Don Isaac Abravanel, sometimes spelled Abarbanel (1437-1508) was a seminal Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. We read about the priestly garments in Exodus 39. Specifically, we refer to the
manufacturing of the ephod, onyx stones, breastplate, robe etc.

“And of the blue and purple and scarlet, they made plaited garments.
And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple. They made shoulder
pieces for it. And they wrought the onyx stones. And he put them on the
shoulder pieces of the ephod…”

Even the casual Bible student can’t miss the recurring and glaring grammatical inconsistencies here. For

“They made” – when discussing the ephod.

“He made” – regarding the onyx stones.

“They made” – referring to the breastplate.

“They wrought” – is used for the robe.

“And he put” – for the two wreathen chains of gold.

See Abravanel’s World for the remainder of the priestly garments discussed in this chapter, as well as
the continued singular/plural zigzag associated with them.

What is behind the grammatical anomalies, Abravanel asks? He believes that Bezalel worked side by side
with the other artisans who produced the priestly vestments. Why? It is because Bezalel wanted to
bestow honor and prestige upon Aaron, the high priest. Furthermore, the Tabernacle superintendent
did not want to demean the Hebrews who manufactured those garments. Had Bezalel not taken a
“hands-on” approach the clothing, it might have sent the wrong message. Artisans may have felt
slighted in their work, falsely downplaying their work compared to the work that other craftsmen were
doing, such as making the ark, table, lampstand, and altars.

The Tabernacle’s chief’s presence and input silenced those specious sentiments. Indeed, Bezalel’s touch,
literally and figuratively, sent a strong message. It also explains why the verbs in our chapter utilize,
intermittently, the singular and plural conjugation.