nduma e]cai<reton.  V, viros

   vestitos ephod lineo.

(13) 1 Sa. 23:6,  vdyb dry dvpxe, “An ephod went down in his hand." Probably

   a marginal gloss; cf. SBOT., Samuel, p. 70.

(14) 1 Sa. 23:9, dvpxeh hwykha Nhkh rtAyAb;x, lx rmxyv (David) said to the

   priest, Abiathar, Bring/ hither the ephod." LXX. prosa<gage to> efoud

    Kuri<ou. 'A, e@ggison to> e@nduma (fort. e]pe<nduma). V. Applica ephod

(15) 1 Sa. 30:7,  rtybx wGeyv dvpxeh tx xn hwyGha . . . rtybx lx dvd rmxyv (J)

   dvd lx dvqxeh tx, "David said to Abiathar, Please bring me the ephod;

   and Abiathar brought David the ephod." LXX, prosa<gage to> efoud;

    ]A, prose<ggison dh< moi to> e]pe<nduma;  S, sth?son pro>j me> th>n e]pwmi<da;

   V, Applica ad me ephod.

(16) 2 Sa. 6:14, db dvqxe rUgH dvdv (J), "David was girded with an ephodh

   badh.23 LXX, e]ndedukw>j stolh>n e@callon;  ]A, e]pe<nduma e]cai<reton;

    S, u[podu<thn  (fort. e]pendu<thn) linou?n. Praeterea Montefalconio edidit:

    a@lloj efwd bu<ssinon ex I Paral. 15:27 ut videtur.  V, David erat

    accinctus ephod lineo.  Pesh.,  xcvbd xtdp.

(17) I Ki. 2:26, ybx dvd ynpl ( dvpxeh ) tx tAxWn yk j~tymx xl hzh Mvybv,24 “I

    will not kill thee now, because thou hast carried the ephod before my

    father David."  LXX, kai> ou] qanatw<sw se o!ti ^#raj th>n kibwto>n th?j

    diaqh<khj Kuri<ou e]nw<pion tou? patro<j mou.  V, quia portasti arcam Domini


(18) Hos. 3:4 (740 B.C.), Myprtv dvqx Nyxv . . . lxrWy ynb vbwye, "The Israelites

   shall abide without ephod and teraphim." LXX, ou]de> i[eratei<aj, ou]de>


   22 Hieronymus, in Epist. LXIV. ad Fabiolam, 15 (0pp. T. I.. P. 363): Sextum

est vestimentum, quod Hebraica lingua dicitur EPHOD.  LXX, e]pwmi<da, id est

superhumerale appellant; Aq. e]pe<nduma, nos ephod suo ponimus nomine.

   23 See above, p. 3, note 7.

   24 This passage is to be compared with i Sa. 14:18, where Ark was evidently

substituted for ephod after the LXX was made; see note 21, p. 9 above. In this

passage the LXX represents a text: hvhy tyrb Nvrx tx tAxWn yk, so that if the

change of dvqxe to Nvrx took place, it was earlier than the LXX, provided the

LXX has not been altered. There are two arguments for reading dvpxe apart

from any desire to suppress the word ephod (for which see p. 40), and apart from

its being a natural thing for a scribe to recall the bringing of the Ark to Jeru-

salem (2 Sa. 6), and write Nvrx for dvpx:  (1) The expression is unsuitable, for

no one person ever bore the Ark, and, on the other hand, dvpx xWen is the regular

expression for the priest with the ephod; (2) the context does not suit Ark and

does suit ephod, for v. 26b refers to the afflictions which Abiathar shared with

David, which can only refer to the time when David was fleeing before Saul, and

Abiathar was with him, bearing not the Ark but the ephod, as is evident from

1 Sa. 23:9 and 30:7.

                      FOOTE : THE EPHOD.                                11


   dh<lwn;  'A, kai> a]kou<ontoj di ] e]ndu<matoj kai> dia> morfwma<twn; S, q,  ou]de>

   Efwd, ou]de> qerafin.25 V, sine ephod et sine theraphim;  O. L. neque

   Ephod (simulaerum) et Teraphim (penates). Pesh., xdvqx wbl xldv

   xmsb Mxsv.       

Two post-exilic passages are appended:

(19) Is. 30:22, . . . Mrezt jb,hv tDpux txv jpsk yleysp yUpc tx 26 tAxme.Fv,

    "Thou shalt defile the silver plating of thy images and thy molten gold

    band; thou shall scatter them."  LXX, kai> mianei?j [alia exempl. kai>

    e]carei?j] ta> ei@dwla ta> perihrgurwme<na kai> perikexruswme<na lepta> poih<s^j.

    V, laminas sculptilium . . . vestimentum conflatilis.

(20) Ex. 39:27, 28, rvw;mA wwe dBh ysenk;mi txv . . . UWfyv (P), "They made the

   mikhnese habbadh of fine linen'"  LXX, kai> ta> periskelh?  [q, bad] e]k

   bu<ssou keklwsme<nhj. V, feminalia quoque linea, byssina.  The Targum

   Onkelos has: ryvw; CUbdi xcUb ysenkm27 tyAv; Samaritan Targum:  ynyr;w

  rvw;mA tlym28 hrxbf.  Pesh. has xcvbd xnvzro (i.e. peri<zwma bu<ssou).

    Targum Onkelos, in Lev. 6:3, gives the plural Nysin;k;mav.


                                    A. THE FORM OF THE EPHOD.

                                    1.  Was it a Garment?


            In the following investigation, the word ephod will refer to that

which was in u e before the Exile; and the chronological order will

be observed wherever conducive to practical results.      

            As the narrative in 2 Sa. 6:14 has been already referred to,29 we may.

begin by noting the conclusion to be drawn from it, namely, that in

spite of the popular view, the ephod was not a long flowing garment.    

David admits that he had uncovered himself so as to justify Michal’s.

censure had it not been before Yahweh. That he could have un-

covered himself still more shows that he was not nude, and suggests

the idea that his brief covering answered the purpose of a loincloth.

It is instructive to compare the post exilic, account of this event, in      

1 Chr. 15, and note that the scribe thought it indecorous. Hear,

he "clothed" David with a is long linen robe,"30 omitted rUgh


   25 Hieronvmus, XXIX. ad Marcellam: In Osee. . . .pro sacerdotio et manifest-

tationibus, in Hebraeo est, sine Ephod et sine Teraphim; sicut Theod. et Sym.


   26 txmfv, instead of MtxmFv, with the LXX, and in harmony with jpsk and

Mrez;ti. For an extended consideration of this passage, see below, p. 16 f.

   27 Cf. Merx, Chrestom. Targum. p. 214: numquam a brevi instruendum.           

   28 Kohn, Samar. Studien, Breslau, 1868. p. 59, commenting on rxbf (in

Ex. 30:34) says: Der Ubersetzer hat db offenhar glcich dem arab. bada, “weiss

sein genommen.

   29 See above, p. 6f.

   30 1 Chr. 15:27, Cvb lyfmb lbrkum may he an intentional alteration of

dvqxh lyfm, Ex. 28:31.



‘girded’ in connection with the ephod, and, apparently to justify

Michal's contempt, substituted for rkrkam 'dancing,' the word qHWm;

‘playing,’ which is as equivocal31 in Hebrew as in English. The

episode with Michal is omitted.

            But the expression in 2 Sa. 6:14, "girded with an ephodh badh,"

does not imply a garment. David does not wear it, it is hung about

his loins by a girdle. In the same way a sword is girded upon the

loins. The original meaning of rgH, as of Arab. hagara, is ‘sur-

round, enclose,’ etc.; hence ‘bind on,’ and also ‘prevent access to’;

whence hrOgHE 'a girdle,' corresponding to lure, ‘enclosure, lap.’

Now  hrOgH32 is the word used in Gen. 3:7 for the fig-leaf covering

made by Adam and Eve, "they made themselves aprons," vWfyv

trgoH Mhl. The margin of the A.V. calls it "a thing to gird on."

The meaning is evidently a loincloth. The Fr. giron has the mean-

ing ‘lap’ and also a heraldic design of triangular shape, like a primi-

tive loincloth.33  But the point is that rgH 'gird' does not imply

a garment, but a girding, which is associated with the waist and


            In fact, the ephod was not a garment at all. By a garment is

meant something that is worn as clothing; a towel, e.g. is not a

garment, though a waiter may carry it on his arm; nor is a crown,

although it is said to be worn. By referring to the passages bearing

on the ephod, it will be seen that twice the ephod is associated  

with teraphim, which proves nothing.  Gideon's ephod is "put"

in his city Ophra. The ephod at Nob was on the wall, or floor,    

with Goliath's sword mapped in a mantle "behind" it. When

Abiathar flees to join David, he takes the Nob ephod "in his

hand." Three times the ephod is “brought” to a person to be

used in divination. These passages would surely not suggest a gar-

ment. But there are three other passages, where one might point

to the English versions as showing conclusively that a garment was

meant, for in each case the translation is “wearing an ephod.” The


   31 Cf. the older form qHc in Gen. 26:8.  Professor Haupt has kindle pointed

out that Arab. ba’ala III. means both la’aba and jama’a; ba’ala is a denomina-

tive verb derived from ba’l ‘husband’; cf. pai?ze=o@xeue in note 12 of Haupt's

paper on “Ecclesiastes” in the Philadelphia Oriental Studies. p. 265; cf. also

the use ludere, in Hor. Ep. 2, 2, 214; and "play" in Milton, P. L. 9, 1045.

   32 For other instances of the use of rgH see Ex. 12:11 Jud. 3:16; I Ki. 20:32.

2 Ki. 4:29; 9:1; Prov.  31:17; Is 32:11; Ez. 23:15 etc.

   33 For a photograph of such a loincloth, see Mission Scientifique du Cap Horn,

Hyades et Deniker (Tome VII.), pl. xii., Paris, 1891. See also p. 42 below, fig. 2.

                 FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                             13


verb that is translated "wearing" is xWn 'bear'; the Greek and

Latin have ai@rw and portare. But there are no instances in classical

literature of ai@rw or portare by themselves, meaning to wear as a

garment; and xWn, one of the commonest verbs in the O.T., used

perhaps a thousand times, never has the meaning ‘wear,’ except it

be made for these three places, as in the English versions. In one

of these places, 1 Sa. 22:18, St. Jerorne, influenced, it may be, by the

word db, supposed to mean ‘linen,’34 translates vestitos ephod lineo,

but there is no reason for it, since the Hebrew and Greek are the

same. Now it is true that the Century Dictionary says that one

meaning of wear is ‘carry’; as, e.g., country people will advise a

person to wear a potato in the pocket to keep off rheumatism; but

the converse does not follow; carry never means ‘wear.’ These

mistranslations of xWn by the English "wear" in the familiar phrase

"wearing an ephod," together with the anachronism of the Priests'

Code, are accountable for the notion that the ephod is essentially a



                                    2. Was the Ephod an Idol?

            We have now to examine the passages in Judges, 1 Sa. 21:9, and

Is. 30:22, where almost all critical commentators have felt constrained

to suppose that an idol, image, agalma, or the like, is meant. A

notable exception is Professor Wilhelm Lotz, of Erlangen, whose

admirable article36 on the ephod is apparently unknown to recent

writers. It is, of course, an easy way of escaping a difficulty to say,

here the ephod is an idol and here it is a garment, but it is unscien-

tific. The feeling that it was a makeshift has given rise to many

curious conjectures, to show, it possible, some connection between

the idol and the garment; and so the theory has been evolved that

the ephod is the covering of the wooden core of an idol, and hence

a covering, i.e. a garment. Or, working in the other direction, it

has been thought that the ephod was a priestly garment on an idol,

and then identified with the idol. Some have grasped eagerly at


   34 Cf. note 7 on p. 3 above.

   35 In German the verb tragen may translate both xWn ‘bear’ and wbl ‘wear.’

This fact has added to the confusion, since by the expression Ephodtrager no

distinction is made between 'ephod-wearer' and ‘ephod-bearer.’ Since writing

the above I have noticed that Professor Moore observes that xWn, does not mean

‘wear’; cf. the Internat. Com. on Judges, 1895, p. 381, note.

