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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
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Breastplate of the High Priest
Greek - breastplate, breastplates
Hebrew - breastplate
Hebrew - breastplate, breastplates

1. A piece of elaborate embroidery about nine inches square worn by the high priest upon his breast. It was set with twelve stones with the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel engraved on each stone; The breastplate was a special item worn by the high priest as he ministered in the tabernacle or Temple. Made like a purse, the breastplate was constructed of gold metal, blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen. It was securely tied to the ephod. See Ephod. Inside the breastplate were placed two unknown stones, the Urim and Thummim, worn over the heart (Leviticus 8:8). The breastplate was called breastplate of judgment (Exodus 28:15) because these stones were the means of making decisions (Exodus 28:28-29). See Urim and Thummim. The purpose of the breastplate was: (1) to show the glory and beauty of the Lord (Exodus 28:2); (2) to be a means of making decisions (Exodus 28:30); and (3) to be a continuing memorial before the Lord (Exodus 28:29). 2. A piece of defensive armor. See Arms and Armor.

Paul used the military breastplate as an illustration of Christian virtues. Ephesians 6:14 reflects Isaiah 59:17 symbolizing the breastplate as righteousness. Faith and love are symbolized in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. Breastplates were also strong symbols of evil (Revelation 9:9,Revelation 9:17).

Lawson Hatfield

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'BREASTPLATE'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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