From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
DiedTribe of Ephraim
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
Feast2 September (Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church)
30 July (Armenian Apostolic Church)

Eleazar (/ɛliˈzər/; Hebrew: אֶלְעָזָר, Modern: ʾElʿazar, Tiberian: ʾElʿāzār, "El has helped") or Elazar was a priest in the Hebrew Bible, the second High Priest, succeeding his father Aaron after he died.[1] He was a nephew of Moses.

Biblical narrative[edit]

Eleazar played a number of roles during the course of the Exodus, from creating the plating for the altar from the firepans of Korah's assembly,[2] to performing the ritual of the red heifer.[3] After the death of his older brothers Nadab and Abihu, he and his younger brother Ithamar were appointed to the charge of the sanctuary. His wife, a daughter of Putiel, bore him Phinehas, who would eventually succeed him as High Priest.

Leviticus 10:16–18 records an incident when Moses was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, for failing to eat a sin offering inside the Tabernacle in accordance with the regulations set out in the preceding chapters of Leviticus regarding the entitlement of the priests to a share of the offerings they made on behalf of the Israelite people.

As the Israelites moved through the wilderness during the Exodus journey, Eleazar was responsible for carrying the oil for the lampstand, the sweet incense, the daily grain offering and the anointing oil, and also for oversight of the carriage of the Ark of the Covenant, table for showbread, altar and other tabernacle fittings which were transported by the Kohathite section of the Levite tribe.[4] Following the rebellion against Moses' leadership recorded in Numbers 16, Eleazar was charged with taking the rebels' bronze censers and hammering them into a covering for the altar, to act as a reminder of the failed rebellion and the restriction of the priesthood to the Aaronid dynasty.[5]

On Mount Hor he was clothed with the sacred vestments, which Moses took from his father Aaron and put upon him as successor to his father in the high priest's office,[6] before Aaron's death.[7] Eleazar held the office of high priest for more than twenty years. He took part with Moses in numbering the people, and assisted at the inauguration of Joshua.

He assisted in the distribution of the land after the conquest.[8] When he died, he "was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim".[9] The Hill of Phinehas[10] related in the Bible is associated with the location of the village of Awarta in the Samarian section of the current day West Bank.

The high-priesthood remained in the family of Eleazar until the time of Eli, into whose family it passed. Eli was a descendant of Ithamar, Eleazar's brother.[11] The high priesthood was restored to the family of Eleazar in the person of Zadok after Abiathar was cast out by Solomon.[12]

According to Palestinian Jewish oral tradition, Eleazar was buried in Awarta.[13][14][15]


Eleazar is commemorated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church on September 2, and as one of the Holy Forefathers in the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 30.[citation needed]

Other biblical figures named Eleazar[edit]

Five other men named Eleazar are briefly mentioned in the Hebrew Bible:

In the Gospel of Matthew, another Eleazar, the son of Eliud, is listed in the genealogy of Jesus as the great-grandfather of Joseph, husband of Mary.

Patrilineal ancestry[edit]

Patrilineal descent
  1. Abraham
  2. Isaac
  3. Jacob
  4. Levi
  5. Kehath
  6. Amram
  7. Aaron


  1. ^ Numbers 20:26–28
  2. ^ Numbers 16:36–40
  3. ^ Numbers 19
  4. ^ Numbers 4:16
  5. ^ Numbers 16:36–40
  6. ^ Numbers 20:25–28
  7. ^ Numbers 20:28
  8. ^ Joshua 14:1
  9. ^ Joshua 24:33
  10. ^ Joshua 24:33 Archived 2018-11-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Josephus
  12. ^ Prophesied in I Sm 2:30–6; fulfilled in I Kg 2:26–7
  13. ^ Çelebi, Evliya (1980). L. A. Mayer (ed.). Evliya Tshelebi's Travels in Palestine (1648-1650) (PDF). Translated by St. H. Stephan. Jerusalem: Ariel. p. 143 (note 5). OCLC 11048154.
  14. ^ Levi-Naḥum, Yehuda (1986). "The graves of the fathers and of the righteous". Sefer ṣohar le-ḥasifat ginzei teiman (in Hebrew). Ḥolon, Israel: Mifʻal ḥaśifat ginze Teman. pp. 252–253. OCLC 15417732. In Awarta (corrected from a copyist error where the Hebrew letter 'resh' was confounded for a 'dalet') there are seventy elders [buried] in one cave near the village, and in the highest place of the village, at the top of the mountain, is [the burial site of] Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, may peace be upon him.
  15. ^ Ben-Yosef, Sefi [in Hebrew] (1980). "Awarta". In David Grossman (ed.). Israel Guide - The Northern Valleys, Mount Carmel and Samaria (A useful encyclopedia for the knowledge of the country) (in Hebrew). Vol. 8. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House. pp. 345–347. OCLC 745203905. There are three local cult centers in the area of Awarta. The westernmost of them is Tel er-Rās, also called en-Nabi 'Uzair. According to Muslim tradition, this is the grave of Ezra the Scribe. According to Jewish tradition, which also holds sacred the burial site at the top of the hill, the place is called Giv'at Phinehas (the hill of Phinehas) and it is where the High Priest Eleazar ben Aaron was buried (Joshua 24:33)
Israelite religious titles
Preceded by High Priest of Israel
Years unknown
Succeeded by

External links[edit]