   36 See Realencyklopaedie fur prot. Theologie u. Kirche, third edition, vol. v,

Leipzig, 1898, under "Ephod."



the apparent distinction between ephodh and ephod badh, making

the former an idol and the latter a garment, thus throwing the diffi-

culty of unifying the two back upon the Hebrews themselves. But

the distinction does not hold good. Others, not finding any distinc-

tion in the Masoretic text, wish to make one, and, as Wellhausen,

propose to point dUpxA when it means an idol!37 But it must first

be determined when an idol is meant. If the LXX is any criterion

when transliterations are used, Gideon's and Micah's ephod would

be dOpx< represented by efwd, and the other places dUpx< repre-

sented by efoud. But those who understand an idol always take it

so of the ephod at Nob, where the Greek has shoulder piece; and so

the distinction is merely due to different translators pointing an

unknown word, sometimes dUpx and sometimes dOpx. In fact,

they are all forced explanations, arising from giving, undue weight

to minor details, and neglecting the fundamental principle that a

thing is what it is used for: and also the ethnological axiom that

"all worships that contain heathenish elements are traditional, and

nothing is more foreign to them than the introduction of forms for

which there is no precedent of usage."38  If the ephod is an article

of clothing, then it is a garment and is urn; if it is to represent

a deity, then it is an idol and is worshipped; but if, being neither

of these, it is connected with sacred lots, then it is a means of con-

sulting an oracle and is divined with. It is hard to discard the

notion of the garment-ephod, but it is based solely on mistranslations

arising from preconceived ideas, and the same is the case with the

notion that the ephod was an idol. The expressions upon which

the idea of the idol-ephod is based are the following from Jud. 8:27,

dvqxl Nvfd;gi vtvx Wfyv, “Gideon made an ephod of it " (cf. above

p. 8, No. 1). This cannot be forced to mean that all the gold went

into the ephod—vtvx refers as much to the purple raiment as to

the gold ornaments--probably but a small fraction became the

material of the ephod (if, indeed, any of it did!), as this very con-

densed statement seems to cover much more than is expressed: for

instance, the cost of making, the cost of the shrine, etc., vtvx gc.ey.ava

hrp;fAb vryfb, ”and put it in his city Ophra." This verb is usually

translated ‘set up,’ as though it had no other meaning; but it also

signifies ‘put’ or ‘place,’ as in Jud. 6:37 Gideon says, “Behold,” yknx, “I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor." This


   37 See Geschichte Israels, Berlin, 1883, p. 95.

   38 Robertson Smith, O. T. in the Jewish Church, 1881, p. 228.


                        FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                             15


verb may mean simply to ‘leave’ somewhere, as in Gen. 33:15, hgyci.x

xn "Let me now leave some of the people with thee." One might

as pertinently argue that the Ark was an idol, because 2 Sa. 6:17

reads vtx Ugc.iy.av, as to force the expression in the case of the ephod.39

Mw vyrHx lxrWy lk vnzyiv, “Israel went astray after it there."

Without this comment, it is unlikely that the notion of an idol-ephod

would ever have been evolved. The verb zanah, in this use, occurs

eighteen times, and is usually followed by "after" strange gods, gods  

of the heathen, or idols, also "from" the true God. But the phrase

can also be used of seeking "after a man," and "unto those having

familiar spirits," Lev. 20:5f, and even "after whatever pleases the

eyes," Nu. 15:39.  This expression," then, does not always mean an

idol, and hence it cannot be pressed in this particular instance, to

imply an idol. On the contrary, one might argue that Jud. 8:33 was

conclusive evidence that in verse 27; it means something different,

for “as soon as Gideon was dead,” the Israelites again went astray

after Baalim implying that when he was alive he had kept them

from idolatry. Put why may not the phrase yrHx hnz refer to a

lot-oracle, as may also be the case in Hos. 4:12 (cf. below, p. 36)?

This phrase, however, probably represents a later editorial comment;

the original narrative, it is agreed, had no criticism to make on  

Gideon's ephod.41  Put a narrative that has been added to is

likely to be inconsistent.  Professor More, of Harvard, has sug-

gested as possible that ephod has supplanted a word like elohim.  If

so, it is easy to account for the condemnatory comment, but it is

hard to see how ephod could have been substituted and the comment

allowed to stand, in an age when the ephod was unquestionably

revered. But the point is that the phrase in question does not prove

our idol, but may only refer to a popular craze for some unapproved

use of divination.

            Again, if we pass to Jud. 17; and 18, Micah males an ephod and

teraphim. There seems to be a double strand in the narrative, one


    39 Professor Moore. in International Com. Judges, 1895, p. 379, renders ‘set

up,' and makes it a proof along with the next phrase, that the ephod was "clearly

an idol of some kind.” He concludes that this verse. Jud. 8:27, "imperatively

requires this interpretation."

   40 For an extended examination of the phrase zanah axre, see my paper in the

Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol, xxii., pp. 64-69           

   41 In Chronicon Hebr., 1699, p. 407, vyrHx in this passage is interpreted to

mean after him, i.e. after Gideon's death; when the Israelites took the amiculum

and used it in idolatry.



part of which tells of the making of a hks.emav lsp, "a graven and

a molten image," and commentators have tried to establish a parallel

between them and the ephod and teraphim of the other strand of

the narrative. Moore, however, ingeniously eliminates the  hks.ema,42

showing that the apparent parallel gives no ground for thinking

Micah's ephod an image. Canon Driver is certainly right in styling

Micah's ephod and teraphim “instruments of divination.”43

            Again, in 1 Sa. 21:10, where it is said that the sword of Goliath was

wrapped in a mantle "behind the ephod," it is commonly held to

mean that the ephod must have stood free from the wall in order to

have the sword behind it, thus suggesting an idol; but, as Lotz points     

out (cf. above, p. 13), it is much more likely that the sword was

a trophy or votive offering, eine Art Weihgeschenk, and was hanging

from some large peg, upon which, when not in use, the ephod also

was hung. He concludes: To decide from, this passage that the

ephod is a statue standing clear of the wall, an image of Yahweh is


            Finally, there are other commentators and scholars from Michaelis

and Vatke, who is very sure, to Duhm, Smend, Gesenius-Buhl, Marti,

and Budde, who considers it "very questionable," who hold a theory

that the ephod was a ‘covering, garment,’ or ‘mask’ of an idol and

so practically identified with it. The theory that dpx meant orgi-

nally ‘to cover’ is based on Is. 30:22 (cf. above, p. 11, No. 19), which

remains to be considered. It reads as follows:  yUpci tx ( t) xm.Fv

gv Mzrti jbhz tkas.m tdpux txv jpsk ylysp, “Thou shalt

defile the silver plating of thy images and thy molten gold band;

thou shalt scatter them," etc. Comparing the Greek and Latin

versions, it will be seen that the Latin is simply Hebrew in Latin

words with an epexegetical rendering of tdpux by vestimentum.

The Greek, however, is a translation, treating the Hebrew idiom

in the first half as an instance of synecdoche. It can hardly he

regarded otherwise than as a rhetorical figure, where the silver

plating and the molten gold band of the Mylysp are put for the

images themselves. To think with Duhm, that the writer is making

a special point: of the outward decoration of the images, is to over-

look the evident condemnation of idols, not merely their adorning.

Cast away the yvpc and you still have the lsp. It seems unlikely

that  tks.m is parallel with ylysp for one would surely expect tkos.m,


   42 See Internat. Com. Judges. 1895, p. 375f.

   43 See LOT., 7th ed., 1898, p. 168.

                       FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 17


and so the English versions have tacitly rendered it. Put the chief

difficulty is that tkas.m never means molten image, when, as here

it is a genitive. It means a ‘casting,’ and as a genitive it means    

that the nomen regens is not carved, nor beaten, but cast.  hDqux is

the regular feminine of dvqx, and hks.m tDapuxE means a ‘cast band,’

just as hksm lgf is a ‘cast calf,’ and hks.m yhlx ‘cast gods.’

The parallelism is between   yvpc and tdpux, the ‘ornaments’ of the

Mylysp; and there is no rule that requires parallel expressions to be

synonyms in more than one sense. The two things are ornaments;

it is not necessary that they should both be coverings, nor of the

same material. But the yvpc was not a covering like a garment, but

apparently a decoration of an image made with silver leaf,--some-

thing to make it shine. The aphuddah44 was like it inasmuch as it

was an ornament, a gold band, whether as a loincloth or belt it is

impossible to say; perhaps it was the ancient ephod. Hence there

is nothing here on which to base a theory that the ephod was an idol.

These, then, are the passages that are claimed for an idol-ephod,

and all of them, as has been shown, are patient of a quite different

interpretation. It is possible to grant that they may be understood

of an idol, if this fact were assured beforehand; but to ground a

theory on them that is inconsistent with passages better understood,

is unscientific.

            But if the ephod was not an idol, neither was it a gold covering of

a woolen core. This distinction belongs more to craftsmen than

to critics; for what worshipper in gazing at such an idol (for idol

it would be) could distinguish between the inner core and the outer

covering? There is no doubt that wooden kernels were overlaid with

gold and silver, as in Baruch 6:39, but they were idols not ephods.

Etymologically nothing is gained, for the denominative from ephod

is not ‘to cover’ but ‘to bind.’ Another theory has been advanced

by Duhm,45 that the ephod was the mask of the idol, which was worn    

by the priest in consulting the oracle. But the girding of the ephod


   44 The derived meaning of hdpux ‘binding,’ from dvpx (see below, p. 45), is

confirmed by the lateness of this verse, which, by Duhm (cf. Marti), is paced as

late even as the second century B.C.  It is apparently a misplaced verse, as it does

not accord with the contest, which is improved in point of coherency by omitting

it. Perhaps it belongs after Is. 31:6, where it harmonizes with the contest. The

interpolation of passages referring to idols is not uncommon in Isaiah, as Professor

Haupt has pointed out in his reconstruction of Is. 40; see Drugulin's, Marksteine,

Leipzig, 1902; cf. Is. 40:19, 20; 41:6, 7;  44:9-20; 46:6-8.

    45 Das Buch Jesaia, 1892, on 30:22.



was not over the eyes, but about the loins (cf. above, p. 12). Again,

to escape the idol-ephod, if possible, the theory has been advanced,

most recently by Marti, that the ephod was a gold or cloth garment

hung upon an idol. That this was customary among the Hebrews

is not clear, but for other Semitic peoples, see Baruch 6:33.  Granting

the fact, however, how can it be shown that the garment was the

chief, and the idol the inferior, object in the cult? If people were

led into idolatry by an idol with a garment on it, it certainly was not

due to the garment! This theory starts with the idea that the ephod

was a garment. It is consistent, but the starting-point is wrong.

The ephod is an instrument of divination.


                        B. THE USE OF THE EPHOD.


            Important as is the light thrown upon an unknown object by its

context and environment, it is altogether inferior to that which comes

from a knowledge of its use. In about half the passages cited for

the ephod there is nothing to suggest a use. To say that the ephod

had always a religious significance is not to point out a use. To say

that "bearing an ephod" is almost synonymous with priest is true,

but it does not tell what the ephod was for. It does, however, enable

us to draw a reasonable inference, that, as one of the chief duties,

if not the foremost duty, of a priest46 in the time of the Judges was

to obtain divine oracles, so the ephod, his constant companion, was

used in divination. Some traveling Danites (Jud. 18:5, 14) learn that

Micah has an ephod and teraphim, and immediately desire to con-

sult the oracle. On a subsequent migration, they carry off for their

own use, priest, ephod, and teraphim. David, during his flight from

Said, is accompanied by the priest Abiathar; and on two occasions,

1 Sa. 23:9; 30:7, it is recorded that he said to the priest dvpxh hwyGha,

"Bring me the ephod."47  Abiathar brought the ephod, and David


   46 In ancient Israel, religious functions were not restricted to a special order

of men (cf. below, p. 41, n. 103), but every man was free to offer sacrifice or

obtain oracles by the use of lots. Later the oracular function was restricted to a

particular order, and ephod-bearer became synonymous with priest. The Hebrew

Nhk, priest, is the Arabic kahin, 'foreteller.' Later still the function of sacrifice was

taken over to the priests, and the oracular function, at least in theory, was

restricted to the high priest. For a similar change among the Incas of Peru, see

Reville, Hibbert Lectures, 1884, p. 230f.

     47 Bertheau, Das Buch der Richter und Ruth, Leipzig, 1883, p. 163, says:

"The demand of David, ' Bring the ephod,' means the same as ‘Consult Yahweh.’

