Exodus 28:16
Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
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(16) Foursquare it shall be.—On the idea of perfection connected with the square, see Note on Exodus 27:1. But for this, twelve gems would probably have been arranged in the shape of an oblong.

Doubled.—Symmachus translates khoshen by δόχιον, “a receptacle” or “bag;” and if the Urim and the Thummim, being material objects, were to be “put in” it (Exodus 28:30), such a construction would seem to have been absolutely necessary. Hence the “doubling,” which would not have been needed merely for strength, since linen corselets, stout enough to resist the blow of a sword, were among the manufactures of Egypt, and could no doubt have been produced by the Hebrews.

A span.—The “span” was reckoned at half a cubit, or about nine inches.

28:15-30 The chief ornament of the high priest, was the breastplate, a rich piece of cloth, curiously worked. The name of each tribe was graven in a precious stone, fixed in the breastplate, to signify how precious, in God's sight, believers are, and how honourable. How small and poor soever the tribe was, it was as a precious stone in the breastplate of the high priest; thus are all the saints dear to Christ, however men esteem them. The high priest had the names of the tribes, both on his shoulders and on his breast, which reminds us of the power and the love with which our Lord Jesus pleads for those that are his. He not only bears them up in his arms with almighty strength, but he carries them in his bosom with tender affection. What comfort is this to us in all our addresses to God! The Urim and Thummim, by which the will of God was made known in doubtful cases, were put in this breastplate. Urim and Thummim signify light and integrity. There are many conjectures what these were; the most probable opinion seems to be, that they were the twelve precious stones in the high priest's breastplate. Now, Christ is our Oracle. By him God, in these last days, makes known himself and his mind to us, Heb 1:1,2; Joh 1:18. He is the true Light, the faithful Witness, the Truth itself, and from him we receive the Spirit of Truth, who leads into all truth.Doubled - To give it stability, or to form what was used as a bag for the Urim and Thummim: the latter appears to be the more likely.15-29. thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work—a very splendid and richly embroidered piece of brocade, a span square, and doubled, to enable it the better to bear the weight of the precious stones in it. There were twelve different stones, containing each the name of a tribe, and arranged in four rows, three in each. The Israelites had acquired a knowledge of the lapidary's art in Egypt, and the amount of their skill in cutting, polishing, and setting precious stones, may be judged of by the diamond forming one of the engraved ornaments on this breastplate. A ring was attached to each corner, through which the golden chains were passed to fasten this brilliant piece of jewelry at the top and bottom tightly on the breast of the ephod. It was doubled for greater strength, that it might better support and secure the precious stones which were put into it, and that it might receive the Urim and Thummim, Leviticus 8:8.

Four square it shall be, being doubled,.... That is, when it was doubled; for the length of it, according to Maimonides (c), was a cubit, which is two spans, and so, when it was doubled, was but one, and its length and breadth being alike, as follows:

a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof; a square, which is the measure, the form of the new Jerusalem, the church of Christ, Revelation 21:16 and may denote the perfection, firmness, and immovableness of it, Psalm 125:1. Some have thought that this breastplate was doubled, in order to have something enclosed in it: some imagine, that within this fold were put the Urim and Thummim, which they suppose to be two words engraved on a stone, and different from the twelve stones in it; others, that the name of Jehovah was written and put there, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi on Exodus 28:30 and other Jewish writers, and others, fancy some little images were put within these folds, the name with the teraphim, and supposed to be the Urim and Thummim; but if these were hid in the folds, they could not be seen when consulted; it is most probable there is nothing put within the double, which was not done for any such use; but most likely that it might be strong to bear the weight of the precious stones, put in ouches of gold upon it.

(c) Cele Hamikdash, c. 9. sect. 6.

{i} Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.

(i) The description of the breastplate.

16. double] More clearly, doubled, viz. so as to form a bag or pouch.

a span] ½ a cubit, or 9 inches. A piece of material, a cubit long and ½ a cubit broad, was to be doubled over, and sewn together, so as to form a pouch ½ a cubit square.

Verse 16. - Four square... being doubled. It has been generally supposed that the doubling was merely for the purpose of giving additional strength to the work, which was to receive twelve heavy gems; but Gesenius and others are of opinion that the object was to form a bag, in which the Urim and Thum-mira, which they regard as material objects, might be kept. A span. Half a cubit, or about nine inches. Exodus 28:16The second ornament consisted of the choshen or breastplate. Chosen mishpat, λογειο͂ν τῶν κρίσεωον (lxx), rationale judicii (Vulg.). חשׁן probably signifies an ornament (Arab. pulcher fuit; Ges.); and the appended word mishpat, right, decision of right, points to its purpose (see at Exodus 28:30). This breastplate was to be a woven fabric of the same material and the same kind of work as the ephod. "Foured shall it be, doubled (laid together), a span (half a cubit) its length, and a span its breadth." The woven cloth was to be laid together double like a kind of pocket, of the length and breadth of half a cubit, i.e., the quarter of a square cubit.
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