Categories: Men in the Old Testament, Moses
- Eleazar is the third son of Aaron and Elisheba.
- His name means “God has helped.”
- He marries one of the daughters of Putiel (who is mentioned only here and of whom no further information is given), and they have a son, Phinehas.
- His uncle, Moses, is designated as the original priest for the people of Israel.
- Although all of the Levites could be priests, Moses institutes the eternal priesthood of Aaron and his descendants.
- Sacred garments are made for Aaron and his sons to wear as they serve as priests. The garments include a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban, and a sash.
- They are made from gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.
- Their main duty as priests is to maintain a proper relationship between God and the Israelites.
- They do this by caring for the tabernacle and administering the law.
- As the Israelites move from place to place, Eleazar’s specific duty is to carry “the oil for the lampstand, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering, and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles.”
- In the beginning, Moses instructs them as to each step of their duties.
- Shortly thereafter, Aaron’s two oldest sons take their censers, put fire in them, add incense, and offer unauthorized fire before the Lord.
- The fire backfires, and both are consumed in the presence of the Lord.
- Moses forbids Aaron and his remaining sons from mourning for them because of their disobedience to the Lord.
- They are also forbidden to drink wine or any other fermented drink before going into the tent of meeting. The Lord wants them clear-headed so they can teach the decrees He has given the Israelites through Moses.
- They are, however, allowed to eat a portion of the grain and food offerings presented for sacrifice at the sanctuary.
- Yet, they do not eat a portion of the goat offering that is made to atone for the brothers’ sin. This makes Moses angry.
- Aaron replies that that offering has been made for his deceased sons. Surely, God does not want him to partake of it. Moses is satisfied.
- That’s how Eleazar becomes the eldest son.
- Sometime later, members of several tribes try to rebel against Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership.
- Moses prays and tells them to bring their censers to the sanctuary the following day. God will decide whose offerings he will accept.
- The next day the earth opens, and the rebels are swallowed up.
- Eleazar is told to gather up the censers from the cinders and to scatter the coals a distance from the people.
- The censers are holy. So he is told to hammer them into thin sheets for covering the Altar. It will be a sign to remember what happened that day.
- Eleazar does as he is told, and after that everyone knows that only Aaron and his descendants are allowed to burn incense before God.
- Another major event in Eleazar’s life occurs during the ritual of the red heifer.
- This is instituted in Numbers. A red heifer, without blemish, is presented to Eleazar. Then it is taken outside the camp and killed. Eleazar is to take some of the blood and splash it seven times in the direction of the Tent of Meeting.
- While he supervises, the entire carcass is burned. Its ashes will be gathered and placed outside the camp to be used during the year in the cleansing water.
- When it is time for Aaron to “be gathered to his people,” God instructs Moses to take him and Eleazar up Mount Hor.
- Moses removes Aaron’s clothes and puts them on Eleazar.
- Moses and Eleazar return to the people, and Eleazar is the new Chief Priest.
- He will be High Priest for over twenty years.
- Just before the people enter the Promised Land, Eleazar helps Moses number the people.
- He is present with Moses when the daughters of Zelophehad come to discuss their right to their father’s inheritance.
- When it is time to pass his mantle to Joshua, Moses is instructed by God to tell Joshua to “consult with Eleazar the priest who…will prayerfully advise him in the presence of God.”
- Together with Moses, Eleazar helps determine the adjudication of plunder and captives following victories as they move towards the land.
- He also assists Moses to determine that some tribes can settle east of the Jordan.
- God tells Moses to appoint Eleazar and Joshua to be in charge of distributing the inheritance of the land. One leader from each tribe is chosen to assist them.
- It is believed that Joshua and Eleazar die the same year. Joshua is 110 years old, roughly twenty years after the conquest of the land.
- Eleazar is buried at Gibeah, which is land that was given to his son, Phinehas, in the country of Ephraim.
- Phinehas succeeds him as High Priest.