But it is David who consults Yahweh. The words are plain enough, and there

                      FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 19


inquired of Yahweh. In both instances the answer David receives is

what one might get by drawing lots. In addition to these passages,

there is a similar one in 1 Sa. 14:18, which will be considered later,

where Saul says to the priest Ahijah, "bring the ephod," and appar-

ently consults the oracle as David did. Now three such indisputable

instances, where the action has every appearance of being quite

customary, seem to establish the point that the ephod is directly

connected with divination. Of course, it is understood that there

is nothing in any other passage hearing on the ephod to oppose this

conclusion. One other passage may be noted in this connection.

In 1 Sa. 28:14, where Samuel's spirit is brought up to be consulted by

Saul, as in his lifetime, he comes up, according to a variant of the

LXX,48 with an ephod about him.

            To discover what purpose the ephod served in divination, some

consideration must be given to that subject. By divination is meant,      

foretelling events by means that are directly influenced by supernatural

power.  Among the ancients, the means used were legion; but among

the Hebrews hardly more than three kinds were practised,--divina-

tion by clairvoyance, by dreams, and by lot. The first was the office

of the seer; the last, at least in the early days, that of the priest.

For the purposes of this investigation, it is necessary to consider only

divination by lot.49 The point to be determined is how the ephod

was used in divining by lot. In the performance of this function,

only two things, apparently, were indispensable: the sacred lots and

some receptacle in which they were placed. The ephod may have

been such a receptacle. Its association with rgH ‘gird’ suggests an

apron from which the lots were cast, or a bag or pouch girded about

the loins. To determine which of these the ephod was, it is neces-

sary to know how lots were used.


is no suggestion of technical language. The expression is vernally varied in 30:7,

where yl shows that David wanted the ephod to use.  If Abiathar had carried

David's mouchoir (in modern Hebrew rdAUs= sudarium), he might have asked

for it in the same way (cf. 2 Ki. 4:6), with the addition of the suffix of the first


    48 The reading of this variant, of uncertain origin, is a]nh>r presbu<teroj

a]nabai<nwn, kai> au]to>j peribeblhme<noj efoud.  But even supposing the

Hebrew dvpx hFf  instead of lyfm, the verb hFf, which is never used with

dvpx, would go far to condemn the reading.

   49 The expression divination by lot is used without regard to the nature of the

lot, and therefore includes arrows and rods, but does riot include dice, which were

not used as sacred lots (cf. below, p. 25).



                        1. The Connection of the Ephod


            It has been noted that there was not among the Hebrews that

diversity in the methods of divination that obtained among the

Greeks and Romans and also other Semitic peoples.50  Apart from

the office of the seer, and ambiguous allusions to the rod and to

teraphim, the method was always casting lots. There is no doubt

that in early times as well as much later, the Hebrews constantly

sought the will of God by lots. In order to use such means, it is

necessary to have souse receptacle in which the lots are placed.

From the passages already examined, it has been inferred that the

ephod, whether of gold or cloth, was such a receptacle. It could be

carried about by the priest or girded upon the loins for use.

            The fact that the ephod was girded upon the loins seems to indi-

cate that both hands must be free to use it, and suggests the idea

that lots were drawn out of it. An examination has been made of

all the statements in regard to the use of lots, to determine whether

they were drawn or cast; for this point is essential in forming an

idea of the shape of the ephod. There is, in fact, but one passage

which gives any hint as to how the ephod was used--1 Sa. 14:18-20,

which may be assigned to a time prior to 8oo B.C. and may be a

contemporary account. The text is corrupt, but can be restored

from the Versions (cf. above, p. 9). The previous narrative tells

how Jonathan and his armor-bearer had put the Philistines to rout,

causing a great tumult which was noticed by Saul's watchmen at

Gibeah of Benjamin. Saul at once assembled the people, and found

that Jonathan and his armor-bearer were missing. Thereupon he

said to the priest Ahijah, "Bring the ephod."  While Saul was speak-

ing with the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp burst out anew

and grew louder and louder. At this point there is a break in the

narrative, and a blank space in the text (qvsp fcmxb xqsp)51--

possibly indicating a lacuna--then Said said to the priest, "Take


   50 See Haupt's "Babylonian Elements in the Levitical Ritual," in vol. xix

of JBL., p. 56.

   51 This Masoretic note, of course, means only that there was a break in the

middle of the verse, caused by a defect in the surface written on, or quite possibly

by illegibility of writing or an erasure, in the archetype from which all souse-

quent copies of the O.T. are derived (cf. W. R. Smith, 0.T. in Jewish Church,

2d ed., p. 56; Lagarde, Mittheil. I., 19 ff., cf. Gesenius-Kautzsch, § 3, c.).  It

is the lack of connection with what follows that suggests a lacuna. One would

expect the priests' answer in the negative, which Saul characteristically refused

to accept.

                              FOOTE: EPHOD.                                          21

out thy hands."52  Thereupon Saul called out53  to attack; the people

with him took up the shout and they came to the battle. The inter-

est in the narrative for this investigation centres in the words of Saul

to the priest, "Take away” or "withdraw thy hand," or "hands,”

if we adopt the plural of the Greek, the Hebrew may be read either

way. These words, as a rule, are interpreted to mean that Saul

naturally impatient, told the priest to cease consulting the oracle.

Thenius, for instance, says, "’Withdraw thy hand,’ i.e. let it be; we

will not draw lots."    That this exegesis is not satisfactory is shown

by the emphasis which commentators place upon Saul's natural

impatience. He would not wait for Samuel on one occasion; but

his impatience on this occasion was not so much due to temperament

as to the bleating of the sheep! On the other hand, Saul was like

the men of Athens, in all things too superstitions to take any step

without using divination, and when by ordinary means he could

obtain no favorable answer, he must have recourse to witchcraft.

Other commentators, again, explain the passage by an inference

drawn from it in this way: if Saul did not wait to consult the oracle,

it must have been very complicated and long, says Benzinger54

another commentator quotes Benzinger to the effect that the con-

sultation of the ephod was a long process, and this is the reason Saul

did not wait. But if the ephod was not a magical affair, as almost

all the modern commentators vaguely imply, but merely an apron

from which the lots were cast, or a pouch into which the priest put

his hands and drew the lots, the simplest explanation is that Saul

was in a hurry to attack the Philistines, and said to the priest,” Take

thy hands out," in order that he might know the decision of the

oracle. In regard to the answer given by the lot-oracle, it is possible

that in 1 Sa. 28:6 we should translate Uhnf xl “did not give a favor-

able answer," instead of "answered him not." The verse will then

read, "When Saul inquired of Yahweh, Yahweh did not give hint


  52 jd,y Jsox; LXX, Suna<gage ta>j xei?raj sou.  jdy is probably written

defective for jydy, as jkrd, ‘thy ways,’ for jykrd, in Ex. 33:13; Jos. 1:8; Ps.

119:37; also Mkdy for Mkydy in Ps. 134:2; cf. Ges.-Kautzsch, §91 k. Jsox<,

'withdraw,' though the ordinary meaning is ‘gather', it is used of Jacob ‘drawing’

his feet into bed, and also being ‘taken’ to his people, Gen. 49:33; it has the

meaning ‘to take away' in Is. 16:10; 57:1; 60:21. Jer. 48:33; Hos. 4:3; Joel 2:10;


   53 qfez.Ayiva may be read qfaz;y.iva with V, conclamavit, and frequently LXX,


   54  Heb. Archaologie, p. 408. But he continues quite rightly: “if one had to

exclude by a series of questions the different possibilities, as this is very clearly

represented in 1 Sa. 10:20ff.”  It was, however, a simple matter when but (one

question was put.



a favorable answer,55 either by dreams, or by Urim, or by Prophets."

It is evident that Saul tried one method of divination and then

another, and finally resorted to witchcraft. It seems impossible that

the use of the sacred lots should give no answer at all, though tradi-

tion probably allowed but one use of them in a single inquiry. In

the present case, Saul presumably received a favorable answer.

This seems a satisfactory glimpse of the ephod in use, and the con-

clusion drawn from it would be that the ephod was a receptacle into

which the hands are put to draw the lots.

            Put as lots are almost always spoken of as cast, the question arises

whether in antiquity the custom of drawing in; lots ever obtained.

There are ten verbs in Hebrew which are used in connection with

lots in the O.T.  They are: xcy, hlfh, hlf, Ntn, lyFh, lyph,

lpn, jylwh, dry, and hry. Seven of them mean ‘to cast, throw,

let fall’; while three signify ‘to come up’ and ‘out,’ as from a

shaken receptacle. These verbs seem to show that among the

ancient Hebrews, at least, lots were not drawn, but cast. Among

the Romans, also, the common expression is "to cast lots." Cicero,

however, mentions, as if nothing unusual, that the oracular lots in

the temple of Fortuna at Praeneste were mingled and drawn by a

child.   Quid igitur in his [sortibus] potest esse certi, quae Fortunae

monitu pueri manu miscentur atque ducuntur.56  On the other hand,

in the Illiad, III. 316ff., we read that Hector shakes the lots in a

helmet with an up and down motion,57 with averted face to prevent

any suspicion of partiality, and the lot of Paris quickly leaped forth.58

In the same way the ephod, if it were originally a loincloth as has

been suggested (cf. above, p. 7), would furnish a lap from which

the lots could be cast. That the shaking of the lap was to some

extent a familiar action, is seen from Neh. 5:13. “I shook out my lap,

saying, so God shake out every man from his house." Put in Prov. 16:33

we read:


   55 Professor Haupt has shown, in BELR., note 47 (see JBL., 1900, I.), that

hnf, when indicating the answer to an oracle, technically means the favorable


   56 De Divinatione, II. 41, 86.

   57 Professor Gildersleeve kindly suggested to me that the motion was indicated

by the verb pa<llein which is used of Hector dandling his little son.

               58 w!j a@p ]  e@fan, pa<llen de> me<gaj koruqai<oloj   !@Ektwr

                    a}y o[ro<wn:  Pa<rioj de> qow?j e]k klh?roj o@rousen.

I have to thank Professor Haupt for the additional references: Sophocles, Electra.

710; Alcman, fragment 63, ll. 24, 400; 15, 191; Herod. 3, 128.

                    FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 23


                                    lrvGh tx lFUy qyHb

                   vFPAwm lk hvhymv

                The lot is cast in the lap,

                                    But the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD


Evidently the verse does not fit the theory of casting out of the lap.

The word qyHe [see Note C], rendered ‘lap’ in this verse, is ambigu-

ous. The English word associated with it is ‘bosom,’ as also with

sinus and ko<lpoj.  But it is quite misleading to translate qyH by

‘bosom.’  It is true that bosom has a wide range of meanings, but

the universal significance of the word when used alone is that part

of the body where the heart is; and this, it may safely be said, qyH

never means. It would be impossible for us to say, " My reins are

consumed within my bosom," and in Job 19:27 qyH evidently refers

to the abdominal cavity including the liver and intestines, the seat

of the affections among the ancients, which we associate with the

heart, and the upper or thoracic cavity of the body. This is respon-

sible for the confusion in the rendering of qyH, and the same exists

in regard to sinus and ko<lpoj. ‘Bosom’ or 'heart' is a legitimate

translation so long as they are used merely for the abstract idea of

affection; but when the ancient seat of` the passions had given rise

to a whole sphere of associations with that part of the body about

the loins and waist, such a translation as ‘bosom’ is entirely mis-

leading. In sinus and ko<lpoj the original idea seems to be that of

bulging, protuberance, etc., hence the part of the body containing the   

viscera; then the folds of a garment where it hangs over the girdle 

whence the lap, a place of concealment, a pocket; and even a con-

cave surface, bowl, urn. The etymology of  qyH is not clear, but its

meanings have developed on the same lines. Hence when we rent

"The lot is cast in the qyH," the reference is not necessarily to the

lap of a garment but more likely to a pouch or urn. But this, again,

does not accord with the verbs which seem to mean ‘cast out of,’ as

Hector cast the lot out of the helmet.

            The word that is almost invariably used in general reference to lot

casting is lrvg ‘lot.’  The lrvg  is originally a pebble, thus suggest-

ing that lots were commonly small and round. They may have been

black and white, or inscribed with some symbol. In Lev. 16:8, 9, Aaron

casts lots for the scape-goat            : tvlrg MriyfW;h ynw lf NroHExa Ntnv and

lrvgh vylf hlf rwx ryfWAh..  Instead of rendering with the R.V.,

"Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, and the goat upon

which the lot fell," it is better to read, "Aaron put the lots for the



two goats into some receptacle, and the goal upon which the lot

came up," plainly referring to a receptacle answering, perhaps, to

the helmet of Hector.

