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Biblical People
Aaron. [Heb., most probably a Hebrew transliteration of the Egyptian, "great is the name," or "great in name"; Gr. Aaro µn]. Son of Amram and Jochebed (Ex 6:20), and descendant of Levi (1 Chr 6:1-3). He had an older sister, Miriam (Ex 7:7; cf. ch 2:4), and a younger brother, Moses (ch 7:7). He married Elisheba, a daughter of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah, who bore him four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar (ch 6:23).

Aaron enters the Bible narrative when the Lord commissioned him to go from Egypt to meet his brother Moses at Mount Horeb (Ex 4:27). There the two conferred together about returning to Egypt to effect the release of their people from bondage (v 28). The Lord had already appeared to Moses, and had indicated to him that Aaron was to be his spokesman in the new assignment (vs. 14-16). From that time forth the two brothers laboured side by side to secure freedom for their oppressed kinsmen (vs. 29, 30; etc.). Even after the departure from Egypt Aaron continued, at least at times, as Moses' spokesman to the children of Israel (ch 16:9, 10). At Rephidim, a short distance from the Wilderness of Sin, Aaron and Hur sustained the uplifted arms of Moses in the successful battle with a band of Amalekites (ch 17:12).

During the encampment at Mount Sinai, Aaron and his sons Nadab and Abihu, together with 70 of the elders of Israel, were accorded the special privilege of accompanying Moses beyond the bounds at the foot of the mountain which the people generally might not pass (Ex 24:1-11). During Moses' prolonged absence from camp, Aaron acquiesced in the demand of the people for visible "gods" by making a golden calf and leading in its worship (ch 32). While the Israelites were still encamped at Sinai, Aaron and his sons were appointed and consecrated to serve as priests in the sanctuary (Ex 28:40 to 29:37; 40:13-16; Lev 8). Aaron served as high priest for 38 years, until within a few months of the entry into Canaan (Num 20:22-29).

Soon after the departure from Sinai, Aaron and Miriam united in opposing Moses as supreme commander of Israel, under God, and claimed for themselves a voice in the administration of the nation. God decisively silenced the two who had presumed to challenge the one whom He had appointed leader (Num 12:1-15). Somewhat later a group of disaffected Levites united forces with certain men of the tribe of Reuben, and others, in revolt against the leadership of Moses and Aaron, and once more God vindicated His chosen leaders (ch 16). Lest there should be any lingering doubt concerning the fact that it was God who had appointed Aaron to have charge of the religious life of the nation, God gave dramatic proof by causing Aaron's rod to bud, blossom, and bear almonds overnight (ch 17). Toward the close of the 40 years in the wilderness, almost on the borders of Canaan, Aaron joined with Moses in a demonstration of impatience at Kadesh, where the latter impetuously struck the rock from which water was to flow forth for the people. As a result, the two brothers were barred from entering the Land of Promise (ch 20:7-13).

Not long after the experience at Kadesh the people of Israel broke camp and journeyed around the borders of Edom, having been refused permission to take a more direct route through that country. On the way the Lord directed Moses and Aaron that the latter should prepare to lay down his duties and to die (Num 20:22-24; cf. Deut 10:6). By divine order the high-priestly robes were taken from Aaron and placed on his son Eleazar, in token of his succession to Aaron as high priest (Num 20:25-28). Aaron died at the age of 123 (cf. Ex 7:7; Deut 34:7), and was buried on Mount Hor on the border of Edom (Num 20:27, 28; 33:37-39; Deut 32:50), which has not yet been identified. He was mourned by Israel for a period of 30 days (Num 20:29) -- Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary.

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