History of Vestments

History of vestments and the use of Liturgical Vestments in the Worship of Almighty God spans a period beginning with the Exodus from Egypt by the Israelites, circa 1210 B.C.

According to the Scripture, after the Prophet Moses brought the Children of Israel to the foot of Mount Sinai, the Prophet Moses received specific instructions for Vestments (from Almighty God) to be worn by the Priestly cast of the Tribe of Aaron when they were ministering in the Tabernacle as well as the specific Vestments that were unique to the High Priest alone.

(See the book of Exodus and Leviticus – Exodus 28; Exodus 39 and Leviticus 8).

History of Vestments
Every Specific Detail
Handed Down by God

Under this Command from Almighty God (not an option or suggestion) every detail of the Sacred Vestments was provided for.

The Vestments of the High Priest and his assistant Priests was specified down to the minute details as to material and form.

Add to this was that warning that a violation of these law – rules would result in the severest penalties. The veneration of the Hebrew people for the Sacred Vestments of the High Priest was so great that they even kept a lamp constantly burning before the repository of the Sacred Vesture.

History of Vestments - The Eight Vestments

The “High Priest” of the ancient Jewish dispensation wore a total of eight Vestments. Of these, four were of the same type worn by all Priests, and four that were unique to his Office.

The Vestments worn by both the High Priest and all Priests were:

1. Michnasayim (breeches)

Linen pants reaching from the waist to the knees “to cover their nakedness” (Exodus 28:42).

2. History of Vestments - Ketonet (tunic)

Made of pure linen, covering the entire body from the neck to the feet, with sleeves reaching to the wrist. The “Ketonet – Tunic” of the High Priest was richly embroidered (Exodus 28:39); those of the regular Priestly cast were plain (Exodus 28:40).

3. History of Vestments - Avnet (sash)

That of the High Priest was of a fine linen with “embroidery work” in blue, purple and scarlet (Exodus 28:39 & 39:29). Those worn by the regular Priestly cast were of white, twined linen.

4. Mitznefet (turban)

That of the High Priest was much larger than that of the regular Priestly cast and would so that it formed a broad, flat-topped turban. Those in the regular Priestly cast worn a turban that was wound so that it formed a cone shaped turban, call a “migbahat.” The “Tzitz,” a gold plate engraved with the Hebrew words: “Holiness unto YHWH” was attached to the Mitznefet – Turban.

The Vestments that were unique worn exclusive by the High Priest were:

1. Me'il (Robe of the Ephod)

A sleeveless, purple robe, the lower hem of which was fringed with small golden bells alternating with pomegranate shaped tassels in blue, purple and scarlet.

2. Ephod

Was a richly embroidered Vest or Apron with two onyx stones on the shoulders, on which were engraved the names of the Tribes of Israel.

3. Hoshen (Breastplate)

Made of pure gold and set with twelve gems, each engraved with the name of one of the Tribes of Israel. It was fastened to the Ephod.

4. Tzitz (Crown)

Plated with gold and inscribed with the words “Holy unto YHWH” which was attached to the front of the Mitznefet – Turban, so that it rested on the High Priest forehead.

Learn More Vestment History

Learn how vestments in the Christian use came about

The differing view of vestments in vestment history

Clerical vesture development throughout the centuries

Learn the history of chasubles

The history of the liturgical stole

The history of the maniple

History of the Alb

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