The holy vestments of Aaron (Sir 45:7-45:9)

“The Lord blessed Aaron with stateliness.

He put a glorious robe on him.

He clothed him in perfect splendor.

He strengthened him

With the symbols of authority.

Aaron had linen undergarments.

He had a long robe.

He had the ephod.

The Lord encircled him with pomegranates.

There were many golden bells all around.

This sent forth a sound as he walked.

Their ringing could be heard in the temple.

This was a reminder to his people.”

Next Sirach explains the holy vestments of Aaron. The problem, of course, is that Aaron never made it to the Promise Land to wear any of these vestments, since he died in the desert or wilderness, centuries before the Jerusalem Temple was built. These were the vestments of the Levitical priests, not Aaron, as described in Exodus, chapter 28. Aaron was to be stately and splendid wearing these robes of authority. He was to wear linen undergarments, a long robe, and the ephod. According to Exodus, the long robe was blue with pomegranates all around it. The bells were to remind people that he was coming into the Temple that did not yet exist. The ephod was an old cultural vestment, an embroidered garment, believed to be like an apron with shoulder straps, worn by Levitical priests in ancient Israel.

The effect of the female lover (Song 7:6-7:9)

Male lover

“How fair you are!

How pleasant you are!

O loved one!

Delectable maiden!

You are stately as a palm tree.

Your breasts are like its clusters.

I say

I will climb the palm tree.

I will lay hold of its branches.

O may your breasts be

Like clusters of the vine!

The scent of your breath is like apples.

Your kisses are

Like the best wine

That goes down smoothly.

They glide over my lips and teeth.”

What has been the effect of this female lover on the male lover? We find that he saw her as fair, pleasant, and delectable. She appeared stately as a palm tree. Then he went into an elaborate description of her breasts that were like clusters of a palm tree, not like gazelles or fawns. He wanted to climb this palm tree and grab hold of its branches, her breasts. He wanted her breasts to be like clusters in a vineyard. Then he went on to talk about her apple scented breath. He proclaimed that her kisses were sweeter than wine. They were in fact the best wine that went done smoothly over his lips and teeth. Certainly this was a vivid graphic description of how he perceived his lover.