            But in the Talmudic tract Yoma (xmvy), 4, I, the whole matter is

put in a different light. Here we read, "The high priest put his

hands into the urn and took out two lots; upon one was written For

Yahweh, and upon the other was written For Azazel."59  Evidently

this was the traditional custom of drawing lots. The word for ‘urn,’

yPil;qa or yPel;qa seems to be the late Greek ka<lph possibly akin to

ko<lpoj, something hollowed out. The Gemarah explains that the

yPlq ‘urn’ was made of wood, but on one occasion a man had

become renowned by making one of gold; that the high priest    

snatched the lots out quickly so as not to feel of them; that the lot

which was drawn in the right hand was for the goat which was near

his right side, and it was considered a happy augury when the right

hand held the lot inscribed hvhyl.

            The Talmudic tract Baba Bathra (xrtb xbb), 122, a, also has

an instructive account. Eleazar stands before Joshua, bearing the

Urim and Thummim and casting lots to divide the land among the

twelve tribes of Israel. There were two urns used, one containing

twelve lots, each with the name of a tribe written on it; the other

containing twelve apportionments of land. The priest put one hand

into each urn, and drew in one hand the tribe, and in the other

hand the portion of Canaan which was to be theirs. In both this

instance and in the one before mentioned, there was a solemn com-

muning with the Holy Spirit, who was believed to direct the drawing.

This drawing of lots suggests the comparison of the method of choos-

ing officers at Athens, where two urns were used, one for the names

of the candidates, the other with white and colored beans, the person

being chosen whose name was drawn simultaneously with a white


            Of course the Mishnah is not the Old Testament, but it claims in

Pirqe aboth (tvbx yqrp),   I. 1, to record faithfully the ancient oral  

law, and it reaches back as a written authority to the time of the Second

Temple. Here then we have a clear tradition that the lots were put

into an urn, or two urns as the occasion demanded, and then drawn.


  59 vylf bvtk dHxv Mwl vylf bvtk dHx tvlrvg ynw hlfhv yplqb JrF


  60 See Seyffert's Dict. of Classical Antiquities, under "Officials." The urn

used was called klhrwtri<j; cf. on this subject, klhro<w o]mfa<n 'to obtain an

oracle by lot'; kla<roij qeoprote<wn, ‘to divine by lot"; cf. Eur. Phaenissae, 852.

                        FOOTE: THE EPOD.                                    25


This oral tradition helps one to understand the account of the allot-

meat of Canaan as given in Joshua. For instance in Josh. 17:14 we

find the descendants of Joseph complaining that Joshua had placed       

for them but one portion for an inheritance, whereas they were really  

two tribes. dHx lbHv dHx lrvg hlHna yl hTtn fvdm. This seems

to point to the two urns, one for the lots and one for the apportion-

relents and the traditional method of drawing lots. We may compare

here a passage in Acts 8:21, where Peter tells Simon Magus that he has

neither part ( lbH?) nor lot ( lrvg?) the matter. Ou]k e@sti soi

meri>j ou]de> klh?roj e]n t&? lo<g& tou<t&61--nothing in either urn, may

have been in the mind of the writer, who was doubtless familiar with

Jewish customs; or more likely the expression was idiomatic and

originated in this custom. Cf. Sap. 2:9.

            But notwithstanding these undoubted instances of drawing lots,

the fact remains that the verbs used to express the use of lots are

almost all verbs of casting. To settle the matter, if possible, the

crucial instance of casting lots for the robe, Ps. 22 was chosen for

investigation, as being the one most commonly associated with cast-

ing dice. This suggested Roman usages and the child drawing tlhe

lot at the Praenestine Oracle.  Authorities like Paula, Smith's Classi-

cal Antiquities, and Marduardt's Romische Staatsverwaltung have

accepted the expression “to cast lots”' as stating some unexplained

custom. The latter, however, refers, in a note, to Servius on the

AEneid, a passage which will shortly be considered. A distinction

must first be made between the use of sons or klh?roj ‘lot,’ and tes-

serae, tali, ku<boi and a]stra<galei ‘dice.’ These do not enter into

this investigation, as they are entirely confined to the gaming sphere.

The common expression with dice is " playing," “using,” or “throw-

ing.” In the Roman world the use of dice was prohibited by the

Lex Titia et Publicia et Cornelia; the Roman soldiers could not

have used them under the eyes of a centurion; and even in Decem-

ber, during the Saturnalia, they could have had no connection with


            To return to the lot, the verbs used with sors are mostly verbs of

Casting like conicere, deicere, mittere, etc., but not the idea of casting

out of a vessel, but generally in sitellam, which seems to have been

a vessel with a small mouth, and filled with water, in which the lots


  61 Salkinson-Ginshui translate:  hzh rbdb hlHnv qlHe jl Nyx.

Delitzsch:  lrvgh qlhe jl Nyx .  qlH, may have denoted, originally a smooth

pebble (Is. 57:6) used as a lot.  qlH  ‘to allot’ may be denominative; cf. Albert

Schultens, quoted in Gesenius' Thesaurus.



were put, but only one of them, as they floated on the top, could

appear in the small opening. Otherwise the sitella was used without

water, lots being drawn from it, as Livy, 25, 3, 16, sitella lata est, ut

sortizentur. The expression in sitellam is like the in urnam of

Est. 3:7, missa est sons in urnam, but there is no Hebrew equivalent

for in urnam. Finally much light is thrown on the subject by a

passage in the Casina of Plautus, 2, 5, 34, which shows that to speak

of casting lots did not imply that they were not also drawn at the

same time. Stalino says "Coniciam sortes in sitellam et sortiar Tibi

et Chalino."

            The passage in the AEneid, T. 508 f. refers to the assignment of

the daily tasks by lot

            Jura dabat legesque viris, operumque laborem

            partibus aequabat iustis, aut sorte trahebat.

Servius notes that Vergil had used the correct expression : Sorte

trahebat; proprie locutus est. Trahuntur enim sortes, hoc est, edu-


            Further investigation showed that drawing lots was probably the

general method in classical antiquity. Sortior, indeed, denominative

from sors, and meaning to draw lots, as also klhrou?mai, is a fair index

of the use of sortes, even where it is distinctly stated that the lots

were cast. "Coniciam sortes in sitellam et sortiar" makes the

matter quite plain. This conclusion taken in connection with the

Hebrew tradition as found in the Mishnah and O.T. lays it open

to serious doubt whether a custom of casting a lot out of a vessel ever


            But there still remains the query: If lots were drawn in divina-

tion, why was casting lots the well-nigh universal expression? The

solution of this difficulty seems to lie in the difference between our

point of view and that of the ancients in respect to divination. They

believed in it, as a rule, whether Latins or Greeks, and still more the

Hebrews. It was an integral part of their religion. The ceremony

was accompanied with prayer, and it was unquestionably believed

that the Supreme Wisdom directed which lot should come forth, i.e.

be drawn. The human element was, as far as possible, eliminated

from the drawing. The priest communed with God and snatched

the lots suddenly (see above, p. 24). The impersonal expressions

are used: the lot came up or came forth (see the verbs, p. 22, above).

The statement that the lot was drawn by the priest is distinctly

avoided, as though implying that God did not order it. So the child

                     FOOTE: THE LPHOD.                                 27


was employed at Praeneste (as perhaps, little Samuel at Shiloh), as

being more purely an instrument by whom God made known His

will. The peasants in Italy still seek for children to draw lots for

them, and in Germany the orphan children draw in the lotteries.

Evidently man's part was merely the casting the lots into the urn—

it was impious to speak of a man drawing them. So Prov. 16:33 seems

to be the key, when rightly understood, to the whole difficulty. The

lot is cast in the urn, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.62

In drawing, man was an impersonal agent--the lot came out. It

was man's part to prepare the lots and cast (which may have had

the sense of minding) them in some receptacle. Hence the verbs

used with lots are not those of drawing, but casting.

            We have seen that lots were really drawn in divination.    This

requires a receptacle of a different kind than would be necessary if

lots were cast out on the ground. A receptacle would be needed

that concealed the lots from sight and that could be fixed in such a

way that the hands would be free to use it.  An urn set upon a tripod

would answer the purpose if it were so shaped that the lots could

not easily be seen. But this end could more easily be attained by

using a pouch which would have the additional advantage of being

portable, and when used could be hung at the waist. This seems to

have been the nature of the ephod. But it is necessary to extend

this investigation so as to include those objects which are connected   

with divination by lot.


            1. The Teraphim.

            There are two considerations which make it necessary to include

teraphim. The ephod is associated with teraphim in Jud. 17 and 18,

and Hos. 3:4; and the teraphim are associated with divination63 in

Gen. 30:27; also in Ezek. 21:26 and Zech. 10:2.

            That the teraphim were of the nature of idols or simulacra, no

one denies. Laban accuses Jacob of stealing his gods. Micah uses

the same expression. In I Sa. 15:23 teraphim are condemned along


   62 In Prov.1:14, the robbers say to the your man, vnkeOtb lyPt jlrAvg "cast in

thy lot among us,” i.e. put your name on a lot and cast it with our lots, so that

you will have the same chance of getting the booty as we have. But the "lot"

may also be interpreted to mean the portion (cf. Jer. 13:25) of the young man-

put it in with our funds let us have: one purse. See Dr. Philip Schaff’s small

Dict. of the Bible, under "Lots."

    63 See Robertson Smith. O. T. in Jewish Church, p. 226, 1st ed., and Maybaum,

Die Entwickelung des altisraelitischen Prophetenthums, 1883, p. 16.           



with idolatry, and appear in the same connection in 2 Ki. 23:24. Va-

rious theories have been advanced concerning teraphim. Wake, in

Serpent Worship, p. 47, quite arbitrarily identifies teraphim with

seraphim and refers it to what he styles "the serpent symbol of the

Exodus called seraph," Nu. 21:8, 9, Heb., comparing also the serpent

of the temple of Serapis. Grant Allen, in Evolution of the Idea of

God, pp. 182f., explains teraphim as representing the manes and

lares in the worship of ancestors. Schwally''64 and others have re-

cently derived teraphim from Myxpr ‘manes.'  But the commonly

accepted view compares them to the Penates. It is noteworthy that

penates always occurs in the plural form as does teraphim, and the

two accounts of the stealing of teraphim may be compared to Aeneas

taking the captured penates to Italy (Aen. I. 68).65  It is not at all

improbable that in the life of the Punic leader Hannibal in Corn.

Nepos (Han. ix.), we are to understand teraphim by the statuas

aeneas. As to the form of the teraphim, it has been supposed from

1 Sa. 19:13 that they were of human shape and size,66 but the inference

as to the size is not warranted, since the human appearance was eked

out by a pillow at the head; all, according to Oriental custom, being

covered with the bedclothes. Of all the mentions of the teraphim

this is the only one that might seem to construe teraphim with the

singular, but it is not certain; the suffixes supplied in the English

are omitted in the Hebrew, only one being used, vytAwoxEram; which,

however, may refer to David (so Budde) or even to the bed, though

it is masculine gender.67  The LXX ta> kenota<fia ‘monuments of the

dead,’ and Latin statua68 in place of the almost invariable idola may


   64 Das Leben nach dem Tode, p. 36. Further references may be found in

Moore's Judges, International Com., p. 382, and in M'Clintock and Strong's Encyc.

of Biblical Lit.

   65 Ethnologically one would err in imagining any connection between these

early peoples. On this Brinton says, in Religions of Primitive Peoples (p. 8),

“Professor Buchmann expressed some years ago what I believe to be the correct

result of modern research in these words: it is easy to prove that the striking

similarity in primitive religious ideas comes not from tradition nor from relation-

ship or historic connection of early peoples, but front the identity in the mental

construction of the individual man, wherever he is found.’”

   66 Not so, however Hitzig; see Commentary on 1 Sam. 19:13.

   67 Similar irregularity may he seen in several instances, e.g. Ex. 11:6; 25:19;

Jud. 11:34 etc., cf. Ges.-Khautzsch, § 135, o. See Diehl, Das Pronomen pers.

suffixum 2 u. 3 pers. plur. des Hebr. in der alttest. Uberlieferung, Giessen, 1895.

See also SB0T., Critical Note on Judges, p. 65f.

