After a party of marauding Amalekites had invaded Negev & Ziklag taking David's people hostage. David asks Abiather to bring the ephod so that they may inquired from God.Its not clear who actually wore the ephod here

1 Samuel 30:7 KJV

7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 8 And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

But according to God's instruction it was the priesthood who were supposed to wear the ephod & inquire from the Lord

Exodus 28:26 KJV

26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. 27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. 29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually

Again in the book of Samuel; it is reiterated that the ephod belonged to the Levites.

1 Samuel 2:27 KJV

27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? 28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me?

But here its not clear who actually wore the ephod

Was it Abiather or David who wore the ephod?

  • II Samuel 6:14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 15, 2018 at 18:41
  • Where in the quoted verses from Samuel do you see that it was worn at all?
    – Alex
    Aug 16, 2018 at 0:52
  • What about the verse on 2Samuel 6:14-23? It also says David was wearing the ephod. Well, still with understanding that ephod was a priesthoot attire.
    – Mafusi
    Sep 21, 2022 at 7:28

6 Answers 6


Your question has bothered me years ago when I read this passage. In fact, the real problem here is that the Ephod is not even described as being worn by anyone, but something that is to be carried around (nasa)! This suggests that it was an object rather than a piece of garment. There is more biblical evidence that the biblical word Ephod had a dual meaning and was sometimes used to describe a cultic garment and sometimes a cultic object (perhaps a kind of box which carried lots in it). Proof of this can be found in Hosea 3:4 where ephod is juxtaposed with the teraphim, the latter which was clearly an object used for oracular purposes and judging from this passage it is safe to assume that ephod was of a similar kind. See for example Judges 8:22-28 where Gideon made an Ephod of 1700 shekels of gold. Here too were obviously dealing with an object rather than a garment. See here for more on this. So to answer your question: "Who wore the Ephod?" The answer would be, "No one did!" It was actually carried around in the days of Samuel and David.

It is very likely that one developed from each other. In the days of Samuel it was a cultic object in which lots were cast and was used solely as an oracle and through it they decided on important matters like war and politics. The priests would carry them around and with their ephod-oracles they would assist kings and warriors with their war related matters. Later the ephod was combined with the priestly garments--which were later called Ephod themselves because they were carried in the pouch of the garment similar to the one described in Exodus--and became one and the same, thus the dual meaning of Ephod: priestly garment and oracular object.

(Actually in Exodus the object inserted in the pouch is called Urim and Thummim. This may have been the original ephod or something of a similar nature, similar enough to warrant the attachment of the name ephod to the whole garment.

Hope this helps.

The Ephod was probably decorated with images of some sort similar to the teraphim which was also used for oracular purposes and was a kind of image (see also above proof from Hosea 3:4), this would explain what caused the Israelites to worship the Ephod that was erected by Gideon in Judges end of chapter 8. These images were not the same as idols (most biblical scholars confuse these two and assume that they were the same) as they were not worshipped like idols, but were used as mediums between god and the people and were not outlawed until much later. See my answer here which dwells a bit more on the subject.


Abiathar wore the ephod, not David: only the high priest wore it. The ephod contained the breastplate of judgment, which in turn contained the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:28-30). When David asked Abiathar to bring the ephod, it wasn't so that he could wear it, but so he could ask God the question in the next verse, "Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?"

He would have gotten the answer through the Urim and Thummim, while they were worn by Abiathar, just as Joshua would determine what to do by asking of the Urim and Thummim before Eleazar, the high priest (Numbers 27:21), meaning Joshua would ask while Eleazar was wearing them.


If it helps, here is the Hebrew from the Scripture4all ISA2 program:

1Sam. 30:7 - And~he-is-saying (u~iamr 559) David (dud 1732) to (al 413)(-) Abiathar (abithr 54) the~priest (e~ken 3548) son-of (bn 1121)(-) Ahimelech (achimlk 288) (bring)-close-you~! (egish~e 5066)(-) please~! (na 4994) to~me (l~i 9999) the~ephod (e~aphd 646) and~he-is-(bringing)-close (u~igsh 5066) Abiathar ath (ath 853)(-) the~ephod (e~aphd 646) to (al 413)(-) David (dud 1732):

Strong's #H5066 - to be or come near (causatively, to bring near)....

  • How does this answer the question of who wore it?
    – Alex
    Aug 16, 2018 at 0:54

David could not have worn the Ephod - he knew better than to do that. The Ephod was a priestly garment to be worn by the priests (specifically the high priest) , not by kings. The two offices were separate. When king Saul took upon himself the office of the priest and offered the burnt sacrifice instead of waiting for prophet Samuel, it cost him the throne (1Sam.13:9-14). Do you think his predecessor (David) could have made the same cross-carpeting mistake? Certainly not.

When David asked Abiathar the priest to bring him the Ephod in 1Sam.30:7, it is obvious that it was Abiathar the priest that wore it before David to reveal the will of God to him in the situation that he was confronted with. David did not wear the Ephod.

  • 1
    How would you explain 2 Samuel 6:14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 30, 2020 at 5:00

Its possible that David had his own personal ephod similar to the priest, that he had made for himself, that was blessed of Yaoh. Gideon from the judges made his own ephod. Plus david had the intuition to eat the show bread and it was not counted as sin towards him. Plus he was on the run as anointed king, while another king was ruling. And was it not the same priest who gave him the show bread, gave him the sword. What else?

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  • Hi Corey, welcome to the site. Could you expand a little further on your answer? We're typically looking for a little more detail/sources. This would be more of a comment than an answer. Once you have enough reputation on the site you can comment on any post. Thanks for contributing! Jan 22, 2022 at 19:28

I am also pausing at this at the moment. The text may not directly state that David wore the ephod in 1 Samuel 30:7, yet there is a future story where the scripture clearly says he wore a linen ephod (2 Samuel 6:14)

Starting with verse 13:

“And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭6‬:‭12‬-‭15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

If he wore it in this future setting in celebration of the Ark of God coming back to the city of David, is it appropriate to believe that he may have worn it to inquire of the Lord as well?

And with those questions, was it appropriate for him as the king, and not a Levite priest to wear the ephod? (Just like he ate the bread of the presence?)

Finally, is this a foreshadowing of the priesthood of Jesus who came from the tribe of Judah as a son of David, and not from the tribe of Levi?

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