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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Aaron (âr'on or â'ron). The name, if of Hebrew origin, means enlightened. According to Jerome, it means mountain of strength. The son of Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi He was three years older than his brother Moses. Exodus 6:20; Exodus 7:7. Aaron was noted for his eloquence, and was appointed by Jehovah to speak for Moses in the court of Pharaoh. Exodus 4:14-16. He aided Moses in leading the Hebrews out of Egypt; and was consecrated the first high priest of the Hebrew nation. Exodus 7:1-10; Exodus 28:1-43; Leviticus 8:1-36. He was a man of great devotion; but, from want of firmness, he sometimes fell into grievous sins. While Moses was absent in Mount Sinai receiving the law, Aaron weakly yielded to the people's demand to have some image of a deity for them to worship. The image he made was a golden calf, after the form of the Egyptian Apis or Mnevis. Exodus 32:1-35; Psalms 106:19-20. Aaron joined Miriam, his sister, in sedition against Moses, Numbers 12:1-12, and, with Moses, neglected to acknowledge the power of God at Kadesh. For this sin he was denied the privilege of entering the promised land. Numbers 20:12-24. While the Hebrews were encamped at Moserah, in the fortieth year after leaving Egypt, Aaron, at the divine command, ascended Mount Hor and died, at the age of 123 years. Numbers 20:25-29; Deuteronomy 10:6. The sons and descendants of Aaron served as priests at the sanctuary; while the other families of the tribe of Levi performed those religious duties which were of an inferior kind. Numbers 4:15-16; Numbers 4:24. Aaron is called the "saint of the Lord" with reference to his official character, Psalms 106:16, but, as the most superficial study of his life shows, he had many faults. Yet the people loved him, and the mourning over his death, which lasted 30 days, Numbers 20:28, was sincere. One of the fasts of later Judaism was held in his memory, on the first day of the fifth month, Ab, our July or August.

Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, probably a prince of the tribe of Judah, and had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Exodus 6:23; Numbers 1:7. The Jewish priesthood began in the family of Aaron and remained in its possession, though not uninterruptedly, in the line of Eleazar; it passed into the family of Ithamar, the brother of Eleazar, in the person of Eli; but, in consequence of the wickedness of Ell's sons, God declared that it should be taken from his family, 1 Samuel 2:30, and this prophecy was fulfilled in the time of Solomon, who took the priesthood from Abiathar and restored it to Zadok, of the line of Eleazar. 1 Kings 2:27.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Aaron'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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