   68 Note that the versions take teraphim as a plural, with the exception of this


                   FOOTE : THE EPHOD.                                            29


be attempts to explain away the presence of teraphim in David's

house, or, it may be that the teraphim, among those who had given

up idolatry, took the form of ancestral images, associated more or

less with superstitious veneration, but not idolatry. In the account

of Rachel's stealing and hiding her father's teraphim (Gen. 31:19-35),

it is evident that the word is plural, and that the teraphim were

tolerably small images or she could scarcely have carried them

without Jacob's knowledge or hidden them so that Laban could not

find them.

            The association of teraphim with divination69  is so frequent that

it seems to indicate the principal use to which they were put. That

they were not used in idolatrous worship is to be inferred from the

fact that Hosea, who boldly censures idolatry, allows the use of ephod

and teraphim.70  But if they were idols, how could they have given

answers to questions? It is quite usual for commentators to speak

of "consulting idols, oracular idols," etc. Now a commentator may

sometimes give an oracular utterance, but an idol never! If one

idol had ever given an oracle, we should never have had the magnifi-     

cent arraignment of idols in Deutero-Is. 41:21ff.:  "Declare to us what

will happen in the future that we may know that ye are gods: yea,

do good, or do evil, do something, that we may all see it! Behold

ye are of no account and your work is nothing at all!"--yet many

commentators, who will not allow any supernatural occurrence to

pass without advancing a natural explanation, are quite prone to

imply, and base arguments on the conclusion that the idols in some

mysterious way gave oracles. Rychlak, e.g., in Osee, says that error

would be avoided, si de manifestestationibus idolorum, quae et consule-

bantur et aliquando consulentibus responsa dabunt, in-

telligamus. Again, referring specifically to the older passages which

mention the ephod, two of which, 1 Sa. 23:9 and 30:7, represent the

ephod as giving oracles, Maybaum says," All those passages through-

out give the impression that by ephod is meant a real Yahweh image.

Now, either an image can give an oracle or the supposition is


   69 See an article by Frarrer in Kitto’s Cyclopaedia of Biblical Lit.., Vol. III,

p 986.

   70 In this passage. Hos. 3:4, the prophet says of his unfaithful wife that she

must abide with him many days in faithfulness, but without a wife's privileges;

so must Israel abide for a period of purification "without king and without

prince, and without sacrifice and without massebah, and without ephodh and

teraphim." Note that ephod and teraphim are more closely joined than the

other couples.

    71 Die Entwickelung des altisrael. Prophetentums, 1883, p, 26,



untenable.72  It may be argued that the users of them believed that

they gave oracles. They may easily have thought that idols heard

their prayers and influenced their destinies, but it is not credible that

they believed that any idol (apart from priest-jugglery) ever answered

such a question as this, "If I pursue this troop, shall I overtake

them?" 1 Sa. 30:17, but David received the answer "yes."  Now it

may have been that lots were used coram idolo and with some invo-

cation of the idol. In Cheyne-Black's Encyc. Biblica  under "Divina-

tion." Professor Davies, of Bangor, in considering Ezek. 21:26, says,   

"We omit the reference to the teraphim because no new point is

indicated by it; the king consulted the teraphim [singular], by

shaking the arrows before it, as was always done also by the heathen

Arabs." His designating teraphim as singular is quite arbitrary (see

above, p. 28). By consulting the section on arrows (p. 34, below),

it will be seen that arrows were not always used before idols. But

farther on in the article Davies says that possibly the teraphim were

used as lots. Then why not here in Ezek. 21:26?  But the idea that

the Hebrews consulted idols by casting lots before them is pure

supposition, while the use of lots is not supposition but fact, as has

been shown in regard to the ephod, and will be shown in regard to

Urim and Thummim. These were real oracles, not dumb idols. The

prophets could not say of them, "Behold ye are of no account, and

your work is nothing at all!" for great leaders in Israel had relied

on them and had been victorious.

            But "the teraphim," says the prophet Zechariah (10:2), have

spoken vanity," rqw vzH MymsOqhv NvxA vrBd Myprth yk "and the

diviners have seen a lie." The LXX in this passage, and in Hos. 3:4,

renders teraphim respectively by a]pofqeggo<menoi, and dh?loi, terms

which indicate anything but dumb idols, and in this connection

should be accorded due weight. In the passage in Hosea, and also

in Jud. 17 and 18, teraphim are associated with the ephod. Micah

makes an ephod and teraphim, puts them in a private chapel, secures

a competent priest, and then travellers stop in and consult the oracle.

With what is already known of the ephod, viz., that it was a pouch


   72 In the same strain, Aowack (Die Kleinen Prophelen, 1597, 1). 26) says:

dvpx in the old time undoubtedly was an idol which was used to give oracles,

1 Sa. 23:6, 9; 30:7. He adheres to the same view in his Richter und Ruth, 1901.

On the other hand, cf. Meyer (Chzronicozz Hebraeorum, 1699, p. 468), speaking

of a theory that teraphim were statues of loved ones “Mical audivit quasi vocem

submissam loquentem ad se de rebus futuris ... quod est impossibile, cum sermo

non possit fieri nisi per organa a Deo in natura posita.


                    FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 31


to contain the sacred lots, it seems quite likely that the teraphim

were little images used as lots. We have inferred from Gen. 31:35,

the account of Rachel hiding her father's teraphim, that they must

have been small from Hos. 3:4--the prophecy of Israel's being for

many days without teraphim (see note 70 on p. 29, above)--that they

were not condemned as idols, but associated with the ephod. The

order of occurrence is always ephod and teraphim. The ephod

itself was independent of the lots, which were called by another

name. The Urim and Thummim; as we shall see, were such lots

the arrows were lots: the goraloth were lots, the teraphim seem to

have been used as lots also. It is ouite natural that an image, looked

upon with superstitions awe as in some way a supernatural agent

should be the common household means of appeal to a wise and

benevolent Power, albeit but little known. The small size of such

images will cause no surprise to those who are familiar with the

innumerable Egyptian images not longer than three or four inches, or  

the miniature idols of the Chinese. In Ezek. 21 the king of Babylon

wishes to have divine guidance as to the route of an expedition.

To obtain it he uses three means, of which one is consult the

teraphim.  He looked for real assistance. We are probably to

understand that he consulted the teraphim as we might speak of

consulting the dice. We conclude, then, that there is no Hebrew

authority to prove that teraphim is ever a pluralis extensivisus, indicat-

ing but one image, but there are three passages where it is evidently

plural, and the others are non-committal, or favor the plural. As

to size, our preconceived notions formed from the words image and

idol make it hard to think of the very small kind which, as among

the Chinese, may have been the common household image. The

narratives, where they are readily carried or concealed even by a

woman, certainly strengthen this view. That they were not used in

idolatrous worship in the time of Hosea (c. 740 B.C.) seems a fair

inference (cf. above, p. 29), and the connection with the ephod,

together with the fact that they gave oracles seems to point to the

theory advanced, that the teraphim were small images used as

lots in divination at a period in all probability earlier than 1000 B.C.

For elaborate arguments for the identity of teraphim with Urim and

Thummim, the reader is referred to Spencer's De Legibus ritualibus

Hebraeorum, 1732, III. 3, and to Robertson Smith's Old Testament

in the Jewish Church, 1892, p. 292, n. 1. That the teraphim were

gradually abandoned seems evident from their later condemnation

as something classed with idolatry and clung to with like stubborn-



ness; cf. 1 Sa. 15:23, "For rebellion is as the sin of divination (Msq,

see below, p. 34) and stubbornness is as iniquity (Nvx, see below,

p. 40, n. 100) and teraphim."73 Apparently a later comment aimed

at superstitious practices more than at the principle of divination.

See also 2 Ki. 23:24, where teraphim are classed with, but not as idols.


            2. Urim and Thummim.

            The same reasons which made it necessary to investigate the

teraphim apply to the Urim and Thummim. Their origin, as in the

case of ephod and teraphim, is unknown. The earliest document

of the O.T. which mentions them is the Deuteronomic Blessing,74

Dent. 33:8, which has been assigned by Moore to the time of

Jeroboam II (752-743). The passage in no way helps to an under-

standing of what the Urim and Thummim were. The account in

I Sa. 14:41 and 28:6 associates the use of Urim and Thummim with

Saul. The narrative is probably E, prior to 730 B.C.; and it is to

be noted that the use of Urim and Thummim is taken as a customary

thing, and although the passage in 1 Sa. l4:41, in the Hebrew, has be-

come corrupt, it is evidently since the third century B.C., and it shows

no signs of intentional alteration. The use of Urim and Thummim76

in divination in pre-exilic times is seen in I Sa. 14:41f, where Saul

divines with them to discover who had broken the taboo which he

had placed upon food. From v. 3 it will be seen that the ephod77

was used, and we are to understand that the lots were drawn from

it. Professor Haupt has rendered the passage as follows:78 "Saul

said: O Yahweh, God of Israel, why hast Thou not responded to


   73 rcap;ha Myprtv NvxAv yrm, Msq-txFH yk

   74 JdysHe wyxl jyrUxv jymitu rmx yvilel;v, "And of Levi he said, thy

Thummim and thy Urim be for the man, thy godly one."

   75 Cheyne-Black's Encyclopaedia, col. 1090, § 25.

   76 A careful survey of the literature on Urim and Thummim may be found in

an article so entitled by Muss-Arnolt in the Amer. Journal of Semitic Lit., July,


   77 In 1 Sa. 28:6 we read that Saul could obtain no oracle, neither by dreams,

nor by Urim, nor by prophets. tvmlHb Mg hvhy vhnf xlv hvhyb lvxw lxwyv

Myxybnb Mg Myrvxb Mg. Comparing the undoubted use of the ephod by Saul,

the omission of it here is an indication that it was understood to he used with

Urim; cf. Driver's article on "Law" in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, 1900;

also Robertson Smith's 0T. in the Jewish Ch., 1881, p. 428, n. 4.

  78 yb wy Mx Mvyh jdbf tx tynf xl hm.AlA lxrWy yhlx hvhy lvxw rmxyv

lxrWy jm.fab Onwy, Mxv MyrUx hbh lxrWy yhlx hvhy hzh NvfAh, ynb Ntnvhyb vx

My(m.tu) hbh  

                     FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 33


Thy servant this day? If the guilt be in me or in my son Jonathan,

0 Yahweh, God of Israel, give Urim; but if it should be Thy people

Israel, give Thummim.”79  With Wellhausen and Schwally, Haupt

combines Myrvx with rrx curse, representing the unfavorable au-

swer, while Mym.tu means ‘blamelessness, acquittal,’ and is the favor-

able answer.

            The general view of the size of Urim and Thummim is gained    

from the description of the Nw,h, a kind of pocket (usually, mistrans-

lated ‘breast-plate’), which is given in Exodus and Leviticus. This

pocket, bearing twelve precious stones, was about twelve inches

square, fastened permanently to the high priest's breast, with an

opening to allow the high priest to take out the Urim and Thummim,    

which were kept within. It could scarcely have been used as a    

dice-box, for it could not be removed from the ephod. Here, how-

ever, we may see a trace of the pre-exilic form of the ephod,

pouch to contain the sacred lots. It is altogether unlikely that Urim

and Thummim were ever used with the NwH as nothing is heard of

it before the Exile, and after the Return it: seems that Urim and

Thummim could not be used,80 or rather, that they no longer existed.

If they had survived the Captivity, they could doubtless have been

used. The Babylonian Talmud, Sota, 48, a, states that Urim and

Thummim were lost at the time of the destruction of the Temple,

586. B.C.81  Maimonides82 however, speaks of Urim and Thummim

having existed to complete the garments of the high priest though

they were not consulted. It seems probable that something was

made to represent them.

            A good deal has been made by Wellhausen, Benzinger, and

Thenius-Lohr of the technic of the priest in the use of lots; but

the idea has arisen from a misconception of the manner in which

they were used, and a misunderstanding of 1 Sa. 14:18 and perhaps

14:41f, where receiving no answer may have been ascribed to a fault

of technic. Undoubtedly, if the post-exilic priest had had Urim and


  79 See BELP. in JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LIT., 1900, p. 58, and notes 54-61,

cf. "Crit. Notes on Numbers," in SBOT., p. 57, l. 45.

   80 Cf. Ezra 2:63, and Bertheau-Ryssel’s, commentary: also Siegfried ad loc.

   81 Mym.t;v MyrUx vlFb Mynvwxrh Myxybn vtmwm, from the destruction of the

former prophets Urim and Thummim were lost."

