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The Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin

Contents

Biblical longevity
Name Age LXX
Methuselah 969 969
Jared 962 962
Noah 950 950
Adam 930 930
Seth 912 912
Kenan 910 910
Enos 905 905
Mahalalel 895 895
Lamech 777 753
Shem 600 600
Eber 464 404
Cainan 460
Arpachshad 438 465
Salah 433 466
Enoch 365 365
Peleg 239 339
Reu 239 339
Serug 230 330
Job 210? 210?
Terah 205 205
Isaac 180 180
Abraham 175 175
Nahor 148 304
Jacob 147 147
Esau 147? 147?
Ishmael 137 137
Levi 137 137
Amram 137 137
Kohath 133 133
Laban 130+ 130+
Deborah 130+ 130+
Sarah 127 127
Miriam 125+ 125+
Aaron 123 123
Rebecca 120+ 120+
Moses 120 120
Joseph 110 110
Joshua 110 110

In the Hebrew Bible, Aaron (pronounced /ˈɛərən/;[1] Hebrew: אַהֲרֹןAhărōn, Arabic: هارونHārūn), sometimes called Aaron the Levite (אַהֲרֹן הַלֵוִי), was the brother of Moses, (Exodus 6:16-20)[2] and represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites. While Moses was receiving his education at the Egyptian royal court and during his exile among the Midianites, Aaron and his sister remained with their kinsmen in the eastern border-land of Egypt (Goshen). Aaron there gained a name for eloquent and persuasive speech; so that when the time came for the demand upon the Pharaoh to release Israel from captivity, Aaron became his brother’s nabi, or spokesman, to his own people (Exodus 7:1)[3] and, after their unwillingness to hear, to the Pharaoh himself (Exodus 7:9).[4] Various dates for his life have been proposed, ranging from approximately 1600 to 1200 B.C.

Etymology

The meaning of the name "Aaron" is unclear. Possible meanings are:

  1. Pregnancy - In Hebrew - הריון, herayon. In Ancient Egyptian herr is to conceive and hrara is conception.[5]
  2. From the mountain - In Hebrew הר - har, which may refer to place of his own death.[6]
  3. High mountain - In Arabic هارون - haroun or harun.
  4. One of light [7]
  5. From Hebrew אַהֲרֹן (Ahărōn), possibly meaning "bearer of martyrs",
  6. Related to the Ancient Egyptian aha rw ("warrior lion", or possibly "elevated", "exalted" or "high mountain").

Genealogy

Descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Great-Grandfather: Levi, third of 12 sons and tribes of Israel

Grandfather: Kohath

Father: Amram

Mother: Jochebed

Sister: Miriam

Brother: Moses

Uncles: Izhar, Hebron, Uzziel

Sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar

Grandson: Phinehas

Function

Aaron’s function included the duties of speaker and implied personal dealings with the Egyptian royal court on behalf of Moses, who was always the central moving figure. The part played by Aaron in the events that preceded the Exodus was, therefore, ministerial, and not directive. He, along with Moses, performed “signs” before his people which impressed them with a belief in the reality of the divine mission of the brothers (Exodus 4:15-16).

At the command of Moses he stretched out his rod in order to bring on the first three plagues (Exodus 7:19, 8:1,12). In the infliction of the remaining plagues he appears to have acted merely as the attendant of Moses, whose outstretched rod drew the divine wrath upon the Pharaoh and his subjects (Exodus 9:23, 10:13,22). The potency of Aaron’s rod had already been demonstrated by its victory over the rods of the Egyptian magicians, which it swallowed after all the rods alike had been turned into serpents (Exodus 7:9). During the journey in the wilderness, Aaron is not always prominent or active; and he sometimes appears guilty of rebellious or treasonable conduct. At the battle with Amalek, he is chosen with Hur to support the hand of Moses that held the “rod of God” (Exodus 17:9). When the revelation was given to Moses at Mount Sinai, he headed the elders of Israel who accompanied Moses on the way to the summit. Joshua, however, was admitted with his leader to the very presence of the Lord, while Aaron and Hur remained below to look after the people Exodus 24:9-14. It was during the prolonged absence of Moses that Aaron yielded to the clamors of the people, and made a Golden Calf as a visible image of the divinity who had delivered them from Egypt (Exodus 32:1-6) (it should be noted that in the account given of the same events, in the Qur'an, Aaron is not the idol-maker and upon Moses' return begged his pardon as he had felt mortally threatened by the Israelites (Quran 7:142-152)) At the intercession of Moses, Aaron was saved from the plague which smote the people (Deuteronomy 9:20, Exodus 32:35), although it was to Aaron’s tribe of Levi that the work of punitive vengeance was committed (Exodus 32:26).

