Aaron was Israel’s first high priest and Moses’ older brother. He served as a spokesman for Moses and supported him in his ministry. All the priests of Israel were descendants of Aaron.
When God sent Moses back to Egypt to free his people, Moses did not want to go because he did not speak well. Therefore, God established Aaron as Moses’ spokesman ( Exodus 4: 14-16 ). Aaron introduced his brother to the leaders of Israel and the two went to speak to Pharaoh. God used Aaron and Moses to bring plagues on Egypt and free Hebrew slaves.
See also: who was Moses in the Bible?
Aaron, the high priest
In the desert, Aaron continued to be Moses’ spokesman for the people. When the people rebelled against Moses, Aaron sided with him and God revealed that Aaron had a right to lead. The 12 leaders of the tribes of Israel put their sticks in the tabernacle, and the next day, Aaron’s stick blossomed and gave ripe almonds. Aaron’s rod was kept in the Ark of the Covenant as a warning against rebellion ( Numbers 17: 10-11 ).
When the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai, God chose Aaron and his sons as their priest . Aaron was to be the high priest (the chief of the priests) and only his descendants could serve as priests before God. As high priest, Aaron offered sacrifices to God for the sins of the people.
Aaron was not perfect. He made some mistakes in his life. When Moses spent many days on Mount Sinai without returning, the people demanded an idol to follow. So Aaron, to calm the people, created a golden calf. Aaron still tried to get the people to worship God but he lost control and they gave themselves up to idolatry and debauchery ( Exodus 32: 5-6 ). Because of this sin, three thousand Israelites were killed.
On another occasion, Aaron and his sister Miriam criticized Moses for having married a foreign woman ( Numbers 12: 1-2 ). They spoke against Moses and God heard it and wounded Miriam with leprosy. So Aaron begged Moses to pray for Miriam and God healed her.
However, Aaron was faithful to God and usually did the right thing. He interceded for his people before God and defended his brother before the people. When God killed two of his sons for their misconduct, Aaron accepted God’s justice.
Once Aaron and Moses disobeyed God before all the people. Because of this, God did not allow them to enter the promised land.
Aaron was very old when God warned him that he was going to die. Obeying God, Aaron, his son Eleazar and Moses went up Mount Hor and Moses took off Aaron’s high priest’s robes and put them on Eleazar. Thus, Eleazar became the new high priest ( Numbers 20: 24-26 ). Aaron died on Mount Hor and all the people mourned him for 30 days.