EPHOD. A word occurring in the Old Testament with at least two different meanings. Sometimes it denotes a garment, probably a loin-cloth: The boy Samuel we are told was " girt with a linen ephod " (I. Samuel ii. 18). David, when he brought the ark up to Jerusalem and danced before Yahweh with all his might, wore only an ephod (II. Samuel vi. 14). At other times the word denotes something closely associated with the priests. Here it is not a vestment, but something which was borne or carried (I. Samuel xiv. 13; xxiii. 6, 9; xxx. 7), and it is used in divining or in consulting Yah weh. By some kind of manipulation it was made to answer questions. The ephod referred to in Judges viii. 27, xvii. f. and I. Samuel xxi. 9 seems to have been an image of Yahweh. If the ephod used in divining was in all cases an image, we may think of " a portable idol before which the lots were cast " (G. F. Moore). Something called an ephod figures also among the high priest's ceremonial vestments. This seems to have been a kind of apron, to the shoulder-straps of which was attached an oracle-pouch (" breastplate of judgment "). " It is possible," says Prof. Moore, " that the primitive ephod—a corner of which was the earliest pocket—was used as a receptacle for the lots, from which they were drawn, or into which they were cast (see Proverbs xvi.
33); and that when it was no longer a common piece of raiment it was perpetuated in this sacred use, not worn, but carried by the priest; the ephod and oracle pouch of the high-priest would then preserve this an cient association. The ephod of Gideon—perhaps also the ephod in the temple at Nob—was, however, an agalma of an entirely different character; what relation there may be between the ephod-garment and the ephod idol, it is not easy to imagine." See Encycl Bibl. EPHPHATHA. An Aramaic word found in the New Testament and represented in Greek letters. In the story of the healing of a deaf and dumb man in Mark vii. 32-37 we read : " And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and be spat, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and with unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened (Gk. dianaichtheti)." The word is a passive (Ethpe'el or Ethpa'al) of the verb pethach " to open."