[b-hebrew] Ephod in Judges 8

Vadym Zhuravlov Vadym.Zhuravlov at cern.ch
Thu Apr 23 10:26:25 EDT 2009

Dear b-hebrew-ers,

During the reading of Gideon stories in Judges I learned that the current 
scholars opinion (R.Boling, D.N.Friedman) sees the meaning of word 
"ephod" as a garment. "Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible" describes ephod 
of Gideon as following:

"Several passages describe an idolatrous ephod. Gideon makes an ephod 
with the captured gold of the Ishmaelists ans places it in the city of 
Orphah. It becomes a stumbling block to Gideon and his family along with 
all of Israel (Judg. 8:27). Gideon's ephod is not described, but it may 
be either a noniconic vestment employed in obtaining oracles or a garment 
covering an idol, such as those associated with Mesopotamian or Egyptian 
cultic statues (cf. Isa 30:22)"


On the other hand, J.Wellhausen renders ephod as an image, for example, in 
this passage of "Prolegomena":

"the Priestly Code indeed no longer knows what those articles [ephods] are 
for, and it confounds the ephod of gold with the ephod of linen, the 
plated image with the priestly robe"

The question is why the rendering of Wellhausen is not valid any more? 
HALOT says that "from the current linguistic and archaeological evidence 
it appears to be a cuirass-like sacral garment made of metal and common in 
Asia Minor." What exactly is this linguistic and archaeological 

Best regards,
Vadym Zhuravlov

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