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The Urim and Thummim

Exodus 28:30 talks about the breastplate the High Priest would wear when entering the tabernacle and it mentions a strange detail:

And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the Lord continually.

What were the Urim and Thummim and what were their purpose?

In Scripture, we only find three instances of these emblems mentioned.

The first is in Numbers 27:21:

He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.”

Second, 1 Samuel 28:6:

“And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.”

And third, Ezra 2:63:

“And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.”

We can’t say exactly what these were, but these verses describe a clear purpose. The Urim and Thummim were uses to know the will of God. 

Maybe these was just a book or some kind of writing with God’s decrees.

Maybe this was some kind of object that God used to divinely give answers to the high priest.

But somehow, the high priest would use these to seek judgements from God.

Why is that significant?

Because God was always willing to guide His people. And too often the priests and the whole of the nation turned their back on His guidance.

Don’t we do the same thing today? God says His Word has power, it can equip us for every good work. Yet, even though we have the mind of God in our hands, we try to figure things out for ourselves.

When God is willing to reveal His counsel to us, we should listen!


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