   82 Yadh Hachazaqah, Warsaw, 1181, wdqmb ylk tvklh, x. 10: ynw tybb vWf

Nhb Nylxwn vyh xlw pfxv Mydgb hnmw Mylwhl ydk Mym.tuv MyrUx, They made

in the Second Temple Urim and Thummim, in order to complete the eight

garments, although they were not consulted by them."



Thummim, he would have used them; but not having them, the idea

may have grown up that they were of the nature of charms. Well-

hausen, in Skizzen, III., p. 144, in speaking of amulets, says: "Frey-

tag has compared the Thummim of the high priest, which likewise

were carried at the neck. The phylacteries and bells on the pallium

show that one is not justified is repudiating the comparison. How-

ever, although the later Jews may have regarded Urim and Thummim

as a charm-ornament of the high priest, they seem to have been

originally two lots to which, when used for oracular purposes, was

attributed any alternative you please as signification (see Vatke,

323)." It is riot improbable that the sacred lots had come down

from heathen times and that they were originally amulets.83  They

may have been the sacred, or priestly, lots, while the teraphim were

the common household lots. Probably they were marked by color,

or more likely with the words by which they were called, indicating

one as the favorable, and the other as the unfavorable answer. Be-

ing lost at the Captivity, and forgotten, the very significance of the

names was no longer recognized and the Versions render "Lights

and Perfections."


            3. Arrows and Rods.

            These complete the list of articles used by the Hebrews in divina-

tion by lot, if, indeed, the arrow is to be distinguished from the rod.

It is misleading even to speak of the Hebrews in this connection, for

an undoubted instance of a Hebrew (not a Bedouin) divining with

arrows is yet to be found.

            In Ezek. 21:26f,  "the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the

way to use divination ( Msq): he shook the arrows, he consulted the

teraphim,84 he inspected the liver. In his right hand is the lot,

Jerusalem, ..." Much light is thrown on the use of arrows as lots,

in a dissertation by Anton Huber.85 In the game of Meisir, arrows

were used for lots. They were previously marked with names or

notches, and then placed in a leathern bag or quiver, and shaken

under a sheet which was held so as to conceal the arrows from the

person who shook them. When an arrow was shaken up so as to

project above the others, it was drawn and handed to another person     


   83 Cf. Brinton, Religions of Primitive Peoples, 1897, p. 148, on lucky stones.

   84 The idea advanced by Davies, of Bangor (see above, p. 30), that shaking

the arrows and consulting the teraphim were but one act is not borne out by the

Hebrew. The methods used are as evidently three as any brief statement could

make them.

   85 Uber des "Meisir" genannte Spiel der heidnischen Araber, Leipzig, 1883.


                                    FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                             35


who gave it to the owner, who won according to the marks on the

arrow. This gives all the facts necessary for understanding how

arrows were used. The connection with Ezek. 21:26 is established by

the word for shaking the arrows, Arab. qalqala, which is the lqal;qi

of this passage. The lot in his hand, Jerusalem, was evidently the

arrow marked Jerusalem to indicate the course of the expedition.

Wellhausen, Skizzen, III., p. 127, comes to the same conclusion,

based upon St. Jerome quoted by Gesenius, as follows: He consults

the oracle according to the ritual of his people, putting the arrows

into a quiver, after first marking them with the names of different

places, and then shaking them to see what place would be indicated

by the coming out of an arrow, and what city he should first attack.

The Greeks call this belomanti<a or r[abdomanti<a. Wellhausen's con-

jecture Skizzen, III. p. 167, quoted by Benzinner p. 408, n., that

torah goes back to the lot-arrow and the verb hry 'cast' used of

lots and of arrows, a direction being obtained in the first instance

from the way the arrow pointed when cast is very doubtful, inasmuch

as it lacks the element of chance which is the essence of divination

by lot; for if arrows deviated in any unforeseen way from the direc-

tion in which they were shot, it would render skill in archery unat-

tainable. Besides it is first necessary to show that arrows were ever     

‘cast’ in divination. They were shaken and drawn. It was this

superstitious use of chance that caused Mohammed to forbid this

use of arrows, Koran, Sura V. 4, 92; he implies that Satan is the

one who directs chances, not God. Contrast with this Prov. 16:33

see above, p. 27. Canon Driver, in his article on “Law,” hrvt, in

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, 1900, seems to adopt Wellhausen's

conjecture in spite of his warning: Such conjectures always remain

uncertain and do not deserve too much credit. Wellhausen there-

upon retracts a conjecture made with as little foundation, that

is related to tama’im 'amulets.' But Driver thinks to brace up the

theory by the use of hry in casting lots. There might be some

ground for it if lots were really cast as he supposes; but being in

reality drawn, as were the arrows, there is none. Some commenta-

tors have entered so heartily into the idea of the Loospfeile that an

arrow is never shot but it is in divination. So it is with Jonathan and

David, and so with Joash at Elisha's death-bed. But it is altogether

unlikely, since an arrow, when shot, is gone.87


  86 See Haupt's "Babylonian Elements in the Levitical Ritual," JBL. XIX.,

notes 11-13.

  87 Sellin, in Beitrage zur Religionsgesch., 1897, p. 116 ff., is not convincing;



            In regard to the use of the rod, the only reference is Hos. 4:12, ymfa

vl dyGya vlqmav lxw;y vcfeb, "My people consult their staff, and their

rod makes known to them." From this passage no idea can be

gained of the method used in divination, except the derivation of from llq, ‘shake,’ indicating, perhaps, the use of rods in a way

similar to that of the arrows; and this is favored by the parallelism

with  Cfe which may be used for CHe, 'arrow'; cf. 1 Sa. 17:7, "the

staff88 of his spear." But it is not even certain that it was a lot at

all. The reference may be to a so-called divining rod which is said

to shake in the hand and indicate where water is to be found. If

the use of the rod, however, were similar to that of the arrow as a

lot, this verse (Hos. 4:12), with the use of hnz ‘to go astray’ after

lot-oracles (see above, p. 15) ought to be compared with Jud. 8:27,

where the same expression is used of Gideon's ephod. The rod has

an extensive use in Hebrew literature as a magician's wand or pedes-

trian's staff, but the data that prove its use as a lot are wanting.


            2. The Ephod as a Part of the Insignia of Priests.


            With the Captivity the ancient regime of the Hebrews came to an

end, and the period of Babylonian influence began. In all probability

many old customs and usages fell into desuetude, never to be revived;

many traditions derived from heathen times lapsed, and thereafter

were only remembered with shame; many ceremonial objects of

venerable antiquity were lost, and became names to conjure with,

or were restored under new forms bearing little likeness to the old.

So it was with the Urim and Thummim, which were never to appear

again; and yet the longing for them breaks forth in the Korahite

psalm (43) of the Second Temple: "O send out Thy Urim and

Thy Thummim, that they may lead me."89

            But though Urim and Thummim did not exist after the Captivity

(see above, p. 33), yet the NwH was made, and also the ephod to

which it was attached; for the Babylonian Talmud, Nywdq, 37, a,

has a tradition of sages coming to a certain heathen Dama, the son


Ezek. 21:26, e.g., certainly does not show that the Hebrews used arrows. In

Reclus, Primitive Folks,  p. 276, is a suggestion as to the meaning of an arrow

shot.  Among the Kohls of Chota Nagpore, an arrow is shut in front of a person as

a sign that the way is cleared for him.

    88 The text has CH, the Q're Cf; cf. also the interchange of h and ‘ in modern


    89 See Lagarde, Prophetae Chaldaice, Lipsiae, 1872, p. xlvii, who emends: Hlw

ynvHny hmh jymtuv jyrUx. Cf. Duhm ad loc.

                                    FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                             37


of Nethina of Ashkelon, to purchase stones for the ephod.90  But

though the ephod was restored in an altered form, it was never again

used in divination, and only survived as a part of the insignia of

the high priest. These insignia were known as the abundance of

garments, Mydgb hbvrm, which is explained as follows: “High

priests who officiated from the day that the oil of anointment was

lost (literally hidden), had their high-priesthood indicated by the

abundance of their garments," that is, they wore the eight priestly

garments; of which the four peculiar to the high priest are given

as: Cycv NwHv dvqxv lyfm, the robe, the ephod, the breastplate,

and the gold plate.

            It is impossible to say with certainty just what this high priest's

ephod was.  Some writers, like Riehm (Handworterbuch des

biblischen Altertums, 2d ed., 1893-4, "Ephod"), consider it essen-

tially a shoulder-piece; as Thenius, e.g., says the ephod is nowhere,

anything else than a shoulder garment. Others see in it a long robe

with a girdle about the waist and the hoshen, or ‘pocket,’ fastened

between the girdle and the shoulders. No doubt the description

was plain enough to him who wrote it; but the only clue we can

have to the object described must come from a knowledge of what

the old ephod was. This gives us three points which, in all proba-

bility, were the traditional residuum from which the post-exilic ephod

was reconstructed.91 These were the pouch for the sacred lots the

girding about the waist, and the equivalence of ephod-bearer and

priest. Now the main points in the description of the later ephod

are that it is an essential part of the insignia of the high priest, the

hoshen, a pouch for the sacred lots which were no longer in exist-

ence and the woven piece for girding on. These have been brought

out in all descriptions of the post-exilic ephod, but the point that  

has been overlooked is that the Iroshen was upon the woren piece

(bwH) which was used to gird it on, Ex. 28:28, and not between the

band and the shoulders as has been supposed. Moreover, the loci-

tion of the woven piece was not at the waist, but higher up, "over


   90 dvqxl Mynbx MymkH vnmm vwqk.  See Babylonian Talmud, xmvy, p.  73,

a, Commentary of Rashi. hbvrm is the participle Pual (hB,rum;), and properly

denotes the high Priest, not his garments; cf. Levy's Dict. hbvrm; see also

Jastrow's Dict., p. 838, b.

  91 Robertson Smith 0. T. in the Jew. Ch., p. 219 says: "Many features of the

old Hebrew life which are reflected in lively form in the Earlier Prophets, were

obsolete long before the time of the Chronicler, and could not be revived except

by archeological research. The whole life of the old kingdom was buried and




the heart," Ex. 2*:29f. Hence the band must have encircled the

body just under the armpits. The braces92 over the shoulders, not

needed on the old ephod, were required to keep the band in place

when it was no longer around the loins. The "stones of remem-

brance" are an indication of the thought of a later age and are quite

in harmony with the fashioning of a decoration, the use of which

had long since passed away. The expression "over Aaron's heart"

is simply an indication of place; the metaphorical sense of bl was

mind as we still preserve it in the phrase to learn by heart. Rashi

(Breithaupt, p. 672) says : "I have neither heard of nor found in

the Talmud an exposition of the form of this ephod; but I imagine

that it was a cincture of a breadth accommodated to a man's back,

something like an apron (succinctorium)." There is another indi-

cation of the location of this band. Ezek. 44:18, giving directions as

to the priestly garments, says:  fzayAb vrgHya xl, which is said to mean

that the band shall not be so high as to be sweated under the arms,

nor so low as to be liable to the same at the loins. But this is

doubtful. Yet so Rashi: "Hence they did not gird themselves in

places liable to sweat, neither at their armpits above nor their loins

below." Modern attempts at restoration of the post-exilic ephod

have neglected these points. Professor Moore (Cheyne-Black's

Encyc. Biblica, vol. ii., "Ephod") describes it as a curious garment

coming to the knees, apparently confusing it with the lyfm or ‘robe’

of the ephod, Ex. 39:22, which was not a part of the ephod, but was

put on first, and is enumerated by itself as a distinct garment (see

above. p. 37). Braunius93 has some curious pictures of the ephod,

and Riehm94  has some still more curious, but they are, of course,

imaginary reconstructions and not intended to be taken as authentic.

But from the data given above we shall not be far astray if we

picture to ourselves the post-exilic ephod as a woven band, probably

as wide as the hoshen, i.e. a span, encircling the body between the

armpits and the loins, having jeweled braces to hold it in place, and

a jeweled pouch in front-the traditional receptacle for the sacred

lots. It is not hard to see in this portion of the post-exilic insignia


   92  Professor Haupt has kindly suggested to me that in the description of the

bronze carriages for the sacrificial basins in 1 Ki. 7:30, 40 (cf. Crit. Notes on

Kings,  SB0T. ad loc. and Stade's paper in ZAT. XXI.), tvptk means 'struts,

oblique braces' ='suspenders'; see the figure of a Bedouin with   tvptk Psalms, in

SBOT., p. 224.

