I have just finished reading the five books of Moses in NASB 2020, believe or not, this following part was actually the strangest bit to me. Anyone who studied the original languages, could you please shed some light on why 'of its overlay' was inserted here, in addition to the original verse in the NASB 95. Why not 'Ephod' instead of 'Overlay'? Is the 'Overlay' the breastplate that has the 12 stones on it? Is this translation choice supported by the original language (Hebrew text)? I asked this because I'm assuming the 2020 edition wouldn't go into the extra trouble if not for making the translation more accurate, because it's certainly not more readable, at least to me. Had to refer to other translations to figure out what's going on in this bit.

NASB 20: And the skillfully woven band of its overlay which was on it was like its workmanship...

NASB 95: The skillfully woven band which was on it was like its workmanship...

ESV: And the skillfully woven band on it was of one piece with it and made like it...

NIV: Its skillfully woven waistband was like it—of one piece with the ephod...

CSB: The artistically woven waistband that was on the ephod was of one piece with the ephod, according to the same workmanship...

NET: The artistically woven waistband of the ephod that was on it was like it, of one piece with it...

1 Answer 1


Why did NASB replace אֲפֻדָּת֜וֹ "of its Ephod" with "of its Overlay" in Exodus 39:5?

In consideration of [Exodus 29:5] which lists all 5-Layers of Aharon's priestly Garments הַבְּגָדִ֗ים Ha-Begadim :

  • Layer-1 : "The Tunic" (Shirt), הַכֻּתֹּ֔נֶת Ha-Kutonet
  • Layer-2: "Robe" (Cloak), מְעִ֣יל Meil [הָאֵפֹ֔ד of The-Ephod]
  • Layer-3: "The Apron" הָאֵפֹד Ha-Ephod
  • Layer-4: "The Breastplate" (Plate of 12-Stones) הַחֹשֶׁן Ha-Choshen
  • Layer-5: "The Belt" (Decorated-Band) חֵ֖שֶׁב Cheshev [ הָאֵפֹֽד of The-Ephod ]

In Shemot | "Exodus" 39:5, Cheshev חֵשֶׁב the "decorated-band" (Belt) [of] אֲפֻדָּת֜וֹ its-Ephod - is an overlaying garment : "upon-it" עָלָ֗יו Alaiv; referencing the Belt's position overlaying "The-Apron" הָאֵפֹד Ha-Ephod.

"The decorated-band [of its Ephod] which [is] above-it from-it [of the same work] of gold, blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine twisted linen—as YHVH had commanded Moshe." ( וְחֵ֨שֶׁב אֲפֻדָּת֜וֹ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָלָ֗יו מִמֶּ֣נּוּ הוּא֮ כְּמַעֲשֵׂ֒הוּ֒ זָהָ֗ב תְּכֵ֧לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֛ן וְתוֹלַ֥עַת שָׁנִ֖י וְשֵׁ֣שׁ מׇשְׁזָ֑ר כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה )

The NASB version of Exodus 39:5 appears to be helping readers understand the Cheshev חֵשֶׁב Belt's position overlaying "The-Apron" הָאֵפֹד Ha-Ephod.

  • 1
    The string of prepositions with 3 sing. suffixes also challenged the translators. +1
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 22:47
  • Hi חִידָה , thanks for such a detailed explanation. Nevertheless, this choice of translation by the 2020 edition made it harder for me to understand. Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 1:16

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