1 Samuel 30:7 David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue; for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” 9 So David set out, he and the six hundred men who were with him.
When David wanted to receive guidance from the Lord he would tell the priest to “bring me the ephod”. The ephod is the item covering the chest of the priest pictured above. Here is a definition from Harper’s Bible Dictionary:
Not simply a ceremonial garment or a divination device, the ephod can best be understood in relation to the special trappings that adorned cult statues in Mesopotamian or Egyptian temples and that, in Israelite religion as priestly garments or objects, similarly helped bring human beings into contact with the deity.
Most “clergy” of various religious traditions wear special garments to identify them. Lutheran clergy often wear clerical collars as do Catholics, Episcopalians, and others. If you know me, you know I don’t often wear clerical garb unless I’m wearing robes and such for a traditional worship service, or am presiding at a wedding or funeral. Otherwise you’ll usually see me in regular street clothes. Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons:
- Clerical garb is often uncomfortable. It generally involves wearing layers of clothing, which makes sense in colder climates but not in the warmer climate of Texas. I also don’t like the feel of a collar on my neck.
- While wearing clerical garb identifies me as a clergy person, it can also be off-putting to some people. It can be a barrier to communication.
As the definition above states, it’s not the ephod of the priest that gave him special powers any more than a clerical collar does for me. That said it obviously meant something to David because he specifically asked for the ephod to be brought to him. Has me thinking about my own practice of wearing or not wearing clerical garb.