   93 De Vestitn Sacerdotum Hebr.,1701.

   94 Handworterbuch les biblischen Altertums, 1884, Ephod.

                                    FOOTE : THE EPHOD.                                            39


the essential features of the ancient ephod. It cannot be termed a

development, but rather a reconstruction based upon a tradition

which embodied the chief characteristics of the antique ephod.


                                    3. CONCLUSION.

            In the light of the foregoing investigation it is apparent that many

commentators have gone astray because they did not give due weight

to the essential connection of the ephod with divination,--and not

some magical, image-speaking, priest-juggling, kind of divination,

which is utterly without proof among the Hebrews, but the ephod

is associated with divination by lot. This is the raison d'etre of the

old ephod, and an investigation which overlooks it is liable to any

kind of idle conjecture. Professor Marti's error has been of this

nature, and this is the difficulty with Professor Moore's article in

the Encyc. Biblica, although some of the inferences are no doubt

correct and were published by the present water in the JHU Cir-

culars95 over eight months before that article appeared.

            That the ephod was originally an idol and afterwards became

something to hold lots is again, opposed to the sound ethnological

principle stated by Robertson Smith that nothing is more foreign to

traditional rites than the arbitrary introduction of new forms. Any

custom that is based on a superstition cannot charge, because the

essential cannot be distinguished from the non-essential. This is

clearly seen in the superstitious rites of the Romans, and especially in

magical incantations and the rites of the Salii.96  Quintilian, I. 6, 40,

says: Saliorum carmina vix sacerdotibus suis satis intellecta:97 sed

illa mutari vetat religio et consecratis utendum est.  But divination

by lot was a superstition. The ephod, it is evident, goes back to

times that cannot long have been distinguishable front pure heathen-

dom. The lots used with the ephod were not common pebbles, but

traditional and sacred lots, whether teraphim or Urim and Thummim.

Correctness of ritual is the more important as the rites are less

understood. Hence Micah's joy at having a Levite for a priest:

“Now I know that Yahweh will do me good, since I have gotten a


   95 This statement is made, of course, in my own defence. The paper referred

to, antedating the appearance of the Encyc. Biblica, dues not note that the arti-

cle on Dress by Abrahams and Cook suggests the possibility of the ephod's being

originally a loincloth.

  98 See Teuffel and Schwabe, History of Roman Lit., 1891, concerning the Salii.

  97 How true of our own Authorized Version and the following too.



Levite as my priest."98 The same devotion to the minutest detail

of ritual is to be noted in the Ceremoniale of the Roman Church.

And so with the ephod, unless the proper lots were had, no oracle

could be obtained; cf. Ezra 2:63, and see above, p. 33. The very

manner of drawing lots was of prime importance, cf. Gemarah on

Yoma, 4:1 (see above, p. 24). How, then, can we suppose that the

ephod was at one time an idol, and in less than two hundred years

after it was something to hold lots girded on little Samuel's waist!

Yet Maybaum99 asserts that MIicah's ephod was an idol (lsp) and

later on was called lgf, a 'calf'!  It has been suggested that the

ephod must have been connected with idolatry, because in several

passages the word ephod seems to have been purposely eliminated

from the narrative.100  Budde, in his commentary on Judges, 1897,

p. 68, says that the old ephod must somehow have represented the

deity and therefore was afterwards repudiated. But if any such

intentional corrupting of passages took place, it must have been

accomplished shortly before the Captivity, since, with the exception

of Wellhausen,101 commentators agree that Hosea allows the ephod

and teraphim as "necessary forms and instruments of the worship of

Jehovah," to use the words of Robertson Smith, and hence the ephod

could not have been an idol. As for post-exilic times it makes little

difference what it was, for it had evidently been forgotten; and yet

one cannot help feeling that, had it been an idol or any object of

worship, it would not have been restored;102 but, like the teraphim,

which represented a comparatively harmless superstition, would have

been allowed to remain in oblivion. There is, however, another

reason for the corruption of the passages referring to the ephod


  98 :Nhkl yl hyh yk yl hvhy byFyy yk ytfdy hTf hkym rmxyv.  What a

confession, by the way, that the Aaronic priesthood was not known! See

Robertson Smith, O. T. in. Jew. Ch., 1881, p. 227 f.

   99 Prophetenthum, 1883, p. 27.

  100 Cf. I Sa. 14:18; 14:41; 28:6; 28:14 LXX, variant; I Ki. 2:26; also according

to Wellhausen, in Ezek. 44:18, and I Sa. 15:23, where Nvx he thinks was dvpx.

  101 Kleinen Propheten, p. 103, 1897. It is not without a touch of scorn that

Hosea here enumerates without explicit condemnation Masseba, Ephod, and

Teraphim, as something one will hardly get along without in exile: this is neces-

sary, you know, you surely like it this way!

 102 The survival among Christian people of heathen rites which have lost their

ancient significance, such as, e.g., the Yule-log, is not parallel; inasmuch as a

century of disuse and oblivion would have clone away with anything as a survival.

The later ephod was not a survival, but a reconstruction; while the earlier ephod

probably represents a survival.

                      FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                             41


which will be mentioned presently when the ephod is considered as

a survival.

            Having considered all the passages that throw any light on the

ephod, and also the conjectures which seem to have most weight

and are most recent, it remains to sum up the conclusions arrived

at.  Starting with the principle that what a thing is for is the truest

indication of what it is, we find that the ephod was evidently used

in divination by lot. An investigation of the use of lots reveals the

fact that they were said to be cast, but were in reality drawn; and

the ephod was the receptacle, klhrwtri<j, that held them. Taken in

connection with the passages that speak of the ephod being girdled

on or fastened about the waist (rgH having this special meaning),

and the passage in 2 Sa. 6:14ff. which shows what a scanty covering

it was, the ephod appears to have been a pouch, large enough to

put the hands into, which was hung at the waist of the person using

it. It was easily carried in the hand. Its early use was not confined

to any special order of priests;103 but, like other things originally

common to all, it gradually became a priestly function. Samuel as

a lad, girt with the ephod at Shiloh, is a remarkable parallel to the

child that drew the oracles of Fortuna at Praeneste. The ephod was

quickly consulted, though there was doubtless a technical method

which was always observed. The lots were probably teraphim in

the earlier times, but Urim and Thummim seem to be supplanting

them at least as early as the time of Saul, though they continued to

be associated with the ephod as late as Hosea, 740 B.C. There is

no reason for supposing that Micah's ephod was anything different

from that used by Saul and David. In regard to Gideon's ephod

when we omit the later editorial comment, there is the bare state-

ment that it was made and placed in the city of Ophra. From this

statement no theory which conforms to what is known of the ephod

can be disproved. The strongest probability lies on the side of its

being what the ephod was later--a pouch for the sacred lots, made,

it may be, most sumptuously (compare the candles, etc., given to

churches), as befitted the maker's social position (as, e.g. Gideon's),

and used as Micah's ephod was, in a private chapel such as wealthy

citizens affected. It is best to leave it so.  Coniectura vilis est.

            Connected with the subject of the ephod is the consideration of


   103 But Welinausen, Proleg., 2d ed., 1883, p. 137 states that only priests could

use the ephod What shall we say, then, of Micah's Levite, of Samuel, or Saul, or

David? See also Robertson Smith, 0.T. in Jew. Ch., 1881, p. 248, and May-

baum,  Prophetenthum, 1883, p. 10.



it as a survival of a primitive usage for ceremonial purposes just as

the use of stone knives for circumcision, or the Shofar in the modern

synagogue, the use of candles instead of gas or electric lights at

dinner parties, or the costume of the yeomen of the guard in Eng-

land who are still habited in the costume of the sixteenth century, or

the academic gowns, the royal crowns and sceptres, or the vest-

ments104 of the Catholic Church, etc.; cf. Joshua in the Polychrome

Bible, p. 62, 1. 5. In the qW sackcloth is a survival of primitive

usage; cf. Gen. 42:25 the corn sack, Is. 20:2 dress of prophets and

devotees, Gen. 37:34 conventional mourning garb. If the priests put

on the ephod, they did so because the ephod was a primitive usage.

It has been seen that no distinction is made in the O.T. between

ephodh and ephodh badh, which has been supposed to mean linen

ephod. But from the consideration on p. 3 above, note 7, and the

extended examination in Note D, p. 47, below, we must understand



            FIG. 1.                        FIG. 2.                            FIG. 3.


ephodh badh to be a covering of the nakedness, literally ephodh partis

(virilis). Such representations are to be seen on Egyptian and

Babylonian monuments. Perhaps the commonest shape of the

ancient loincloth is shown in Fig. 1, which certainly meets the re-

quirements of the description of the mikhnese badh. The loincloth

of the Indians of Cape Horn (see above, p. 12, n. 33) was triangular

in shape and kept in pace by a cord, as in Fig. 2. The ephodh badh,

however, considering the use to which it is put, may have developed

from something like Fig. 3. This is a pouch or bag, differentiated

from the kilt by its specialized use. For the ephod was not a mere

loincloth or covering of the nakedness. The mikhnese badh were

that, and became the sacred garment. The ephod was not a loin-

cloth per se, but a pouch for sacred lots existing side by side with

ordinary loincloths and sacred kilts. Moreover, the mikhnese badh,

or sacred kilt, does not appear to have excited any repugnance at a


   104 It may he noted that the vestments of the Church, especially the Chasuble,

Alb, and Stole, are probably the ancient official garments of civil magistrates of

the early centuries of the Christian era, and rather of Syrian officials than of

Greek or Roman. See the Century Dictionary, 1900, Vol. VIII., p. 6741.

              FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                             43


period of greater refinement than that of the early monarchy. That

this was the case with the ephod seems, to most commentators,

proved by the apparently intentional corruption of some of the

passages referring to the ephod (see above, p. 40, n. 100). These

commentators explain this repudiation by supposing the ephod to

have been an idol. But this was not the case. Perhaps the reason

for the repudiation of the ephod by certain redactors of the Biblical

documents may have been that they considered it indecent, either

because it was too scanty for a loincloth, or perhaps, because it had

some connection with the phallic worship of the Canaanites. The

ephod was not a phallus, which, we have constantly to remind our-

selves, was daily seen by the ancients without the slightest offence

(see Dr. Dollinger's Heidenhum und Judenthum, p. 169); but badh

may have meant phallus, and ephod was closely connected with it,

sharing the sacredness of the symbol, which to the ancients suggested

only profound and reverent thoughts. This cannot he doubted from

such references as Gen. 24:2-47:29,105 where a vow was rendered the

more inviolable by contact with what was looked upon as the symbol

of the mystery of life. Some such connection as this may account

for a feeling in later times that the ephod was indecent.


                                    Ethnological Parallels.

            The ephod seems to be a special development of the primitive

loincloth. The loin-covering was probably the starting-point of

development in the direction both of the garment and the pouch.

A step in this development is seen in an account by John Foreman,

who travelled for several years in and about all the principal islands

of the Philippine Archipelago, and who proceeded to Paris, in Octo-

ber, 1898, at the request of the American Peace Commission, to

express his views before them. In 1696, he says, the men of the

Pelew Islands had a leaf-fibre garment around their loins, and to it

was attached a piece of stuff in front, which was thrown over their

shoulders and hung loose at the back. This loincloth, which cannot

but remind one of the fig-leaf hagoroth of our first parents (Gen. 3:7)

would evidently furnish a place where articles could be carried. But

the ephod was not an ordinary pouch used for general purposes,

but it had a distinctly sacred character. The post-exilic ephod still


   105 Cf. Dillmann's Genesis, Leipzig, 6th ere., 1892, p. 301; also Gunkel's

Genesis, p, 232,

   106 The Philippine Islands, 2d ed., London, 1899, p. 39.



retained its sacred character, being a part of the merubah begadim

(see above, p. 37, n. go) by which the high priest was distinguished.

This use of garments to denote dignity is not without parallel.

Herbert Spencer in Ceremonial Institutions, "Badges and Costumes,"

1880, p. 181, quotes Cook as saying of the Sandwich Islanders, that

quantity of clothing is a mark of position, and of the Tongans he

says the same; while he tells us that in Tahiti, the higher classes

signify their rank by wearing a large amount of clothing at great

inconvenience to themselves. The Arabs furnish an allied fact. In

Karseem “it is the fashion to multiply this important article of

raiment [shirt] by putting on a second over the first and a third

over the second.”  The same practice prevails in Altenburg, Ger-

many, where the peasant girls wear a great many skirts.107 The

ephod came, in time, to be the symbol of a special class of men who

were, in a way, intermediary between man and God, for through

them divine oracles were obtained. A sacred band for the loins may

be the index of this divine mission. Frazer's Goldelz Bough, 1890,

Vol. 1., p. 37, gives instances of kings in the South Sea Islands who

were regarded as divine persons and were consulted as an oracle.

