For the most part, ephod refers to a garment worn by the priests. The word has been derived from the Akkadian epattu (pl. epadātu), which was an expensive garment of some kind, and connected with Syriac peḏtā, a sacerdotal vestment. The Septuagint generally renders ephod by a word meaning the shoulder strap of a tunic. In the high priest's garb, the ephod connected with the breastplate of judgment, which contained the lots of divination, the Urim and Thummim. This association led to the ephod sometimes being spoken of as if it were the agent of divination, which it was not. (see Magic and Divination.)

A totally different usage comes in the book of Judges, where Gideon (and later others) constructed a gold ephod as a graven image (Judg. 8.27; 17.5; 18.14–20).

Philip Stern