Eleazar (son of Aaron)

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Heb. al‘wr,

Meaning: Elohim's help

The third son of child of::Aaron (Ex 6:23). His wife, a daughter of Putiel, bore him parent of::Phinehas (Ex 6:25). After the death of Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:12; Num 3:4) he was appointed to the charge of the sanctuary (Num 3:32). On Mount Hor he was clothed with the sacred vestments, which Moses took from off his brother Aaron and put upon him as successor to his father in the high priest's office, which he held for more than twenty years (Num 20:25ff).

He took part with Moses in numbering the people (Num 26:3f), and assisted at the inauguration of Joshua. He assisted in the distribution of the land after the conquest (Josh 14:1).

The high-priesthood remained in his family till the time of Eli, into whose family it passed, till it was restored to the family of Eleazar in the person of Zadok (1Sam 2:35; comp. 1 Kg 2:27).

"And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son" (Josh 24:33). The word here rendered "hill" is Gibeah, the name of several towns in Palestine which were generally on or near a hill. The words may be more suitably rendered, "They buried him in Gibeah of Phinehas", i.e., in the city of Phinehas, which has been identified, in accordance with Jewish and Samaritan traditions, with Kefr Ghuweirah='Awertah, about 7 miles north of Shiloh, and a few miles south-east of Nablus. "His tomb is still shown there, overshadowed by venerable terebinths." Others, however, have identified it with the village of Gaba or Gebena of Eusebius, the modern Khurbet Jibia, 5 miles north of Guphna towards Nablus.

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

Elizabeth, daughter of Aminadab and sister of Nahason, bore to Aaron four sons, Nadab, Abiu, Eleazar, and Ithamar (Ex., vi, 23), all of whom, with their father, "were anointed … and consecrated, to do the functions of priesthood" (Num., iii, 2-3; Lev., viii, 1-13). As Nadab and Abiu died without children, punished for offering strange fire before the Lord (Lev., x, 107; I Par., xxiv, 1-2), "Eleazar and Ithamar performed the priestly office in the presence of Aaron" (Num., iii, 4). Thus entitled to succeed his father in the office of high-priest, "Eleazar … took a wife of the daughters of Phutiel", and so became the father of Phinees (Ex., vi, 25). Prince of the princes of the Levites "that watch for the guard of the sanctuary" (Num., iii, 4), directing the sons of Caath when wrapping up "the sanctuary and the vessels thereof at the removing of the camp" (Num., iv, 15-16), Eleazar was selected as the suitable official, "to whose charge pertaineth the oil to dress the lamps, and the sweet incense, and the sacrifice … and the oil of unction, and whatsoever pertaineth to the service of the tabernacle, and of all the vessels that are in the sanctuary" (Num., iv, 16). At the very moment when his brothers were punished "by fire coming out from the Lord", Eleazar, though deeply affected by mental anguish, obeyed the order of Moses, and completed their unfinished sacrifice (Lev., x, 1-20). After the terrible punishment inflicted on the daring usurpers, Core, Dathan, and Abiron, as if to make more evident his right to become the high- priest, Eleazar, complying with orders, beat into plates the still smoking censers used by these unfortunate rebels, and for a sign and a memorial, fastened this metal to the altar (Num., xvi, 1-40). Appointed to preside over the immolation of the red cow (Num., xix, 1-10), Eleazar next appears, clothed with the vesture of Aaron, and exercising the office of high priest (Num., xx, 22- 29). Hence it is that we find Eleazar associated with Moses, in numbering the children of Israel after the slaughter of the twenty-four thousand (Num., xxvi, 1-4), in settling the inheritance case presented by the daughters of Salphaad (Num., xxvii, 1-3), in distributing the spoils taken from the Madianites (Num., xxxi, 1-54), and, finally, in considering the request of Ruben and Gad for land east of the Jordan (Num., xxxii, 1-5). To Eleazar, Josue, the successor of Moses, is presented by the Jewish lawgiver himself (Num., xxvii, 12-23). On the list of those appointed to divide among the Israelites the lands west of the Jordan, the very first name is that of Eleazar (Num., xxxiv, 16-19); Jos., xiv, 1-2; xix, 51), who was buried "in Gabaath, that belonged to Phinees his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim" (Jos., xxiv, 33). If we except the period from Heli to Solomon, during which the descendants of Ithamar exercised the office of high-priest (I Kings, ii, 30-36; III Kings, ii, 27-27), those holding this most sacred calling, down to the time of the Machabees, belonged to the family of Eleazar (Ex., vi, 25).

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.




High priest; third son of Aaron. After his two elder brothers, Nadab and Abihu, had suffered death for offering strange fire before the Lord, Eleazar became his father's chief assistant, with the title "prince of the princes of the Levites" (Num. iii. 32), his functions including the supervision of the oil for the seven-branched candlestick, the incense, and all that pertained to the inner sanctuary (ib. iv. 16). Shortly before Aaron's death Eleazar was clothed in his father's official garments to signify that he was Aaron's successor (ib. xx. 25-28). God's commands were now addressed to Moses and Eleazar (ib. xxvi. 1), and Eleazar is mentioned as God's second representative in Israel, beside Moses (ib. xxxii. 28), and even before Joshua (Num. xxxii. 28, xxxiv. 17; Josh. xiv. 1, xvii. 4, xix. 51, xxi. 1). He was the progenitor of most of the high priests. He was buried "in Gibeah, of Phinehas his son, which was given him in the hill country of Ephraim" (Num. xxiv. 33, R. V.).

Eleazar is said to have added to the Book of Joshua the section xxiv. 29-32 (B. B. 15a, 1. 27), and his son Phinehas, verse 33.


This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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