Public worship and Exodus 28:42: "from hips to the thighs"

KJV: "And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach"

NIV: "Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh."

Our brother on this thread (now closed), made this statement: "God provided definitive instruction to His people about how those who would draw near to Him in public worship had to be dressed" (citing Ex 28:42).

This thread is opened to discuss this.

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Ron Bean's picture

I'm just briefly trying to get to the underlying foundational issue without girdling the conversation!

I guess it depends!

The literal teaching of the text is that God instructs his priests to wear undergarments to cover their private parts. Considering they were in a culture where heathen worship may have involved nudity, this is understandable.

The Bible teaches promotes modest dress in both the Old and New Testaments.

The definition of modesty will take us into Torah Territory.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Took a little break from this discussion from the weekend to see what would transpire, and some of the things that I see really trouble me.

1.  Criticism of the hypothesis was immediately treated as not that, but a personal attack.  

2.  There is no serious attempt to discuss the problem of context; what real reasons do we have to accept a portion of verse 42 (nobody's saying we need to wear linen underclothes, or linen at all), but not the rest of the chapter, which deals really with the same subject.

3.  There is no serious attempt to address the theological chasm between the roles and rules for the Aaronic priests and the New Testament believer.

4.  There is no attempt to draw parallels to other passages to gain a sense of how a principle, if any, is carried over through the rest of Scripture.

5.  There is a remarkable hasty generalization in assuming that a requirement for underwear among priests while serving somehow corresponds to requirements for other garments worn above underwear.

In other words, a "hat trick plus two" of bad exegetical methods born of bad logic. 

Really, this is a great illustration of the dangers of prooftexting in general, and in particular this area.  Israelites were (and are) a Caucasian people living in an area with brilliant sun, and they valued light skin--see Song of Songs 5:14 and Song of Songs 1:5 for examples.  So they didn't need to be told to cover up--they did so naturally.  Hence any good analysis of the topic is going to need to draw from the depth and breadth of Scripture, and really as well an answer to the question; "OK, we know what the attitude of the ancients was, now how does this apply to us today?  Are we similar or quite different?"

For the time being, though, I think the best approach is to simply see the verse as saying that the priests need to wear linen underwear so that when they bend down to do the tasks of ritual sacrifice--killing & gutting animals, etc..--they will not "moon" or "flash" God.  Taking it beyond that point seems to be just reckless.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

I'm still trying to figure out how Jesus could successfully fulfill all the OT law and yet we still have some sort of 'need' to draw out spiritualized applications from regulations that have been done away with.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Editor

Are you trying to bring your fancy ex-e-jesus to a theological discussion, again? Did you learn that at cemetery? Heh, heh ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

RajeshG's picture

Given the deteriorating nature of the comments being made on this thread, I believe that it is time for this thread to be closed.

I did not choose to start this thread. The moderator made that decision. In my previous comment on another thread, I plainly said the following:
 

I'm not interested in a lengthy debate about modesty in general, etc. I am sharing this specific passage and my treatment of it for your consideration as biblical data with implications concerning public modesty.

 

Unfortunately, the moderator chose not to include that statement when he began this thread.

I do not have anything further to add to this thread than what I have already said concerning this specific passage. If you think that my perspective on this passage is flawed, so be it.

Jim's picture

Response to:

Given the deteriorating nature of the comments being made on this thread, I believe that it is time for this thread to be closed. I did not choose to start this thread. The moderator made that decision.

Responses:

  • Indeed I did start this thread but only after Rajesh posted on the BJU thread here!
  • Rajesh chose to not respond to questions posed him
  • This claim is unsupported: "God provided definitive instruction to His people about how those who would draw near to Him in public worship had to be dressed:"

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