Priesthood

18th-century Dutch oak statue portraying the high priest

At the time when the tribe of Levi was set apart for the priestly service, Aaron was anointed and consecrated to the priesthood, arrayed in the robes of his office, and instructed in its manifold duties (Exodus 28, Exodus 29).

On the very day of his consecration, his sons, Nadab and Abihu, were consumed by fire from the Lord for having offered incense in an unlawful manner (Leviticus 10).

Scholarly consensus is that in Aaron's High Priesthood the sacred writer intended to describe a model, the prototype, so to say, of the Jewish High Priest. God, on Mount Sinai instituting a worship, also instituted an order of priests. According to the patriarchal customs, the firstborn son in every family used to perform the functions connected with God's worship. It might have been expected, consequently, that Reuben's family would be chosen by God for the ministry of the new altar. However, according to the biblical narrative it was Aaron who was the object of God's choice. To what jealousies this gave rise later, has been indicated above. The office of the Aaronites was at first merely to take care of the lamp which was to burn perpetually before the veil of the tabernacle Exodus 27:21. A more formal calling soon followed (Exodus 28:1). Aaron and his sons, distinguished from the Common People by their sacred functions, were also to receive holy garments suitable to their office.[8]

Aaron offered the various sacrifices and performed the many ceremonies of the consecration of the new priests, according to the divine instructions (Exodus 29), and repeated these rites for seven days, during which Aaron and his sons were entirely separated from the rest of the people. When, on the eighth day, the High Priest had inaugurated his office of sacrifice by killing the animals, he blessed the people (very likely according to the prescriptions of Numbers 6:24-26)[9], and, with Moses, entered into the tabernacle to possess it. They "came forth and blessed the people. And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the multitude: And behold a fire, coming forth from the Lord, devoured the holocaust, and the fat that was upon the altar: which when the multitude saw, they praised the Lord, falling on their faces" (Leviticus 9:23-24). In this way the institution of the Aaronic priesthood was established.[8]

Rebellion of Korah

From the time of the sojourn at Mount Sinai, where he became the anointed priest of Israel, Aaron ceased to be the minister of Moses, his place being taken by Joshua. He is mentioned in association with Miriam in a jealous complaint against the exclusive claims of Moses as the Lord’s prophet. The presumption of the murmurers was rebuked, and Miriam was smitten with Tzaraath. Aaron entreated Moses to intercede for her, at the same time confessing the sin and folly that prompted the uprising. Aaron himself was not struck with the plague on account of sacerdotal immunity; and Miriam, after seven days’ quarantine, was healed and restored to favor (Numbers 12). Micah a prophet in Judaism, mentions Moses, Aaron, and Miriam as the leaders of Israel after the Exodus (a judgment wholly in accord with the tenor of the narratives).[10] In the present instance it is made clear by the express words of the oracle (Numbers 12:6-8) that Moses was unique among men as the one with whom the Lord spoke face to face. The failure to recognize or concede this prerogative of their brother was the sin of Miriam and Aaron.

The validity of the exclusive priesthood of the family of Aaron was attested after the ill-fated rebellion of Korah, who was a first cousin of Aaron. When the earth had opened and swallowed up the leaders of the insurgents (Numbers 16:25-35), Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was commissioned to take charge of the censers of the dead priests. And when the plague had broken out among the people who had sympathized with the rebels, Aaron, at the command of Moses, took his censer and stood between the living and the dead till the plague was stayed (Numbers 17:1-15, 16:36-50).

Another memorable transaction followed. Each of the tribal princes of Israel took a rod and wrote his name upon it, and the twelve rods were laid up over night in the tent of meeting. The next morning Aaron’s rod was found to have budded and blossomed and produced ripe almonds (Numbers 17:8). The miracle proved merely the prerogative of the tribe of Levi; but now a formal distinction was made in perpetuity between the family of Aaron and the other Levites. While all the Levites (and only Levites) were to be devoted to sacred services, the special charge of the sanctuary and the altar was committed to the Aaronites alone (Numbers 18:1-7). The scene of this enactment is unknown, as is the time mentioned.

Death

Aaron, like Moses, was not permitted to enter Canaan with the others.[11] The reason alleged is that the two brothers showed impatience at Meribah (Kadesh) in the last year of the desert pilgrimage (Numbers 20:12-13), when Moses brought water out of a rock to quench the thirst of the people.[11] The action was construed as displaying a want of deference to the Lord, since they had been commanded to speak to the rock, whereas Moses struck it with the wonder-working rod (Numbers 20:7-11).[11]

Of the death of Aaron we have two accounts.[11] The principal one gives a detailed statement that soon after the incident at Meribah, Aaron, with his son Eleazar and Moses, ascended Mount Hor.[11] There Moses stripped Aaron of his priestly garments and transferred them to Eleazar.[11] Aaron died on the summit of the mountain, and the people mourned for him thirty days (Numbers 20:22-29; compare 33:38-39).[11] The other account is found in Deut. 10. 6, where Moses is reported as saying that Aaron died at Mosera and was buried there.[11] There is a significant amount of travel between these two points, as the itinerary in Numbers 33:31-37 records seven stages between Moseroth (Mosera) and Mount Hor.[11]

Rabbinical literature

The older prophets and prophetical writers beheld in their priests the representatives of a religious form inferior to the prophetic truth; men without the spirit of God and lacking the will-power requisite to resist the multitude in its idolatrous proclivities.[12] Thus Aaron, the first priest, ranks below Moses: he is his mouthpiece, and the executor of the will of God revealed through Moses, although it is pointed out[13] that it is said fifteen times in the Pentateuch that “the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron.” Under the influence of the priesthood which shaped the destinies of the nation under Persian rule, a different ideal of the priest was formed, as is learned from Malachi 2:4-7; and the prevailing tendency was to place Aaron on a footing equal with Moses.[12] “At times Aaron, and at other times Moses, is mentioned first in Scripture—this is to show that they were of equal rank,” says Mekilta. בא, 1;[12] expressly infers this when introducing in his record of renowned men the glowing description of Aaron’s ministration.[12]

Death

In fulfilment of the promise of peaceful life, symbolized by the pouring of oil upon his head (Leviticus Rabbah x., Midrash Teh. cxxxiii. 1), Aaron's death, as described in the Haggadah, was of a wonderful tranquillity.[14] Accompanied by Moses, his brother, and by Eleazar, his son, Aaron went to the summit of Mount Hor, where the rock suddenly opened before him and a beautiful cave lit by a lamp presented itself to his view.[14] "Take off thy priestly raiment and place it upon thy son Eleazar!" said Moses; "and then follow me."[14] Aaron did as commanded; and they entered the cave, where was prepared a bed around which angels stood.[14] "Go lie down upon thy bed, my brother," Moses continued; and Aaron obeyed without a murmur.[14] Then his soul departed as if by a kiss from God.[14] The cave closed behind Moses as he left; and he went down the hill with Eleazar, with garments rent, and crying: "Alas, Aaron, my brother! thou, the pillar of supplication of Israel!"[14] When the Israelites cried in bewilderment, "Where is Aaron?" angels were seen carrying Aaron's bier through the air.[14] A voice was then heard saying: "The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found on his lips: he walked with me in righteousness, and brought many back from sin" (Malachi 2:6).[14] He died, according to Seder Olam Rabbah ix., R. H. 2, 3a, on the first of Ab."[14] The pillar of cloud which proceeded in front of Israel's camp disappeared at Aaron's death (see Seder 'Olam, ix. and R. H. 2b-3a).[14] The seeming contradiction between Numbers 20:22 et seq. and Deutronomy 10:6 is solved by the rabbis in the following manner: Aaron's death on Mount Hor was marked by the defeat of the people in a war with the king of Arad, in consequence of which the Israelites fled, marching seven stations backward to Mosera, where they performed the rites of mourning for Aaron; wherefore it is said: "There [at Mosera] died Aaron."[14][14][15]

The rabbis also dwell with special laudation on the brotherly sentiment which united Aaron and Moses.[14] When the latter was appointed ruler and Aaron high priest, neither betrayed any jealousy; instead they rejoiced in one another's greatness.[14] When Moses at first declined to go to Pharaoh, saying: "O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send" (Exodus 4:13), he was unwilling to deprive Aaron, his brother, of the high position the latter had held for so many years; but the Lord reassured him, saying: "Behold, when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart" (Exodus 4:14).[14] Indeed, Aaron was to find his reward, says Shimon bar Yochai; for that heart which had leaped with joy over his younger brother's rise to glory greater than his was decorated with the Urim and Thummim, which were to "be upon Aaron's heart when he goeth in before the Lord" (Canticles Rabbah i. 10).[14] Moses and Aaron met in gladness of heart, kissing each other as true brothers (Exodus 4:27; compare Song of Songs 8:1), and of them it is written: "Behold how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalms 133:1).[14] Of them it is said: "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed [each other]" (Psalms 85:10); for Moses stood for righteousness, according to Deuteronomy 33:21, and Aaron for peace, according to Malachi 2:6. Again, mercy was personified in Aaron, according to Deuteronomy 33:8, and truth in Moses, according to Numbers 12:7 [16].[14]

When Moses poured the oil of anointment upon the head of Aaron, Aaron modestly shrank back and said: "Who knows whether I have not cast some blemish upon this sacred oil so as to forfeit this high office."[14] Then the Shekhinah spake the words: "Behold the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard of Aaron, that even went down to the skirts of his garment, is as pure as the dew of Hermon" (Psalm 133:2-3) [17].[14]

Moses

According to Tanhuma,[18] Aaron’s activity as a prophet began earlier than that of Moses.[19] Hillel held Aaron up as an example, saying: “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace; love your fellow creatures and draw them nigh unto the Law!”[19][20] This is further illustrated by the tradition preserved in Abot de-Rabbi Natan 12, Sanhedrin 6b, and elsewhere, according to which Aaron was an ideal priest of the people, far more beloved for his kindly ways than was Moses.[19] While Moses was stern and uncompromising, brooking no wrong, Aaron went about as peacemaker, reconciling man and wife when he saw them estranged, or a man with his neighbor when they quarreled, and winning evil-doers back into the right way by his friendly intercourse.[19] The mourning of the people at Aaron’s death was greater, therefore, than at that of Moses; for whereas, when Aaron died the whole house of Israel wept, including the women. Numbers 20:29[19][21] Moses was bewailed by “the sons of Israel” only (Deuteronomy 34:8).[19] Even in the making of the Golden Calf the rabbis find extenuating circumstances for Aaron.[19][22] His fortitude and silent submission to the will of God on the loss of his two sons are referred to as an excellent example to men how to glorify God in the midst of great affliction.[19][23] Especially significant are the words represented as being spoken by God after the princes of the Twelve Tribes had brought their dedication offerings into the newly reared Tabernacle: “Say to thy brother Aaron: Greater than the gifts of the princes is thy gift; for thou art called upon to kindle the light, and, while the sacrifices shall last only as long as the Temple lasts, thy light shall last forever.”[19][24]

Genetics

Recently, the tradition that Kohanim are actually descended from a single patriarch, Aaron, was found to be apparently consistent with genetic testing.[25] The majority of Kohanim, but not all, share a direct male lineage with a common Y chromosome, and testing was done across sectors of the Jewish population to see if there was any commonality between the Y chromosomes of Kohanim. The results were found to cluster rather closely around a specific DNA signature, found in the Semitic Haplogroup J1, which the researchers named the Cohen modal haplotype, implying that many of the Kohanim do share a distinctive common ancestry. This information was also used to support the claim that the Lemba (a sub-Saharan tribe) are in fact descendant from a group of Jewish Priests.

The Cohen Modal Haplotype or CMH is found in haplogroup J1, which geneticists estimate originated in the Southern Levant (modern day Israel, Jordan; biblical Canaan) or North Africa (Egypt) approximately 10,000 - 15,000 years ago.[26] Biblical tradition holds that Abraham and his ancestors, the Semitic tribes, originated from Southern Arabia or East Africa (Genesis 10); Aaron and Moses were 7th generation descendants from Abraham (Exodus 6). An estimated 20% of the modern Jewish community fall into haplogroup J1. The traditional date for Abraham is circa 2200-2000 BC. Behar, et al., found Kohanim in a variety of haplogroups (E3b, G2, H, I1b, J, K2, Q, R1a1, R1b), which included those which originated in the Levant (J1, J2) and those from Southern Arabia, East Africa, or another geographic region.[27]

Descendants

Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon (Exod 6:23). The sons of Aaron were Eleazar, Ithamar, Nadab and Abihu[28]. A descendant of Aaron is an Aaronite, or Kohen, meaning Priest[29][30]. Any non-Aaronic Levite descended from Levi but not of the priestly division [31] would be assigned to assist the Levitical priests of the family of Aaron in the care of the tabernacle and later of the temple.[32]

Christianity

Russian icon of Aaron (18th century, Iconostasis of Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia).

Aaron is considered a type of Christ, the high priest of the new dispensation. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Maronite Church he is venerated as a saint, with a feast day celebrated on September 4, together with Moses (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, September 4 falls on September 17 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is also commemorated, together with other righteous saints from the Old Testament on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers (the Sunday before Christmas).

He is commemorated as one of the Holy Forefathers in the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 30. He is commemorated on July 1 in the modern Latin calendar and in the Syriac Calendar.

Latter-day Saints

In the LDS church, the Aaronic order is the lesser order of priesthood, comprising the grades (from lowest to highest) of deacon, teacher and priest. The chief office of the Aaronic priesthood is the presiding bishopric; the head of the priesthood is the bishop. Each ward has one or more quorums of each office of the Aaronic priesthood.[33]

Islam

Aaron is believed to be a Prophet in Islam and is known as Harun, which is the Arabic name for Aaron. His role also found an analogue in the person of Ali, to whom Muhammad said: Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron was to Moses? [34]

In the Quran Aaron was not involved with the creation of the Golden Calf and made efforts to dissuade the Israelites from worshiping it, a significant difference from the older texts.[35]

Art history

Depictions of Aaron within art history are rare. Other than Aaron's inclusion in the crowd of revelers around the Golden Calf ceremony—most notably in Nicolas Poussin’s “The Adoration of the Golden Calf” (ca. 1633-34, National Gallery London)—there is little else. The recent discovery in 1991 of Pier Francesco Mola’s “Aaron, Holy to the Lord” (ca. 1650, Private Collection, New York: image available for study at Fred R. Kline Gallery Archives) adds significantly to the Aaronic mythos. The painting offers a dramatic, deeply psychological portrayal of the single figure of Aaron in his priestly garments celebrating Yom Kippur in the wilderness Tabernacle. The Mola “Aaron” is considered, quite surprisingly, the unique single figure of Aaron to have been painted by a European old master artist, circa 15th-18th centuries (A.Pigler, "Barockthemen" Vol. 1; although unknown to Pigler). The carefully rendered Judaic iconographic details in the Mola painting are rare and the subject itself may have importance in relationship to mid-17th century Jewish history, characterized by a controversial messianic movement involving a serious contender for a new Messiah, Shabtai Zvi, whose influence was felt in Jewish communities worldwide (Harris Lenowitz, "The Jewish Messiahs"). It is highly probable that the Zvi messianic phenomenon was noted by the Catholic Church as a possible threat to Jesus, their sanctified Messiah. It may be significant to note, in considering the possible influence of the Roman Catholic Church in choices of lay-commissioned religious art during this period and considering as well the importance of Aaron in the Christian tradition, that "Aaron, Holy to the Lord" was originally commissioned along with a now lost pendant of Moses (both from Mola) by the nobel Colonna family, wealthy Catholic art patrons living in Rome (Getty Museum Archives).

See also

References

  1. ^ Wells, John C. (1990). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 2. ISBN 0582053838.  entry "Aaron"
  2. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%206:16-20;&version=31;9;15;
  3. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%207:1;&version=31;9;15;
  4. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%207:9;&version=31;9;15;
  5. ^ Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary , Vol. 1, Budge, E. A., Dover publications, New York, p.450.
  6. ^ Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius'
  7. ^ Scofield Reference Bible, Proper Names
  8. ^ a b  "Aaron". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Aaron. 
  9. ^ http://www.claudemariottini.com/blog/2006/03/priestly-benediction-numbers-624-26.html
  10. ^ Micah 6:4
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jewish Encyclopedia
  12. ^ a b c d JewishEncyclopedia.com - AARON
  13. ^ Sifra, Wa-yiḳra, 1
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u JewishEncyclopedia.com - AARON
  15. ^ See Mek., Beshallaḥ, Wayassa', i.; Tan., Huḳḳat, 18; Yer. Soṭah, i. 17c, and Targum Yer. Num. and Deut. on the abovementioned passages.
  16. ^ (Tan., Shemot, ed. Buber, 24-26)
  17. ^ (Sifra, Shemini, Milluim; Tan., Korah, ed. Buber, 14)
  18. ^ ed. Buber, 2:12
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i JewishEncyclopedia.com - AARON
  20. ^ Abot, 1:12
  21. ^ Numbers 20:29
  22. ^ Sanhedrin 7a
  23. ^ Zebahim 115b
  24. ^ Tanhuma, ed. Buber, בהעלותך, 6
  25. ^ Skorecki et al., 1997.
  26. ^ https://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/atlas.html; Semino, et al., “Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area.” Am J Hum Genet. 2004 May; 74(5).
  27. ^ Behar, DM; Thomas MG, Skorecki K, Hammer MF, Bulygina E, Rosengarten D, Jones AL, Held K, Moses V, Goldstein D, Bradman N, Weale ME (2003). "Multiple Origins of Ashkenazi Levites: Y Chromosome Evidence for Both Near Eastern and European Ancestries". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 73: 768–779.
  28. ^ 1 Chronicles 24:1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
  29. ^ Dictionary of Jewish usage: a guide to the use of Jewish terms
  30. ^ Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible
  31. ^ Studies in Luke: Journeying to the Cross
  32. ^ According to Samaritan sources a civil War broke out between the Sons of Itamar Eli (Bible)} and the Sons of Phineas-which resulted in the division of those who followed Eli and those who followed High Priest Uzzi ben Bukki at Mount Gerizim Bethel {A third group followed neither}. Ironically likewise according to Samaritan sources the high Priests line of the sons of Phineas died out in 1624 C.E. with the death of the 112th High Priest Shlomyah ben Pinhas when the priesthood was transferred to the sons of Itamar; see article Samaritan for list of High Priests from 1613 to 2004-the 131st High priest of the Samaritans is Elazar ben Tsedaka ben Yitzhaq} See article Samaritan
  33. ^ LDS.org - Aaronic Priesthood Table of Contents - Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  34. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 56
  35. ^ Quran Chp.20 vr.89

