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Numbers 20:22-29

Context
Aaron’s Death

20:22 So the entire company of Israelites 1  traveled from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 2  20:23 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom. He said: 20:24 “Aaron will be gathered to his ancestors, 3  for he will not enter into the land I have given to the Israelites because both of you 4  rebelled against my word 5  at the waters of Meribah. 20:25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up on Mount Hor. 20:26 Remove Aaron’s priestly garments 6  and put them on Eleazar his son, and Aaron will be gathered to his ancestors 7  and will die there.”

20:27 So Moses did as the Lord commanded; and they went up Mount Hor in the sight 8  of the whole community. 20:28 And Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. So Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. And Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 20:29 When all the community saw that Aaron was dead, the whole house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.

1 tn Again the passage uses apposition: “the Israelites, the whole community.”

2 sn The traditional location for this is near Petra (Josephus, Ant. 4.4.7). There is serious doubt about this location since it is well inside Edomite territory, and since it is very inaccessible for the transfer of the office. Another view places it not too far from Kadesh Barnea, about 15 miles (25 km) northeast at Jebel Madurah, on the northwest edge of Edom and so a suitable point of departure for approaching Canaan from the south (see J. L. Mihelec, IDB 2:644; and J. de Vaulx, Les Nombres [SB], 231). Others suggest it was at the foot of Mount Hor and not actually up in the mountains (see Deut 10:6).

3 sn This is the standard poetic expression for death. The bones would be buried, often with the bones of relatives in the same tomb, giving rise to the expression.

4 tn The verb is in the second person plural form, and so it is Moses and Aaron who rebelled, and so now because of that Aaron first and then Moses would die without going into the land.

5 tn Heb “mouth.”

6 tn The word “priestly” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Heb “will be gathered”; this is a truncated form of the usual expression “gathered to his ancestors,” found in v. 24. The phrase “to his ancestors” is supplied in the translation here.

8 tn Heb “eyes.”



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