He says: "At his inauguration the king of Tahiti received a sacred

girdle108 of red and yellow feathers, which not only raised him to

the highest earthly station, but identified him with their gods." But

a still closer parallel to the ephod is to be found among the Colorado

Cliff-dwellers, who used a sacred girdle of cotton cloth, which, like

the later ephod, was about a span wide, and served as a pocket for

the prayer meal and sacred amulets (see above, p. 134) used in cere-

monials.109 We do not know that the amulets were used as lots, but

if so, here would be a primitive ephod with amulet-lots and distinctly

sacred character. No doubt many ethnological parallels will come

to light when the true idea of the ephod and divination by lot are

borne in mind; but there can be no reasonable doubt that it reaches

back in its origin to most primitive times.


                        Etymology of the Term "Ephod."

            No etymology yet proposed for the word dvpx has been generally

accepted. The various forms of the stem which occur, are:  dOpxe,


   107 Cf. the plate "Volkstrachten, I., No. 20," in Meyer's Konversations-Lexicon.

   108 Cf. Huxley, Science and Hebrew Tradition. New York, 1894, p. 332.

   109 Such a sacred girdle as is here described may be seen among the ethno-

logical exhibits of the University of Pennsylvania.

                     FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 45

dpoxe, TAd;paxA, dPox;y,.va, OtDApuxE, tDapuxa.  It used to be definitely stated

wished dpx that meant ‘to gird or bind on,’ and  dvpx was the ‘thing girded

on,’ and hdpx the ‘girding on.’ One difficulty with this etymology

was the lack of Semitic parallels for dpx with such a meaning, which

is gained entirely from the context; but the chief difficulty is that

critical research has shown that dvpx was in use several centuries

earlier than dpx and hdpx, whence arose the later opinion that

is denominative and hdpx a derivative. Another group of commen-

tators following Lagarde (Ubersicht, p. 178; Mittheil. 4, pp. 17, 146)  

refer dvpx to Arab. wafada ‘to come as an ambassador,’ and finally

a ‘garment of approach to God.’ This is just as fanciful as Lagarde's

etymology of lx and hnxet. The ephod is not to be regarded as a

garment. Other commentators and scholars have based a theory on

the use of hDpux110  in Is. 30:22 (see above, p. 16f., for a consideration

of this passage) that dvpx means a ‘covering, garment, mask,’ but

this verse may be as late as the second century B.C., and a careful

study of the parallelism would favor some such idea as ‘ornament’

for hdpx which may be derived from the ornamental post-exilic

ephod.  The form hDApuxE is the regular fem. of dOpxe for dOpx< cf.

MdoxA, hm.AduxE; lgofA, hl.AgufE; especially MOrfA, f. hm.ArufE and the by-form

MOryfe.  For the initial e, cf.sUbxe,  Ges.-Kautzsch, §§ 23, h; 84 a, q,     

and Haupt, Assyr. E-vowel, p. 26, No. 10. The Syriac equivalent of

dvpx has the fem. form, xTAd;Pi with aph eresis of the initial x; see

Noldeke, Syriac Gram. § 32 (cf. xTAr;Ha end for xtrHx).  A

tentative explanation of dvpx has been given recently by Hubert

Grimme in the Orient. Litt.-Zeitung, February, 1901, under the title,

lxrx und Stammverwandtes, who notes the phenomenon seen in

the Semitic languages of q showing a tendency to become x. He

come believes that there are two q's, a sonant q which is stable, and a surd

q which has a tendency to become x.111 He gives several examples,

and among these are dpeqi ‘wrap together," appearing as dqx ‘wrap

up,' and dvpx ‘zusammenziehbare Loostasche.’ This is, at least, the

meaning sought, but the etymology is not certain.


   110 Cf. the Talmudic xDnUpxE and xdnvp.  It is by no means necessary to

suppose that xdnvp is derived from Latin funda, Funda (Macr. Saturn. 2.4, 31)

may he a Semitic loan word.

  111 Cf. Haupt, in Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie. vol. ii (Leipzig, 1887), p. 270, n.

2;  Allen in PAOS., October, 1888, p. cxi; Talcott Williams' article on the Arabic

dialect of Morocco, in Beitrage zur Assyr., Vol. III. p. 569, l. 26.  Professor

Haupt considers Grinune's theory very uncertain.




     A. According to Skeat's Etymological Dictionary of the Eng. Lang., Oxford,

1882, the verb kilt, to tuck up, is derived from a substantive signifying lap, occur-

ring in Sved. dial. kilta, the lap; cf. the Icelandic Kjalta, the lap, kjoltu-barn, a

baby in the lap. The oldest form of the substantive occurs in Moeso-Goth. kilthei,

the womb, from the same root as Eng. child. Thus the original sense of kilt as

a substantive is ‘lap,’ hence ‘tucked-up clothes.’

     B. Braunius, De vestitu saceradotum Hebr., I. 9: Docet etiam doctissiumus Hot-

tingerus in Hist. Orient. de Religione veterum Arabum, I. 8, "Koreischitas ante

Islamismum sacra sua celebrasse nudos, atque ita aedem Meccanam circuivisse."

See also Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites;2 pp. 161, 450 f, where he

remarks: At Mecca, in the times of heathenism, the sacred circuit of the Caaba

was made by the Bedouins, either naked or in clothes borrowed from one of

the Homs, or religious community of the sacred city. Wellhausen has shown that

this usage was not peculiar to Mecca, for at the sanctuary of Al-Jalsad also it

was customary for the sacrificer to borrow a suit from the priest; and the same

custom appears in the worship of the Tyrian heal (2 Ki. 10:22), to which it may

be added that, in 2 Sa. 6:14, David wears the priestly ephod at the festival of the

in-bringing of the Ark.  He had put off his usual clothes, for Michal calls his

conduct a shameless exposure of his person (cf. above, p. 7); see also I Sa. 19:24.

The Mecean custom is explained by saying that they would not perform the

sacred rite in garments stained with sin, but the real reason is quite different.

It appears that sometimes a man did make the circuit in his own clothes, but in

that case he could neither wear them again nor sell them, but had to leave them

at the gate of the sanctuary (Azraci, p. 125; B. Hisham, p. 128f.). They

became taboo (harim, as the verse cited by Ibn Hisham has it) through contact

with the holy place and function. See further in Robertson Smith; and cf.

Jastrow in JAOS., XX., p. 144, also XXI., 1900, p. 23, The Tearing of Garments.

     C. The primitive use of qyH is clearly seen from the following analysis, to be

associated with the sexual relation, as Professor Haupt has suggested. The uses

of qyH are here classified in five groups which are arranged chronologically

according to the earliest passages quoted in each group.

   1. The primitive use of qyH as seen in the earliest passages, clearly refers to

sexual embrace; as, Gen. 16:5, "I gave my handmaid into thy embrace." So

2 Sa. 12:8; 1 Ki. 1:2 (contemp.?) Prov. 5:2; Mic. 7:5; and probably Deut. 13:7;

28:54, 56.

   2. Another primitive use of qyH  is seen in the place where a child is held.      

If at the breast, the Hebrews used: dDa, hz,HA, bble, dwa, and dwo. If on the

shoulder, see Is. 46:7.  Undoubtedly the reference is to the abdominal part

of the body and the lap (cf. note A on kilt, above). So Nu. 11:12; Ruth 4:16;

2 Sa. 12:3 (nearly contemp.) 1 Ki. 3:20; 17:19; Is. 40:11; Lam. 2:12. Note that our

use of bosom in these places is poetic and symbolical; cf. above, p. 23.

   3. The use is then seen to be extended to the garment about the qyH, the lap,

the folds of a garment overhanging the girdle-the primitive pocket or place for

putting the hand.  So Ex. 4:6, 7; (in J, 850 B.C.) Ps. 35:13; 74:11; 79:12; 89:50;

Prov. 6:27; 16:33; 17:23; 21:14; Is. 65:6, 7; Jer. 32:18.

                                                FOOTE: THE EPHOD.                                 47


   4. Then the word is used of a curved surface, showing a similarity of develop-

ment with sinus and ko<lpoj. So I Ki. 22:35 (600 B.C.?) Ezek. 43:13-17.

   5. Among the latest uses of the word are Job 19:27, referring to the abdominal

cavity, and Eccles. 7:9, referring to the same figuratively as seat of affections.

    With ith the use of qyH compare Assyr. utlu and sunu; e.g. Descent of Istar,

Obv. 35, “the slaves sa istu urtli hairisina who from their husbands’ embrace ...''

And II R 35, Nr, "a maid sa ina sun mutisa who in her husband's embrace ...''

    D. On p. 3 above, it is maintained that db never means ‘linen’ but always

‘part.’  All the decisive passages are here discussed. Ex. 39:28 makes it plain

that db does not refer to the material of the Mysnkm.  The LXX and Pesh. feel

the difficulty and omit db. We revert then to the original meaning 'part.' Con-

sidering Ex. 28:42 in this light, rWb tOKkl hvr;f,, and the following clause are

plainly explanatory of db is and may be glosses.  In Lev. 6:3 “even the miknese

badh shall he put over his flesh" seems to he a gloss on db vdm, which with

the Samar. and Targum is better lead read db yDem, vestimenta partis (virilis).  In

Lev. 6:14 db between tntok and wdq may have been added later when db was

misunderstood to mean linen;  db after tpn,cm is also a subsequent audition;

after ysnkm and Fnekx it is probably original. Note that the dbh ydgb are worn

in the sanctuary only (i.e. in P).  In Lev, 16:23 db is original, while in v. 32 ydgb

wdqh seems to be an explanatory gloss, as also in v. 4.  In I Sa. 2:18; 22:18; 2 Sa.

6:14; I Chr. 15:27 db dypx, already sufficiently discussed, affords no reason for

inventing a new meaning for db; these passages are simply satisfied with the

original meaning 'part.'  In Ezek. 9:2, 3, 11; 10:2, 6, 7; Dan. 10:5; 12:6, 7

MyDbh wbl,  associatied with Mynt;mA, apparently refers to a loin cloth, MyDb

for db as partes privatae for pars virilis. The supernatural being in Ezk. 9 and 10

may have had on an    db dypx  around vynt;mA  with an inishorn stuck in the belt

of the dvpx.  This argument becomes more cogent when it is seen that the

Versions do not understand db.  In the earlier passages: I Sa. 2:18 the LXX

simply transliterates; in 22:18 li?non in Cod. Alex. is evidently a subsequent correction;

and in 2 Sa. 6:14 e@callon is clearly a guess. Some of the later

passages show that db was supposed by some translators to mean 'linen.'  In

I Chr. 15:27, the Chronicler (see above, p.11) apparently substituted another

phrase for db dvpx dvs lfv, which was added later under the influence of the

parallel passage. But if we find 'linen' in     the LXX in I Chr. 15:27 as well as in the

Priestly Code; consistently throughout the Vulgate; and in the Peshita everywhere

except in Dan. 10:5; 12:6, 7, nevertheless in Ezek. 9:2, 3, 11 the LXX renders

MyDb by o[ podh<rhj, and similarly rpvsh tsq was not understood. Moreover

Theodotion, who must have known the hypothetical 'linen,' discards it entirely and

resorts to a transliteration, while the Pesh. sometimes hazards rqyx.  From the Versions,

then, it is plain that 'linen'  is simply a guess for db and is varied




without scruple; cf. MyDbh wbl in Ezek. 9:11; 10:2, 6 variously rendered

e]ndedukw>j to>n podh<rh, --th>n stolh>n, --th>n stolh>n th>n a[gi<an; contrast

Ezek. 44:17, 18, Heb. and Versions.  We may then conclude that db 'linen’ never

existed,  and   db in db dvpx, db ysnkm, db ydgb means pars (virilis) and

MyDb in MyDbh wbul is an accusative of the member, as in Jud. 1:7, cf. Ges.-

Kautzsch § 121 d, and means partes (privatas), or as Haupt has suggested,

Mydb means a covering of the db like xeiri<j, manica, podei?on,  etc,



Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at: