Aaron was the eldest son of Amram and Jochebed, a daughter of Levi. He was born in Egypt three years before his brother Moses, and ten years after his sister Miriam. He married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab of the house of Judah, by whom he had four sons.
When Moses returned from the desert after 40 years, Aaron was sent by God to meet him and aid him in his task of delivering the people of Israel out of Egypt by being his spokesman because Moses had a habit of stuttering. When they met, Moses briefed Aaron on God's plan, and together they went about their mission.
Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. (Exodus 4:29-31)
Aaron was faithful to the task before them and stood by Moses in all his interviews with Pharaoh. He also stood by Moses when the ransomed tribes fought their first battle with Amalek in Rephidim. Along with Hur, Aaron held up Moses's wearied hands.
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other-so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Later, however, when Moses ascended the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments and didn't reappear for many days, Aaron gave into the demands of the Israelites to build a golden calf and set it up as an object of worship. When Moses returned, he saw the calf and the dancing that was taking place and in fury he threw the tablets he had received out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. He then destroyed the calf, grinding it to power, mixing it with the water and making the Israelites drink it. He then turned to Aaron and asked him how he allowed this to happen.
"Do not be angry, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.' So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!" (Exodus 32: 22-24)
Moses pled with God to spare Aaron's life which he had been set to destroy, but this didn't improve
Aaron's judgement as he spoke out against Moses at Hazeroth for marrying a Cushite woman, probably after the death of Zipporah. Yet again, God vindicated Moses, but punished Miriam who had led the minor rebellion along with Aaron with leprosy. Once again, with Moses's intervention, both 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. 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 . This rod was afterwards preserved in the Tabernacle as a memorial of the divine attestation of his appointment to the priesthood.
Aaron was implicated in the sin of his brother at Meribah, and on that account was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. He died at Mount Hor after his priestly authority was transferred to his son Eleazar. He was 123 years old. The people mourned his passing for 30 days.
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