|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:22-29 God bids Aaron prepare to die. There is something of displeasure in these orders. Aaron must not enter Canaan, because he had failed in his duty at the waters of strife. There is much of mercy in them. Aaron, though he dies for his transgression, dies with ease, and in honour. He is gathered to his people, as one who dies in the arms of Divine grace. There is much significancy in these orders. Aaron must not enter Canaan, to show that the Levitical priesthood could make nothing perfect; that must be done by bringing in a better hope. Aaron submits, and dies in the method and manner appointed; and, for aught that appears, with as much cheerfulness as if he had been going to bed. It was a great satisfaction to Aaron to see his son, who was dear to him, preferred; and his office preserved and secured: especially, to see in this a figure of Christ's everlasting priesthood. A good man would desire, if it were the will of God, not to outlive his usefulness. Why should we covet to continue any longer in this world, than while we may do some service in it for God and our generation?
Verse 28. - Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son. This was done in token that the office was transferred; it was done out of sight, and far above, in token that the priesthood was perpetual, although the priest was mortal. Aaron died there. In this case, as in that of Miriam (verse 1), and of Moses himself (Deuteronomy 34:5), no details are given. God drew as it were a veil over a departure hence which could but be very sad, because it was in a special sense the wages of sin. We may perhaps conclude that Aaron died alone, and was buried, as Moses was, by God; otherwise Moses and Eleazar would have been unclean under the law of Numbers 19:11 (cf. also Leviticus 21:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments,.... His priestly garments, which, very probably, were put on at the foot of the mountain, on purpose for the transaction of this affair, since they were not in common worn, but only when in service; the same hands that clothed Aaron with them at first, stripped him of them, and both were done at the command of God; as the stripping of those garments was a divesting Aaron of his office, so it was a figure of the disannulling of his priesthood, when the Messiah should come, a priest after another order:
and put them upon Eleazar his son; which was an investing him with the office of high priest in his father's room; and which, as it must give Aaron pleasure and satisfaction to see his son put into his office before he died, so it signified the continuance of it in succession in his posterity, and was a confirmation of it; and it must be pleasing to Moses and the people of Israel to observe the care and faithfulness of God in providing for the succession of the priesthood:
and Aaron died there in the top of the mount; quietly, comfortably, and contentedly, without the least murmuring or repining: this was on the first day of the fifth month, as appears from Numbers 33:38, that is, of the month Ab, as the Targum of Jonathan here says; and in this the Jewish writers (k) agree in general, which month answers to part of July and part of August; and in this same place where he died he was buried, as is evident from Deuteronomy 10:6, wherefore no credit is to be given to the Arabs, who show a stone not far from Mount Sinai, about two feet high from the ground, on which are seen some unknown characters, which, they say, were engraven by Jeremiah the prophet, in honour of Moses and Aaron, who were buried there (l):
and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount; after Aaron was dead and buried.
(k) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 10. p. 29. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 7. 2. Schulchan Aruch, par. 1. c. 580. sect. 2.((l) Journal from Cairo to Mount Sinai, p. 40. Ed. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28. Aaron died there in the top of the mount—(See on De 10:6). A tomb has been erected upon or close by the spot where he was buried.
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