Further reading

External links

New title High Priest of Israel
Years unknown
Succeeded by
Eleazar

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Aaron
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AARON, the traditional founder and head of the Jewish priesthood, who, in company with Moses, led the Israelites out of Egypt (see Exodus; Moses). The greater part of his life-history is preserved in late Biblical narratives, which carry back existing conditions and beliefs to the time of the Exodus, and find a precedent for contemporary hierarchical institutions in the events of that period. Although Aaron was said to have been sent by Yahweh (Jehovah) to meet Moses at the "mount of God" (Horeb, Ex. iv.27), he plays only a secondary part in the incidents at Pharaoh's court. After the "exodus" from Egypt a striking account is given of the vision of the God of Israel vouchsafed to him and to his sons Nadab and Abihu on the same holy mount (Ex. xxiv. i seq. 9-I I), and together with Hur he was at the side of Moses when the latter, by means of his wonder-working rod, enabled Joshua to defeat the Amalekites (xvii. 8-16). Hur and Aaron were left in charge of the Israelites when Moses and Joshua ascended the mount to receive the Tables of the Law (xxiv. 12-15), and when the people, in dismay at the prolonged absence of their leader, demanded a god, it was at the instigation of Aaron that the golden calf was made (see Calf, Golden). This was regarded as an act of apostasy which, according to one tradition, led to the consecration of the Levites, and almost cost Aaron his life (cp. Deut. ix. 20). The incident paves the way for the account of the preparation of the new tables of stone which contain a series of laws quite distinct from the Decalogue (Ex. xxxiii. seq.). Kadesh, and not Sinai or Horeb, appears to have been originally the scene of these incidents (Deut. xxxiii. 8 seq. compared with Ex. xxxii. 26 sqq.), and it was for some obscure offence at this place that both Aaron and Moses were prohibited from entering the Promised Land (Num. xx.). In what way they had not "sanctified" (an allusion in the Hebrew to Kadesh " holy") Yahweh is quite uncertain, and it would appear that it was for a similar offence that the sons of Aaron mentioned above also met their death (Lev. x. 3; cp. Num. xx. 12, Deut. xxxii. 51). Aaron is said to have died at Moserah (Deut. x. 6), or at Mt. Hor; the latter is an unidentified site on the border of Edom (Num. xx. 23, xxxiii. 37; for Moserah see ib. 30-31), and consequently not in the neighbourhood of Petra, which has been the traditional scene from the time of Josephus (Ant. iv. 4.7).

Several difficulties in the present Biblical text appear to have arisen from the attempt of later tradition to find a place for Aaron in certain incidents. In the account of the contention between Moses and his sister Miriam (Num. xii.), Aaron occupies only a secondary position, and it is very doubtful whether he was originally mentioned in the older surviving narratives. It is at least remarkable that he is only thrice mentioned in Deuteronomy (ix. 20, X. 6, xxxii. 50). The post-exilic narratives give him a greater share in the plagues of Egypt, represent him as high-priest, and confirm his position by the miraculous budding of his rod alone of all the rods of the other tribes (Num. xvii.; for parallels see Gray, comm. ad loc., p. 217). The latter story illustrates the growth of the older exodus-tradition along with the development of priestly ritual: the old account of Korah's revolt against the authority of Moses has been expanded, and now describes (a) the divine prerogatives of the Levites in general, and (b) the confirmation of the superior privileges of the Aaronites against the rest of the Levites, a development which can scarcely be earlier than the time of Ezekiel (xliv. 15 seq.).

