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Aaron (Hebrew: אהרון, ʼAharōn; Greek: Ἀαρών, Aarōn; Latin: Aaron; Arabic: هارون, Hārūn; "Name means::light bringer") (Born::Teveth 2430 AM–m. ca. Married::2478 AM–fl. Flourit::1 Zif 2514 AMDied::1 Av 2552 AM) was the eldest son of Amram and Jochebed of the Tribe of Levi, brother of Moses and Miriam, and the first High Priest of Israel.

The Exodus

Main Articles: Egyptian plagues, Exodus of Israel

Aaron's career began in earnest when Moses returned from his forty years of exile in Midianite country (Exodus 4:27-31 ). Aaron went to meet Moses, who shared with him a wondrous story of seeing the face of God and receiving from Him a charge for a mission to lead the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt. Aaron was eighty-three years old at the time. (Exodus 7:7 )

When Moses and Aaron first presented themselves to Pharaoh, they gave a demonstration of God's power and communicated God's command that he (Pharaoh) let the Israelites go. As God predicted, Pharaoh would not listen, and in fact increased the Israelites' workload. Thus began a forty-day cycle in which ten plagues descended on Egypt, each one striking at the heart of Egyptian agriculture, religion, or both. The cycle ended on {{#show:Exodus of Israel|?Date}} with the actual Exodus of Israel.[1][2]

The Golden Calf

In the fourth month of the first year after the Exodus, Aaron made a major mistake. Moses had climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, and God had strictly enjoined the people not to approach the mountain. Moses delayed in coming down, and so the people despaired of seeing Moses again. They then demanded that Aaron make them a God-substitute. Aaron asked the people to give him all their gold earrings. He melted these down and fashioned a golden calf for them. In response the people ran riot throughout the camp, and discipline broke down completely.

Aaron never knew, unless Moses told him, how close God came to destroying the entire nation of Israel on this account and building a nation of Moses in its place. Moses came down from the mountain within one day of the fashioning of the calf. When he saw the calf, he broke the two tablets of law that he was carrying. He melted the calf, ground it to dust, scattered the dust onto a nearby pond, and forced the people to drink it. He then asked all who were on his side to stand by him; only the Levites did so. Then he ordered them to decimate the people. Three thousand summary executions took place that day. (Exodus 32 )[3]

Inauguration of the High Priesthood

Aaron became the first high priest of Israel with the building of the Tabernacle. Moses returned to Mount Sinai to get new tablets of law to replace those he had broken. When Moses brought these new tablets to the camp, he conveyed the detailed instructions for the collection of materials and the design of the Tabernacle and its furnishings. The people contributed more than enough material, and the Tabernacle and its furnishings were completed before the first month (Abib) of the second year. The most important of these was the ark of the covenant, into which Moses deposited the tablets of law.

On the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle ({{#show:Tabernacle|?Dedicated}}), Moses consecrated Aaron and his four sons to be the first priests. Unhappily, Aaron's two elder sons, Nadab and Abihu, made a mistake that cost them their lives. By God's command, no one was to burn incense inside the Holy Place except by using fire from the brass altar, because God kindled that original fire and gave instructions that the people never allow that fire to go out. But Nadab and Abihu took coals from their own campfires to charge their censers. This "strange fire" was a grave enough offense, but then Nadab and Abihu compounded their outrage by offering the incense in front of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies. God killed both men instantly. ({{#show:Nadab (son of Aaron)|?Died}}) On that day, God made two related laws:

  1. No one was ever to come into the Holy Place after drinking wine. Nadab and Abihu had been drinking wine before they gave their tragic demonstration.
  2. Only the high priest was ever to enter the Holy of Holies, and then only on the Day of Atonement (on the tenth day of the seventh month), and he must have a tether attached to his body so that, if he had given offense and been killed, the other priests could drag him out. (Leviticus 10:1-11 , Exodus 34-40 )[4]

Questioning authority

In the second year after the Exodus, in the fourth month, Moses married a second wife, specifically an Ethiopian. Miriam and Aaron murmured in resentment against Moses, not merely on this account but also because they felt that Moses was claiming too much credit for speaking on behalf of God. In fact, Moses never showed any presumption, as the Bible says. In response, God reminded Miriam and Aaron sharply that an ordinary prophet might receive a dream or vision from God, but God spoke to Moses face to face and in plain language. Then God afflicted Miriam with leprosy for seven days and was placed under quarantine. Seven days later, she was cleansed and could come back to camp, and on that day the Israelites struck camp and moved on. (Numbers 12 )

Despite this, God upheld the authority of Aaron as high priest against those who questioned it. Aaron witnessed the mutiny of Korah and the disastrous penalty that Korah and his confederates paid. Immediately after this, God prepared a demonstration designed to end all grumbling. At His order, Moses gathered a rod from each of the leaders of the twelve tribes, with Aaron's name on the Levite rod. Moses left these in the Holy Place. On the next day, Moses examined the rods, and Aaron's rod had budded and produced ripe almonds. Thereafter this rod was kept in the ark of the covenant. (Numbers 17 )


Aaron died in the fifth month of the fortieth year after the Exodus. This occurred after the second episode in which the Israelites ran out of water. God instructed Moses and Aaron to lead the Israelites to a rock near Kadesh. There Moses was to speak to the rock to draw water from it. Instead of merely speaking, Moses struck the rock twice with his rod. For this violation of God's instructions, God declared that neither Moses nor Aaron would enter the promised land.

Again at God's command, Moses led Aaron and his son Eleazar to the top of Mount Hor. There Moses stripped Aaron of his sacerdotal vestments and put them on Eleazar. When Moses had done this, Aaron died. The Israelites observed a month of mourning for him. Eleazar succeeded him as high priest. (Numbers 20:2-29 )[5]

First Member of::High priest
Flourit::1 Zif 2514 AMDied::1 Av 2552 AM
Succeeded by
Succeeded by::Eleazar (son of Aaron)

Life and family


descendant of::Jacob
descendant of::Leah
grandson of::Levi
grandson of::Kohath
son of::Jochebed
son of::Amram
husband of::Elisheba
father of::Abihu
father of::Ithamar
grandfather of::Phinehas

Aaron was born in Egypt to Amram and Jochebed. He had one older sister, Miriam, in addition to his brother Moses. In the year in which Moses was born, Aaron was three years old.[6]

Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab of the tribe of Judah, and had four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

See Also

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  1. Floyd Nolen Jones, The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004, p. 70
  2. Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 178-191
  3. Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 198-201
  4. Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 204-228
  5. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 270
  6. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, pgh. 162

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