Aaron's son Eleazar was buried in an Ephraimite locality known after the grandson as the "hill of Phinehas" (Josh. xxiv. 33). Little historical information has been preserved of either. The name Phinehas (apparently of Egyptian origin) is better known as that of a son of Eli, a member of the priesthood of Shiloh, and Eleazar is only another form of Eliezer the son of Moses, to whose kin Eli is said to have belonged. The close relation between Aaronite and Levitical names and those of clans related to Moses is very noteworthy, and it is a curious coincidence that the name of Aaron's sister Miriam appears in a genealogy of Caleb (1 Chron. iv. 17) with Jether (cp. Jethro) and Heber (cp. Kenites). In view of the confusion of the traditions and the difficulty of interpreting the details sketched above, the recovery of the historical Aaron is a work of peculiar intricacy. He may well have been the traditional head of the priesthood, and R. H. Kennett has argued in favour of the view that he was the founder of the cult at Bethel (Journ. of Theol. Stud., 1905, pp. 161 sqq.), corresponding to the Mosaite founder of Dan. This throws no light upon the name, which still remains quite obscure; and unless Aaron (Aharon) is based upon Aron, " ark" (Redslob, R. P. A. Dozy, J. P. N. Land), it must be placed in a line with the other un-Hebraic and difficult names associated with Moses and Aaron, which are, apparently, of South Palestinian (or North-Arabian) origin.

For the literature and a general account of the Jewish priesthood, see the articles LEVITES and PRIEST. (S. A. C.)


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English

Etymology

From Hebrew אהרן (Ahărōn), possibly meaning "bearer of martyrs", or perhaps also, or instead, related to the Ancient Egyptian "aha rw" ("warrior lion", though it has been suggested to also mean "elevated", "exalted" or "high mountain").

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Aaron

Plural
-

Aaron

  1. (Judaism & Christianity) The elder brother of Moses in the Book of the Exodus.
  2. A male given name.

Usage notes

The given name was exclusively Jewish in the Middle Ages, taken up by Gentiles in the 17th century, and popular in the end of the 20th century.

Derived terms

Related terms

Quotations

  • 1611, King James Version of the Bible (Authorized Version), Exodus 4:14:
    And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well.
  • 1969 Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint, Random House, 2002, page 145:
    - - - the Junior Prom with boys whose names are right out of the grade-school reader, not Aaron and Arnold and Marvin, but Johnny and Billy and Jimmy and Tod. Not Portnoy or Pincus, but Smith and Jones and Brown!

Translations


Catalan

Proper noun

Aaron

  1. A male given name, cognate to Aaron.

Related terms


Estonian

Proper noun

Aaron

  1. (Biblical) Aaron
  2. A male given name of biblical origin.

Finnish

Proper noun

Aaron (stem Aaron-*)

  1. (Biblical) Aaron.
  2. A male given name.
  3. Genitive singular form of Aaro, which is the common vernacular form of the biblical name.

French

Proper noun

Aaron

  1. (Biblical) Aaron.
  2. A male given name.

German

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Aaron

  1. (Biblical) Aaron.
  2. A male given name.

Related terms

  • variants and pet forms: Aron, Arri, Arrie

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

The eldest son of Amram and Jochebed, a daughter of Levi (Ex 6:20). Some explain the name as meaning mountaineer, others mountain of strength, illuminator. He was born in Egypt three years before his brother Moses, and a number of years after his sister Miriam (Ex 2:1, Ex 2:4, Ex 7:7). He married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab of the house of Judah (Ex 6:23; 1Chr 2:10), by whom he had four sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. When the time for the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt drew nigh, he was sent by God (Ex 4:14) to meet his long-absent brother, that he might co-operate with him in all that they were required to do in bringing about the Exodus. He was to be the "mouth" or "prophet" of Moses, i.e., was to speak for him, because he was a man of a ready utterance (Ex 7:1). He was faithful to his trust, and stood by Moses in all his interviews with Pharaoh.

When the ransomed tribes fought their first battle with Amalek in Rephidim, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the scene of the conflict with the rod of God in his outstretched hand. On this occasion he was attended by Aaron and Hur, his sister's husband, who held up his wearied hands till Joshua and the chosen warriors of Israel gained the victory (Ex 17:8).

Afterwards, when encamped before Sinai, and when Moses at the command of God ascended the mount to receive the tables of the law, Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy of the elders of Israel, were permitted to accompany him part of the way, and to behold afar off the manifestation of the glory of Israel's God (Ex 19:24; Ex 24:9). While Moses remained on the mountain with God, Aaron returned unto the people; and yielding through fear, or ignorance, or instability of character, to their clamour, made unto them a golden calf, and set it up as an object of worship (Ex 32:4; Ps 10619). On the return of Moses to the camp, Aaron was sternly rebuked by him for the part he had acted in this matter; but he interceded for him before God, who forgave his sin (Deut 9:20).

On the mount, Moses received instructions regarding the system of worship which was to be set up among the people; and in accordance therewith Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priest's office (Lev. 8; 9). Aaron, as high priest, held henceforth the prominent place appertaining to that office.

When Israel had reached Hazeroth, in "the wilderness of Paran," Aaron joined with his sister Miriam in murmuring against Moses, "because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married," probably after the death of Zipporah. But the Lord vindicated his servant Moses, and punished Miriam with leprosy (Num. 12). Aaron acknowledged his own and his sister's guilt, and at the intercession of Moses they were forgiven.

Twenty years after this, when the children of Israel were encamped in the wilderness of Paran, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram conspired against Aaron and his sons; but a fearful judgment from God fell upon them, and they were destroyed, and the next day thousands of the people also perished by a fierce pestilence, the ravages of which were only stayed by the interposition of Aaron Num. 16). That there might be further evidence of the divine appointment of Aaron to the priestly office, the chiefs of the tribes were each required to bring to Moses a rod bearing on it the name of his tribe. And these, along with the rod of Aaron for the tribe of Levi, were laid up overnight in the tabernacle, and in the morning it was found that while the other rods remained unchanged, that of Aaron "for the house of Levi" budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds (Num. 17:1-10). This rod was afterwards preserved in the tabernacle (Heb 9:4) as a memorial of the divine attestation of his appointment to the priesthood.

Aaron was implicated in the sin of his brother at Meribah (Num 20:8), and on that account was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. When the tribes arrived at Mount Hor, "in the edge of the land of Edom," at the command of God Moses led Aaron and his son Eleazar to the top of that mountain, in the sight of all the people. There he stripped Aaron of his priestly vestments, and put them upon Eleazar; and there Aaron died on the top of the mount, being 123 years old (Num 20:23. Comp. Deut 10:6; Deut 32:50), and was "gathered unto his people." The people, "even all the house of Israel," mourned for him thirty days. Of Aaron's sons two survived him, Eleazar, whose family held the high-priesthood till the time of Eli; and Ithamar, in whose family, beginning with Eli, the high-priesthood was held till the time of Solomon. Aaron's other two sons had been struck dead (Lev 10:1) for the daring impiety of offering "strange fire" on the alter of incense.

The Arabs still show with veneration the traditionary site of Aaron's grave on one of the two summits of Mount Hor, which is marked by a Mohammedan chapel. His name is mentioned in the Koran, and there are found in the writings of the rabbis many fabulous stories regarding him.

He was the first anointed priest. His descendants, "the house of Aaron," constituted the priesthood in general. In the time of David they were very numerous (1Chr 12:27). The other branches of the tribe of Levi held subordinate positions in connection with the sacred office. Aaron was a type of Christ in his official character as the high priest. His priesthood was a "shadow of heavenly things," and was intended to lead the people of Israel to look forward to the time when "another priest" would arise "after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 6:20).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Facts about AaronRDF feed
Child of Amram  +, and Jochebed  +
Married to Elisheba  +
Parent of Nadab  +, Abihu  +, Eleazar  +, and Ithamar  +

Simple English

Aaron is a biblical figure. He was the older brother of Moses. He helped Moses lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. In the Bible, he appeared very much in Exodus.

Moses' helper

Aaron spoke for Moses, when he went to tell Pharaoh the King of Egypt everything God wanted Moses to say. The Lord said to Moses(Exodus 7:1 to 3), "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country...".

Aaron's staff

Aaron's staff was used by the LORD a few times when trying to persuade the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. The LORD ordered Moses and Aaron, "When Pharaoh says to you, 'Perform a miracle,' then say to Aaron, Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh', and it will become a snake." So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and Aaron did so. Aaron's staff, according to the Bible, really became a snake and ate up all the other snakes that the Pharaoh's magicians had made. Also, Aaron's staff was used to make the Nile River all turn into blood. He "stretched it out", and the fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled; and the Egyptians could not drink the water, as it was recorded in the Bible.








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